With everything going on in life, things can get a bit taxing. But there’s actually an easy way to keep stress at bay: take a bit of time each day to connect with the mind, body and the needs of each. Pausing to reconnect with the inner self and physical requirements works wonders on the mind, spirit and body. It’s also an excellent way to ward off too much stress.

Dr. Helen Lee of Chicago Healers provides five easy ways to stay calm, relaxed and connected to the self throughout even the busiest days:

  1. Breathe
    It may feel silly to remind yourself to breathe, but it’s just that important. There are two types of breathing: shallow and deep. When you take shallow chest breaths, you keep your body in its “fight or flight” mode, which is highly stressful. Less oxygen goes to the brain and the body acts as though on high alert. Deep abdominal breaths, however, stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This optimizes digestion, relaxation and detoxification while keeping hormones balanced. Taking just a few deep breaths from your gut can be sublimely calming.
  2. Practice Gratitude
    Remembering things to be grateful for throughout the day really does wonders for both your state of mind and physical being. Positive thinking releases chemicals that help with digestion, euphoria, relaxation and overall well-being.
  3. Laugh
    As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine, and this is often the case. Laughing for 10 minutes a day will do amazing things. It changes the physiology of the entire body. It increases circulation, releases different “happy” chemicals, reduces stress, keeps everyone in a lighter frame of mind, helps the heart and can even burn calories! It’s contagious, too!
  4. Sit in Silence
    Taking 10 to 30 minutes to quiet the mind and clear thoughts can be so beneficial. If you don’t like the idea of meditating, spend the time visualizing your goals for the day instead. This time spent in focus on your personal needs will help you keep calm and collected later when the day starts to get stressful.
  5. Take a Walk
    Sometimes all that’s needed is fresh air and sunlight. Taking a step away from demands for a 15 minute walk gives you the opportunity to clear your thoughts so you can return to a relaxed state of mind.

Stress is almost unavoidable these days, but there are many ways to keep it at bay. Practicing these five methods is a great start.

More tips for dealing with stress

Adapted from Chicago Healers’ media release

Image by Nakic, via Flickr

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