In today’s face paced life, it is essential to understand the connection between our body and mind. Everyone experiences stress in life, whether good stress or bad stress. Navy seals, businessmen, athletes, parents, teachers, and students all experience stress in the same physiological manner. It is an invariable part of life. Instead of denying stress, learn to accept, manage and master it.
Ways to Combat Stress
- Exercise – When people become stressed, the first thing they do is give up their exercise routine. Even if you need to decrease your workouts in length, keep the routine. More importantly, make sure to do cardiovascular exercise. Research has shown that 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 x’s per week decreases depression and anxiety.
- Socialize – Stay connected with others to reduce isolation.
- Consider methods to increase relaxation – Biofeedback is one useful tool to begin learning the connection between the mind and body in an active and visual manner. Alternative methods include meditation, listening to music and deep breathing.
- Change your thought patterns – With increased and prolonged stress, our thinking tends to become fixed and rigid. Move from “black and white thinking” to thinking in more relative terms that are in the “gray zone”. This is a key concept taught in cognitive behavior therapy. This may take some time to learn; however, changing your thoughts leads to better adaptation.
- Stay in the present – Too often, people continue to relive a past mistake, negative event, or become too “future focused”. Learn from things that have occurred in your life, but do not allow them to predict your future. That can become a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Avoid maladaptive coping mechanisms – People often find comfort with mechanisms that leave them with an additional problem at the end of a stressor such as weight gain or alcohol.