Stress comes in many different forms and is actually good for us to experience in various ways because it helps us grow as humans. That being said, stress is also something that must be effectively managed for it has a way a making us look and feel bad, potentially putting us in a positive feedback loop for a negative action.
So here are three methods that you can use to destress your life and reset the balance. And they only take a few minutes.
Perspective and Opportunity
Hundreds of years ago in Europe, a priest happened to be strolling past a stone quarry on a hot summer day. By the side of the road, there was placed a giant stone with two men setting it to shape using hammers and chisels. Now, this was an ordinary sight for a place such as this, however, something made the priest stop in his tracks and observe the two men shaping the stone. They were both performing the same task yet, the priest noticed that one of men seemed flustered and out of sorts while the other man looked exuberant and clearly enjoying his work.
"How goes the day, my son?" asked the priest to the flustered man.
"Do you not see this stone, Father? The sun is hot and the labor toilsome. This stone is hard and stubborn against my devices." responded the weary man.
"I see." replied the priest, nodding understandably. Then turning to the exuberant man, the priest queried, "And how is it that you appear so joyous while your partner here suffers performing the same task?"
"Well, you see, Father, I am building God's church!" answered the happy man with an elated countenance.
"I see." replied the priest with a smile. And after giving his blessing, he walked away pondering human nature its many variances.
Along the same lines, in his book Discipline Equals Freedom, retired Navy Seal Jocko Willink talks about his response to setbacks, failures, and other stressful circumstances.
He says: "Good!"
He goes on to make the case that these are opportunities to become better; a time to find a solution to a problem.
The obvious lesson here to be learned is having the right perspective. While the flustered man viewed his work as difficult coupled with unpleasant conditions, the happy man viewed his work as helping towards a loftier purpose. He had a reason that made the work meaningful and worthwhile and this reason was something greater than himself. And in Jocko's case, he simply realizes that any obstacle placed in your path is really just an opportunity to grow as a person. Having the right perspective and reframing obstacles as opportunities can go a long way in managing our stress.
Time it takes: Instant
Ranging from the regular exercise of focusing your thoughts all the way to the highest form of prayer to our Creator, meditation is another excellent method of stress management. It's been scientifically shown to be beneficial for sleep, pain management, relieving stress and anxiety, moods, and a whole list of other factors. It has been shown to stimulate blood flow particularly to the brain and other important areas of the body thus increasing oxygen amount to those regions and ridding the body of waste material.
It's essentially an exercise of the mind and you can do it anywhere.
There are loads of guides and styles of meditation. Try it out. And remember, you don't have to assume the lotus position. Just place yourself in a comfortable position where you won't be distracted by the outside world and control your breathing and thoughts.
Overall, meditation can allow you to organize your thoughts and relax your mind thereby reducing stress.
Time it takes: from a couple of minutes to as long as you want.
Much like exercising the mind can provide stress management, exercising the body can likewise do wonders for managing stress. Try it:
Get up now and do 50 jumping jacks. Get that blood flowing to your extremities.
The benefits of exercise are legion and well documented. Much like meditation, exercise stimulates blood flow throughout the body and increase oxygen levels and excrete waste. Another benefit is that exercise stimulates the release of endorphins and feelings of well-being. Also, regular exercise can increase fat loss, muscle growth, and overall body composition and thus overall health.
Both the physical and mental benefits from exercise do wonders for clearing the mind and improving your mood thereby reducing stress.
Time it takes: from a couple of minutes to the time your body gives out.
BONUS TIP: TURN OFF YOUR TV AND PHONES
Do this for at least on day a week. Definitely do this at least an hour before you go to bed. Thank me later.
Time it takes: as long as it takes to shut off your electronic devices.
So try out these methods next time you're feeling a little stressed out. Consider the cause of stress and reframe your perspective; take a couple minutes to breathe and attain mental focus; and finally, do a little physical movement stimulate blood flow and endorphins. You will find you feel better and your stress will appear a little more manageable.
Also, remember that these methods will be more effective when your body is firing on all cylinders and completing its nutrient profile so it operates the way it's supposed to. This can be made possible by taking in the proper vitamins and minerals and other nutrients essential for keeping the body working properly.
Oh yeah, and turn off your TV!