Controlling stress in a natural and sustainable way may seem difficult in general terms: however, we can improve our stress management skills with a few adjustments.
Recent studies show that more than 40% of adults suffer from stress. These are alarming statistics, as stress, in addition to affecting our quality of life and deteriorating our relationships with the people around us, is one of the main causes of cardiovascular diseases: stroke, depression, anxiety, obesity and diabetes, among other diseases, are also correlated with stress.
The WHO defines stress as “a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation”. So-called “acute” stress is thus a normal biological reaction that puts us on alert and prepares us to act at a certain critical moment. However, the problem comes up when stress becomes chronic, mainly as a consequence of our way of life. We become irritable, out of control and susceptible and vulnerable to illness.
How can we interact with our stress? It is clear that most of the situations around us are beyond our control, but what we can control is how we react to them. This is the fundamental key to learning to cope with stress and is arguably one of life’s great lessons. It has to do with our ability to manage our own emotions, thoughts and, ultimately, to take control of our own lives.
This may seem like a difficult exercise, but there are some adjustments to consider. In systemic terms, we can improve our management of this stress management task as follows:
You are what you eat
Symbeeosis has developed its own vision based on the importance of nutrition and how it affects all facets of our lives. Our diet can help us to live in balance and it can be; on the opposite, a great obstacle to achieving it: when we are stressed our blood receives a lot of cortisol, so the worst thing is to consume foods that further elevate levels of this hormone, such as sugar, caffeine, sausages, processed foods and alcohol. Instead, incorporate serotonin-boosting foods such as honey, dark chocolate, chickpeas and chamomile into our diet. Magnesium also plays a key role in balancing our nervous system and is found in large doses in green leafy vegetables, almonds, bananas, avocado and cocoa. Also consider to include a Herbal Relax Elixir* or relaxing natural teas in your daily routine.
The respiratory system is the network that helps you breathe and smell: if you stop and observe your body’s response, you will notice that it is not possible to be in a state of nervousness or stress and, at the same time, to have a deep, rhythmic breathing. In stressful situations, our breathing becomes rapid, choppy and shallow. Breathing is therefore a great ally in any situation. In a stressful situation, stop, go to a quiet place, close your eyes if possible and take a few slow, deep breaths. Visualising a calm lake, a sun in the solar plexus or imagining yourself surrounded by light can help you, and you will see how everything takes on a different dimension afterwards.
Exercise is a key to increase the body’s ability to respond to stress. This is because it improves “communication” between the muscular, renal, cardiovascular, nervous and sympathetic systems. It also helps the brain by increasing the concentration of noreinephrine in the regions of the brain involved in the stress response and producing dopamine, serotonin and endorphins.
Hidden time (for what you enjoy)
Painting, dancing, reading, writing, cooking… we often sacrifice the activities that give us the most satisfaction and pleasure in order to attend to our responsibilities or simply because of a poor agenda. Make sure you set aside a few hours a week to do that you enjoy most. If you haven’t found a specific hobby so far, find an activity that engages your body, mind and well-being. Join a creative workshop and explore your skills and talents.
Make your home a oasis of calm
Our home is our refuge. Untidy rooms, dishes piled up in the kitchen, clothes in piles… all this chaos affects our mind and our mood. Organizing ourselves and the people you live with a certain discipline and routines of order and cleanliness can make a big difference in coexistence and when we get home after a long working day, even more so if we work from home. Gestures such as perfuming your home with relaxing essential oils or placing plants and vegetation will help you to maintain a state of inner balance.
* Symbeeosis’ mission is to help us to achieve a greater well-being, health and quality of life in connection with our environment and with nature. We are aware that stress is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving this, which is why we have created our Organic Herbal Relax Elixir supplement, composed of a synergy of plants and 100% natural substances such as Passionflower, Chamomile flowers, Goji Berries, Lemon Balm and Orange Essential Oil to help us combat stress naturally and improve the health of our sleep.