Our bodies and minds are programmed to engrain habit patterns into our brains. These habits will either carry over into a positive or negative aspect of your life. Once a habit is formed in the brain, we often go on autopilot, and sometimes even forget that we are doing the habit.
Stressful thinking patterns wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. It may be consistent worry, creating drama in our lives, or hatred toward ourselves that continuously put our bodies in a state of shock and stress. Once we've engrained that state of stress in our bodies, we tend to react to all situations from that state of anxiety. We may overreact, harm ourselves or others, or keep attracting negatively into our lives. It’s important to first realize that we are in that state and then find a way out. First, we must become the observer of ourselves, our habits, and our thoughts in order to break the cycle of stress and suffering. By becoming more present and aware of this you can break free of the cycles of suffering.
1. Take a yoga class — regularly.
Yoga, practiced regularly, is a great stress buster. It not only gives us the physical movement of the body, but by using this powerful breath practice we can get out of the mind and back into the present. The breath practice brings us into a state of stillness and ease, allowing us to access our subconscious thinking patterns that may be bringing about stress in our lives. By practicing regularly, the body and mind will develop a more positive routine, which will lead to less stress and more breathing room to reflect and tackle whatever you my face within your life.
2. Do acupuncture.
Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing that is still widely used today. Acupuncture uses the insertion of tiny, hair-thin needles into acupuncture points to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. Acupuncture can not only help heal ailments, but it's also a great stress reliever. Acupuncture helps to turn off the “fight-or-flight” response or sympathetic nervous system that we are consistently in. Once that is achieved, the body and mind can rest easily in the present.
3. Meditate daily.
Developing a daily meditation practice can be highly beneficial for combating stress. Whether it's past events we are still trying to deal with, or an upcoming test we are preparing for, there's no greater way to bring back focus than meditation. Meditation allows you to just sit in the state that you're in right now, at this very moment. By adding even five minutes of meditation into your routine you will be able to better deal with stressful life events.
4. Eat whole natural foods.
Food is fuel for the body. By choosing a more natural, whole foods diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein (vegetarian or lean meats) you will function better and therefore deal with daily activities better. Nothing is worse than trying to take a test or give a speech when running on empty tank. This goes for normal activities as well — you will feel a whole lot less stressed while waiting in a long line when you have the proper fuel in your body.
5. Get some rest.
Sleep is probably the most undermentioned way to deal with stress. By creating a nightly routine and wake cycle the body is better prepared for the day. If you try to create a regular bedtime and waking hour — your body will be more adequately prepared to get the deepest sleep possible during those hours. It is harder when sleep schedules are erratic or late night hours at work that the body and mind seemed to be more tired and less focused during the day.
By using these simple, accessible tools it can help combat stress and negative habits. Be sure to seek out a qualified and highly trained practitioner in your area if you need help in any way.
May you find more happiness and peace every day!
Katie Edwards, M.S., LAc, Dipl OM, is a South Carolina based Acupuncturist, Yoga Instructor, and Herbalist. She is the Founder of The Center of Bliss, LLC in Greenville, SC where she is committed to helping people live a healthier and more holistic lifestyle. Visit www.thecenterofbliss.com for more information and download her free e-book - The Game Changer: Optimize your Health.