What the Heck can we, do to reduce stress in our everyday, hectic lives?
I want to share with you 5 tips to
in your everyday life.
Put Down Your Phone
Honor Your Hunger & Fullness
Quit the Compare Game
#1 PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE
Let me be honest. I am not a fan of the way that we use our phones. I think in our efforts to connect to each other (it’s pretty freakin’ amazing that we can chat with people around the globe) we have managed to disconnect in a disheartening way. Since the introduction of these tiny computers you hardly ever see a room full of people actually talking to each other anymore. If you walk into a doctor’s office
you see everyone staring down at the device in their hands. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve seen a mom pushing her kids away, getting frustrated, and even yelling at them while she stares at her tiny screen! Sometimes people will be so absorbed with what it in their hands that they walk into light poles or even other humans. Which also brings up the very real diagnosis of text neck which can lead to neck, shoulder, and upper back pain as well as headaches and thoracic kyphosis.
If we were honest with ourselves, we would have to admit to losing minutes, or even hours, scrolling through our Social Media feeds! In our efforts to connect and make information readily available, we have corrupted something that could be so beneficial.
Now, I’m not saying that cell phones are evil…quite the contrary. I utilize the computing power in mine every single day. But, I also recognize that I can choose to give it the power to disconnect me to the real world that is going on right in front of us.
So, I would like to suggest that one way you could reduce your stress is to put down your phone. Close the browser. Maybe even turn it off for a while. Take time to focus on the very real world that is speeding by and growing up right in front of you with every passing day. Before we know it, we will be staring at an old person in the mirror wondering where the time has gone.
The natural progression after putting down your phone would be to connect. However, I want to propose that we take time to really connect with all that is around us. Before you go thinking “that’s a little ‘woo-woo’ for me,” just think, ‘dream if you will a picture,’ (ooh, I used to LOVE Prince!) and imagine for a moment with me.
One of the paradigms that I hold to be true is that we were created for community; we were not created to do life alone. We are all made up of mind, body, and spirit and we have to feed every part of our being to be completely fulfilled and connected. We were created to interact, not only with other humans, but with nature as well. I contend that when we first arrived on this planet (regardless of what story you believe to be true) we walked among the plants and animals and interacted with them every day. We have lost that connection with our planet with our 9-5 office lives. We sit in rooms with recirculated air and artificial lighting while we should be outside breathing in the clean air and soaking up the vitamin D.
When was the last time you spent a significant amount of time outside soaking up Nature? Spending 20 minutes a day, outside, without sunscreen, is enough to absorb the Vitamin D that our bodies so desperately need. There is a current philosophy called GROUNDING or EARTHING. This simply means taking off your shoes and walking in the grass and the dirt because there are minerals in the soil that our bodies need. Many of us have lost our childish wonder and haven’t gotten our feet dirty in who knows how long.
What if, the next time you go outside, enjoy nature with wonder; take time to CONNECT with those around you AND with nature.
#3 HONOR YOUR HUNGER AND FULLNESS
Wow! This one is powerful. We, as a society, have failed to listen to our bodies for so long that we don’t even know how to hear it speak anymore. I know that I was told, as a child, to eat everything on my plate and I wouldn’t be excused until I did. How about you?
I had to learn to shut off the ‘I’m full’ message that my body was trying to send and as a result have shut down other signals as well (that’s a story for another time). And, I am saddened to say that, I passed that same outdated message onto my own children. So, what the heck do I mean by honoring hunger and fullness?
I remember, as a kid, that our Thanksgiving table would be overflowing with turkey and ALL of the side dishes! There were only 5 of us in my family, but we would do our darndest to clean that table down to barely anything left. We would proudly declare that we were stuffed and have to lean back, away from the table, unable to even take a deep breath. Can you relate?
Do you even know when you are actually hungry? Do you simply eat because the food is on the table and it’s time? How often do you overeat? What does it serve for us to stuff our faces to the point that we have to unbutton our pants?! How often have we worn it as a badge of honor that we’re ‘wearing our stretchy pants’ to the next gathering so that we can pig out?? Honestly, it’s bordering on ridiculous!
What if, instead, we actually took the time to consider IF we are hungry and then take a little more time to consider HOW hungry we actually are? What if, instead, we listened to our bodies when they say ‘thank you, I’m full?’ Do you even know what that would sound like?
According to Ayurveyda, a natural system of medicine, originated in India more than 3,000 years ago, the moment that gas escapes from your stomach (ie: burp) is the moment that your stomach is just full enough to be able to do its job of digesting and it is the optimal moment where you will feel satiated and satisfied. (here is a short video showing WHY it’s important to stop when you’re full).
If we would actually take a moment to honor when we recognize hunger and when we feel fullness, the stress on our digestive system would be lessened and make for a much happier body. AND maybe in the process teach others to listen to their innate ability to discern between hunger and fullness.
#4 QUIT THE COMPARE GAME
Let’s be honest, here. Social Media is NOT REAL! Surely we are all aware, now, that when people post on social media they are posting the highlights of their story, not the real story. If you haven’t yet figured that out, I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you. The angles, the filters, the ‘perfect’ images and words- they are what others WANT us to believe is true. If we were to take a look behind the
perfectly posed shot we would see that those we place on our admiration pedestal are just as human as we are. So, we need to quit playing the compare game-because it IS a game. There are a couple of definitions on Dictionary.com that really fit the Social Media Game.
- an amusement or pastime
- to manipulate to one’s advantage, especially by trickery
Let those sink in for a moment. It’s either an amusement or a manipulation. Wow. Let’s put Social Media into the first category and recognize it for the amusement that it is. We have to stop placing value on the ‘likes’ and instead allow it to be a place where we connect (well, would you look at that) with others. I love that I can link up with people all around the globe; I think the problem arises when we place all of our connection eggs into that one Social Media basket. Make sure you are making healthy, in person, connections above what’s happening on whatever platform you prefer. Just be sure you’re not placing value on the likes and, for the love of God and all that is holy, stop comparing your beautiful life with the ones you see on the screen.
When was the last time you played? How long has it been since you’ve rolled in the grass and laughed? When did you last spend time simply enjoying life? We’ve lost our childish wonder!
I’m going to share a brief story about exercise.
There once was a girl who joined a gym. She worked out, religiously, for about six months and then stopped. Many years later, she joined another gym with her husband and kids. Again, for about six months, she worked out and then stopped. A couple of years later she tried again. She joined a gym, and even hired a personal trainer, and managed to work out for about six months before stopping again. This last time, though, she finally realized–she did NOT enjoy working out at the gym! It took several decades and many false starts for her to realize that exercising at the gym just did not work for her. (ummm….this girl is me, by the way!)
Do you have a similar experience? I think it’s really valuable to remember that ‘what is good for the goose may not work at all for those of us who can’t stand going to the gym!’ It’s so important for you to actually ENJOY whatever movement activity you choose.
Movement is very important; our bodies were made to move. Our joints are lubricated, the muscles are strengthened, the ligaments are stretched, and the lymph is moved by movement. We have to move if we want to be healthy, but the type of movement is as varied as there are people on the planet.
We each need to find the type of movement that speaks to us on a level that leaves us feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. If working out at the gym drains you and makes you dread going, then please take the time to find the type of movement that you enjoy…but, they key is finding the movement and then doing it.
So, there you have it. Five things that can help you move from STRESSED OUT to LIFE AT EASE. Let me know, in the comments, if you found this helpful and tell those other stressed out people that it is possible to lead a life of LESS STRESS…