Immediate stress relief for #careerlions
Life in 2018 seems to be more stressful than ever. At least, if we would have to believe Wikipedia, we can conclude that we’re living in an era with information overload. Our smartphones keep sending us notifications of everything that is happening on social media and anything you’ve ever wanted to know can be found on Google. This overload of information results in ineffective decision-making and stress. In order for us to become effective again, we need to relieve that stress. In the past, we’ve elaborated on the subject with tips and tricks for a better mental state, decreasing restlessness, and dealing with feeling overwhelmed. In today’s post, I will explain the principles and sum up my trifecta of relievers whenever I am feeling any kind of stress.
The stress relieve trifecta principles
Over the years, I have come to a better understanding of what triggers my stress levels and what the best tactics are to deal with them. First and foremost, I need to take care of my basics. I have to eat healthily, exercise regularly, decrease my blue-light exposure, and get enough sleep. When I got my basics covered, it’s time for three simple principles:
- Restore the chemical balance in the body.
- Get some silence in my head.
- Put things into perspective.
These tactics can be applied for a lot of stress cases, the ones related to future references, such as anxiety and restlessness in particular. The principles are simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to put to practice. Therefore, I am also sharing the specific tools I am enjoying at the moment.
Restore chemical balance in the body
According to Wim Hof, whenever you are feeling stress, the body is having a lower pH-level, indicating a high acidity in our bloodstream. By breathing in certain patterns, we can stimulate reactions in the bloodstreams to decrease acidity and increase basicity, which restores the chemical balance in the body. A specific breathing method I have been enjoying (that was recommended to me by my brother) is called box breathing. Box breathing is a breathing method that stimulates your body to switch on the parasympathetic nervous system state, also known as the bodies’ resting state. Box breathing works as follows:
- Inhale for x amount of seconds.
- Hold your breath for x amount of seconds.
- Exhale for x amount of seconds.
- Hold your breath for x amount of seconds.
This “box” needs to be repeated for about five minutes, as that is enough to physically feel a difference. Personally, I like to do this laying down on my yoga mat with my feet on the couch. It is advised to lay down flat with the feet elevated compared to the heart. This last one improves blood circulation. The method is also explained in the video below, the instruction starts at 4:55.
Get some silence in my head
Sometimes I just feel like I have a lot of noise going on in my head, making it difficult to filter out what’s important and what not. Even worse, I catch myself in conversations, where I am not even listening to whatever my conversation partner is saying. To bring back my focus, I need to create a little bit of silence and cancel out the noise in my monkey brain. I have been a huge Headspace fan for years now, but I have also been experimenting with another mediation app called Buddhify. The app offers a mediation wheel with different little mediation sequences, that one can select depending on the mood and need. The mediations for stress and negative emotions differ from four to twelve minutes, ensuring to create a bit of mental silence in very little time. What I particularly love in the app is that the meditation instructions combine breathing and motivational encouragements with other physiological mind tricks, like smiling to induce a better mood.
Put things into Stoic perspective
After a bit more silence, I also like to put my stress topic into perspective. What I have found really helpful for this are little chunks of Stoic philosophy. We have elaborated on Stoicism before, which you can check out here.
For me, these little chunks come best in the form of Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman’s book The Daily Stoic. There is a little dose of Stoicism for every day of the year, but the one I like to revisit more often is the one for June 23rd (which coincidentally happens to be my birthday). It’s called The Long Way Around and aims whatever goals people are pursuing. A little quote from the book:
“Freedom? That’s easy. It’s in your choices.
Happiness? That’s easy. It’s in your choices.
Respect of your peers? That too is in the choices you make.
And all of that is right in front of you. No Need to take the long way to get there.”
What do you do whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed? Got any tips for immediate stress relief? Let us know in the comments!