Stress reduction is crucial to overall well-being. Why? Stress can take a physical and emotional toll on your overall health. Here are a few ways you can reduce the stress in your life:
1. Identify your stress triggers. Develop an awareness of your triggers and how you react to them. Try writing the triggers down and then developing a plan to address them individually.
2. Practice breathing. Just taking a moment to stop and focus on your breathing can calm and settle the mind. Try it yourself:
- Sit up tall and comfortably; close your eyes.
- Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth; relax your jaw, forehead and facial muscles.
- With your mouth closed, inhale through the nose slightly deeper than normal.
- Exhale slowly and fully through the nose while constricting the throat muscles to create an “ocean” sound in the back of the throat.
- Continue this breathing exercise for 3-5 minutes.
3. Meditate. Quiet the mind by focusing all thoughts on a single object, mantra (word/phrase) or, most commonly, your breathing. Here’s how:
- Find a quiet place to sit up tall and comfortably.
- Place the top of your hands on your thighs or knees.
- Close your eyes; relax your jaw, forehead and facial muscles.
- Breathe in and out through the nose without effort; let the breath come and go naturally.
- Focus your full attention on the object of your meditation. If it is your breathing, notice how the air enters and leaves the body. Observe how the chest, shoulders and ribs rise and fall with each breath. If your mind wanders, simply bring the attention back to your breath.
4. Eat well, sleep well and exercise daily. Nothing combats stress, anxiety and illness like healthy living. Take care of your body by making healthy food choices, getting plenty of rest and exercising daily. Even minor changes to your daily routine can have a major impact on your overall well-being.
Learning how to reduce stress is a discipline, but it’s made of small, simple steps that lead to major benefits. For more insights into living a healthy lifestyle, check out our heart health tips and our heart-healthy recipes today.