Powerful and Easy Ways to Work with Stress
Updated: Apr 15
Stress is a natural part of life, and we all experience it to varying degrees. However, chronic stress can have severe consequences for our physical and mental health. Therefore, it's essential to learn how your nervous system responds to stress and find ways to manage it effectively.
The nervous system coordinates all of the body's responses to stress, including the fight or flight response. When we encounter a stressful situation, our body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare us to either fight or flee. Chronic stress can lead to an overactive nervous system that can contribute to a range of health problems.
One of the most effective ways to manage stress is to practice breathing and movement exercises. These exercises can help regulate the nervous system and reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of stress. Here are some simple exercises to try (links to guided Youtube videos/explanations):
Deep breathing: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your diaphragm. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat for several minutes.
Progressive muscle relaxation: Tense each muscle group in your body, hold for a few seconds, then release the tension. Start with your feet and work your way up to your head.
Yoga: Yoga combines movement with deep breathing, which can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Tai Chi: Tai Chi is a gentle form of movement that involves slow, flowing movements and deep breathing. It has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Walking: Taking a brisk walk can help reduce stress and clear your mind.
Dancing: Dancing is a fun and effective way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. You can dance alone or with a partner, to music or in silence.
Mindful breathing: Sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Focus your attention on your breath and let go of any distracting thoughts.
There are many ways to learn how to work with your nervous system. As a therapist, each and every session I have with a client is a sort of practice or training system in working with the nervous system. Outside of therapy, taking time to practice
breathing and movement exercises can help regulate the nervous system and reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of stress. By incorporating these simple exercises into your daily routine, you can manage stress more effectively and improve your overall well-being.
*This post was written in collaboration with Chat GPT.