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What is stress? “Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Every type of demand or stressor—such as exercise, work, school, major life changes, or traumatic events—can be stressful.” (1) So the question is, how do we respond in ways that are positive and healthy in the short and long-term?
Refocus your mind
Did you know that you control your thoughts? Did you also know that your thoughts will lead to your feelings and actions? This is so important! More than the topic of stress, this applies to every area of life. But for now, let’s talk about how the mind relates to stress.
“God designed humans to observe our own thoughts, catch those that are bad, and get rid of them.”
― Caroline Leaf, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health
Since we choose our thoughts, we can change our thoughts to helpful thoughts! How do we do this? It’s not a one-time quick fix. It’s not even a month-long task to complete. This is a daily habit that is practiced many times throughout the day. With practice, I promise, it will become second-nature and truly transformative. Your health and wellbeing depend on it!
The first step is to consciously become aware of the thoughts in your head. When you notice a negative thought (for example: I’m going to fail my job interview), you choose to speak to yourself what is true and right (for example: I’m going to ace this interview). The mind is very powerful. To add to the effectiveness of this particular scenario, visualize yourself walking out of the interview confident, smiling, and completely optimistic of the outcome.
Another way to practice this is with positive affirmations or Bible verses. Write down the affirmation or verse. For example, when I had a very high strung boss and it was stressful to go to work each day, I would repeat to myself, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” It’s a very calming, and reassuring practice.
And finally, choose gratitude! We all have so much to be grateful for whether we realize it or not. That’s why gratitude is a choice. Write down ten things you’re grateful for and see how it changes your outlook on life. One Thousand Gifts is an excellent book on this topic.
So next time that stress, anxiety, or overwhelm threatens your peace, use those thoughts as reminders to focus on a helpful positive affirmation. You choose your thoughts so choose well!
Start the day with a comforting, energizing, and warm cup of Matcha No Moo Latte! Is it just me, or does everyone feel like a warm beverage is like an internal hug?
“L-theanine and caffeine have clear beneficial effects on sustained attention, memory, and suppression of distraction. Moreover, L-theanine was found to lead to relaxation by reducing caffeine induced arousal.” (2)
This is why I love to drink matcha in the morning. It supports energy without the jitters, and if I’m feeling overwhelmed by my to-do list, it helps me feel calm and focused.
Listen to Music
Listening to music has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. (3) Whether you’re going on a walk in nature, driving home after a stressful work day, or doing housework, Spotify is there to soothe the stressors of life. Calming music is usually best for relaxation, but personally, I prefer upbeat music for de-stressing (everyone has their preferences!).
Life is full of stressors, and we can sometimes choose to avoid the main ones. The stressor I’m referring to is unhealthy fuel. The Standard American Diet is a major stressor and if we positively change that one aspect of life, it improves every other area. Need help eating healthy? I have Culinary Nutrition Meal Planning services and would love to connect with you!
Go outside and do your favorite activity! For me, it’s usually hiking. Exercise has been shown to positively impact mental health and reduce inflammation. (4) I think everyone can benefit from a daily walk outdoors. What’s an outdoor activity that you might enjoy doing daily?
Inhale the Smells of Nature
When I’m stressed, I reach for my bottles of nature, essentials oils. Stress Away is my favorite of all time!
Stress Away contains Lime, Vanilla extract, Copaiba, Lavender, and Cedarwood essential oils. This incredible blend is a very refreshing and calming scent. When I nanny, I always bring my Stress Away for the kids to smell when they need to calm down.
Research also shows that essential oils make a difference! “Listening to soft music and inhaling Citrus bergamia essential oil was found to be an effective method of relaxation, as indicated by a shift of the autonomic balance toward parasympathetic activity in young healthy individuals.” (5)
To purchase Stress Away at 24% off, send me an email (email@example.com) or a message through my Work With Me page.
Topical magnesium (applied to the skin) is incredible for supporting the body in times of stress. I put it on every day and then put lotion on top for better absorption. Most people are magnesium deficient and the body loses extra magnesium when under stress, so most people can majorly benefit from extra!
You can also obtain extra magnesium from foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, black beans, quinoa, cashews, and sunflower seeds. (6)