6 Tips For Lowering Stress

We all encounter stress in our daily lives. Here are some simple ways to move the needle in lessening the effects of stress on the body. Nurses General Nursing Knowledge


6 Tips For Lowering Stress

Stress. We all have it.  So, how can we deal with stress better in order to perform optimally?  Read on to discover how you can more effectively manage and reduce your stress levels starting today.

We are hard-wired to react to stress in a strong way in order to help protect us from threats and danger.  We encounter various forms of stress from different sources in our daily lives.  Work, family life balance, relationships, paying bills, and traffic, just to name a few, are stressors we face often.  However, when stress becomes a long-term guest in our life and is not addressed in a healthy way, it can lead to a whole host of health challenges.  One of these challenges is sustained elevated cortisol, which can affect the body in many ways.  Cortisol is the hormone released by the adrenal glands when the body faces stressors of various forms.   Cortisol is responsible for governing blood sugar levels, sugar cravings, blood pressure, and the ability to cope with stress.  When cortisol is elevated for long periods of time, effects can include abnormal blood sugar levels, increased body fat, depression, loss of sleep, and delayed wound healing.  Monitoring your cortisol level via blood tests is advisable, as is implementing a practical lifestyle strategy to keep it in check.

Six Tips for Lowering Your Stress Levels

Take a deep breath

Deep breathing can change your state of mind, lower your blood pressure, and improve your mood by increasing oxygen to the body.  Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of four, hold it for a count of two, and exhale slowly, emptying the lungs completely.  Do this several times throughout the day, especially when you are experiencing a stressful moment.  

Do your best work first

Prioritizing the most challenging tasks early in the day allows your mind to focus on that which needs the most attention.  This also allows you to go through the rest of your day with less stress and tackle others items on your to-do list with ease.

Consider adaptogenic herbs

The most beneficial adaptogenic herbs for high stress are ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Asian ginseng, and Korean red ginseng, according to Dr. Sara Gottfried, board-certified gynecologist, and physician-scientist.  Implementing the use of these herbs before stress begins will buffer its effects on your body.  Always consult your doctor before adding an herbal supplement, especially if you are on other medications.

Cut the caffeine

Cutting or significantly reducing your caffeine intake during periods of high stress will benefit your adrenal glands in a big way.  As much as we love our coffee and energy drinks, the caffeine intake wreaks havoc on our adrenals.   

Get off your feet

One of the most beneficial yoga poses you can do at the beginning or the end of a long stressful day is the yoga pose called Viparita Karani.  Viparita Karani is done by elevating your feet above your head against a wall – this serves to reduce stress, relieve lower back pain, lower blood pressure, and increase energy.

Prioritize sleep

Make sure you are either turning off your screens or wearing proper blue-light-blocking eyewear for at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.  Another option is installing an app that filters the blue-green wavelength at night.  Whether you are working on homework, reading the news, or answering emails, you can help improve your sleep today by implementing any of the options above.

Stress is a normal part of daily life, but we have powerful options to deal with it effectively.  Take action today, even if it's one small thing you can implement into your routine.  Your body will thank you.

Summer Bagley is a former NICU nurse who now enjoys her days writing from her sticky farm table in Phoenix. When she isn't writing you can find her spending time with her family, teaching Pilates and hiking the beautiful mountains of the desert.

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Specializes in ICU.

For me personally, ways that I deal with stress also include:

1. Gym/Yoga

2. Eating right and meal-prepping

3. Making lists; getting one thing done at a time

Specializes in NICU,OB-GYN, Wellness, Nutrition, Movement, Stress.

I love those items.  I especially enjoy making lists and checking things off too.  Otherwise I get too distracted to stay the course if I'm busy.  

Summer Bagley