This is a guest post on STRESS…
It’s been proven time and again that the emotional, mental and physical components are not separate entities within one’s being. In fact, each affects the other, and they all work cooperatively to ensure that we are functioning at our highest level. It is essential to get to know each of these aspects of our human experience and nurture them continually.
However, stress can play a major role in reducing the function of all the body’s systems. When experiencing stress, the body’s sympathetic nervous system responds by elevating blood pressure and cortisol levels- the well known “fight or flight” response . In a healthy system, the parasympathetic nervous system would respond by lowering these levels when the “danger” has passed. Unfortunately, many of us are living in a constant state of stress and the parasympathetic nervous system is unable to recalibrate the body systems.
Luckily, there are many safe, effective and natural remedies available today that add a valuable supportive component to our stress-relief practices – including essential oils, CBD Hemp Flower, and touch therapies such as tapping (EFT). As always, it’s important to research any new supplement, product or technique to ensure that it fits into your personal health and wellness plan.
But, like most life changes, it takes time and effort to integrate new habits. And even a small step forward can make a huge difference! To help get you started, here are 3 ways to combat stress and promote wellness in your life, starting today at home!
3 Ways To Combat Stress
1: Use Meditation For Self Awareness
Cultivating self awareness is an important first step in reducing stress and achieving overall wellness, as there are so many detailed factors that come into play in our daily lives. Once you are able to notice subtle changes in the feeling of your body, mind, or emotional state, you are well equipped to make choices that support the system most in need.
Meditation is a wonderful tool with which to cultivate self awareness [READ: Different Types Of Meditation]. Setting aside just 10-20 minutes per day, to sit in a tranquil space and connect with self, can reduce stress levels, promote healthy digestion, and deepen your sleep cycles.
Individuals from all walks of life have utilized meditation and mindfulness exercises to connect with themselves, their communities, and enhance their well-being.
Time spent focusing on the breath allows you to see what’s really important – and let go of what’s not. The daily grind of our fast-paced world can make it difficult to tell the difference, wreaking havoc on the health of our bodies, minds and spirits.
Recently, as more and more people have become aware of the benefits of meditation, many resources have become available online to assist you in beginning or cultivating a meditation practice. No matter the amount of time you have – 5 minutes, one hour, or more – there is a meditation app, course or guide for you.
Depression, digestive disorders, and sleep deprivation are all common symptoms of stress overload in the body. When left unchecked, all of these symptoms can feed off of one another and leave one with a prevailing sense of dis-ease. Reconnecting with the body can be a wonderful way to awaken the natural systems of defense and nurturing present within each of us.
2: Combatting Stress With Yoga
The practice of yoga is another way to promote healthy movement of the body’s tissues and eliminate toxins from the body [READ: 28 types of yoga]. There are multiple techniques within the broad community of yoga practitioners, so you can select the best one for you and your goals.
Tune into your body and ask, what do you most need right now? Is it the challenge of learning new postures? The deep release of stress through long, focused stretching? Or a restorative yoga class, spending the greatest amount of time on stillness and letting go?
You can choose a class that is focused on a certain muscle groups of the body, on rehabilitation and restoration, or one that focuses on breathwork and relaxation. Whether you respond best to a group environment or on your own, yoga classes are easy to access either online or in a local studio.
Finally, connecting with nature is a powerful way to combat stress and depression. Fresh air, sunshine, and the rejuvenating sound of water or birdsong are amazing “healers” and can lead you to a deeper sense of purpose.
You can choose a day hike, birdwatching, or mountain biking for your therapeutic day in the woods. Many state and national parks partner with local guide collaboratives to ensure you have the most enjoyable, educational and safe day outside that you possibly can.
For adventure-seekers, rock climbing is an amazing way to connect with the body and release stress! It’s impossible to worry about day-to-day pressures when you are enjoying the breeze above the birds.
And if you’re drawn to the water, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding offer relaxing and exhilarating experiences that facilitate your connection to nature. The moment you silently come upon a turtle or a heron while paddling is unforgettable and truly soul-nourishing.
Many cultures around the world practice techniques such as “forest bathing”  and other gentle, nurturing traditions that reconnect us with the natural world. At the end of the day, we are all part of this rich ecosystem, and the more time we spend cultivating that knowledge – and the compassion that effortlessly grows from that connection – the richer our sense of well-being will become.
No matter if you make a point today of practicing yoga, combined with aromatherapy in your house, or a healthy breakfast and a day of hiking, the first step is the most important to create an opening for change. And always remember, approaching your body, your mind and your spirit with a sense of grace, respect and love with yield the healthiest results – in every way.
Choose one of these techniques to practice, and you will begin to feel the dramatic yet subtle difference of a body that is being led away from stress and dis-ease. Instead, you will experience the deep sensation of your body being nurtured into its own true wellness.
AUTHOR: Alison Price Bergh
Alison Price Bergh is a writer, artist and performer who resides in Asheville, NC. She studied language, writing and music at The New School in New York City, and is an accomplished poet and songwriter. Alison’s other passions include cinema, horticulture and rock climbing, and she enjoys exploring this beautiful region she has chosen to call home.