Stress is one of the most common ailments we get to deal with here at Massage To Wellness. In fact, it has become such a normal part of our lives that we almost forget the negative impact it can have on our bodies and minds. Stress can be caused by a variety of factors such as divorce, financial worries, social anxiety or work issues. It causes muscles to tense up and can manifest particularly as a back and shoulders pain.
It is important to emphasize that stress is very subjective in its effects. What stresses one person out may not bother another, and a healing therapy for one person will not work the same for another. Most of the time it is difficult to change your home, work and financial circumstances overnight – but what you can do is find ways to deal with the stress internally. By lowering stress levels in your body, this gives you the physical and mental energy to tackle those stress factors in your life.
6 Empowering Ways to Help Deal with Stress
1. Stress Identification
Many times, people are not actually aware of what is the cause of their stress. They could have a poor relationship with a family member. They could be eating the wrong foods, failing to exercise, have bad posture, negative thoughts etc. It is always a good idea to simply stop and identify the potential causes for stress. Many times it is not obvious. Stress identification is only step one, but it is the most important step.
2. Design a roadmap
Most people actually give themselves strict goals and deadlines which cause them to be overwhelmed or cause stress when they fail to make them. Rather break down your ultimate goal into smaller and manageable steps and focus on completing one step at a time. As you complete each step you move closer to your goal without having the stress of ‘how am I going to do this?’
3. Failure is normal
When things go wrong or don’t happen the way we want them, it can cause stress and anxiety. Failure is completely normal and a part of life and it is important not to beat yourself up about it. Take a deep breath and accept the situation as it is. Sometimes it is circumstances that you have no control over; the bank that denied your loan, a colleague that didn’t do their job properly etc. So instead of feeling stressed about it, find of creative solutions to deal with it. If it is a mistake on your part, see this as a learning curve instead of failure and adjust accordingly.
4. Look after your physical health
Yes, we all know diet and exercise is important for our health, but it also plays an important role in stress management. Exercise does release endorphins and other bliss chemicals in the brain, which can help to reduce stress. Exercise has been demonstrated to reduce cortisol levels in the brain, cortisol being the main chemical associated with stress.
An unhealthy diet is often full of toxins which will rob energy over time. Caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, sugar and processed foods are all poor choices and will indirectly lead to stress. Increase your intake of healthy food such as fruit, vegetable and lots of water.
5. Me time
Being continually on the go and busy causes your body to release chemicals to keep it going, and on the flip side increases stress hormones. It is vital that you find times during the day where you can relax, mentally and physically. Massage is one of the most effective ways to help deal with stress, but you can do anything that gives you that ‘me time’ such as reading a book, taking a walk or meditation.
6. Set clear boundaries and learn to say ‘No!’
A major cause of stress is actually because people try to please other people without setting clear boundaries. When these boundaries are not established, the other person naturally (and often not even maliciously) takes advantage. Remember that if you go the extra mile to please your employer with a stunning file, your boss is simply going to expect that quality from you every time. The same goes for every type of task or decision. If you act like it’s no problem doing a favour for a friend, then that friend is naturally going to think that it is no problem for you to be constantly doing favours. If you don’t set boundaries, people will keep violating your space.