In our world today, the majority of us are suffering from chronic stress in some form or another. Over time, if we don’t learn to manage our stress, then our health will start to suffer.
It’s been said that chronic stress is the root of all disease, and I find a lot of truth in this statement. Stress comes in many forms, and for many of us, our bodies never get a break from it.
There are several types of stressors. There’s emotional stress, like having a fight with a loved one or having a negative self image. There’s environmental stressors like the food we eat, the water we drink, and environmental toxins. There’s physical stressors, like having a chronic infection or doing high intensity workouts 7 days a week. There’s also electronic stressors, like social media, email, TV, and phone.
When you encounter these stressors all hours of the day, your body never has a chance to rest and digest. Instead, you are constantly in a state of “fight or flight” or chronic stress.
If you are suffering from some type of health problem, whether it’s an autoimmune condition, food sensitivities, digestive issues, skin conditions, headaches, depression, or something else, then you must give your body a break from stress. That is the only way it can heal.
Below are 5 easy activities you can begin to implement to help your body de-stress naturally. I encourage you to implement at least one stress management activity each day.
Deep breathing exercises are great, especially when you don’t have a lot of time. You can do this for 3-5 minutes and it can make a big difference. Any time you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, just take a couple of minutes to close your eyes, and breath deeply. Breath in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, and breath out slowly for a count of 4. Make sure you are taking deep belly breaths; not shallow chest breaths. Your shoulders should not rise and fall. That usually indicates chest breathing. I also love diffusing calming essential oils while I’m doing this. You can do this at your office, at home, in bed, wherever. You can even do this in the car – just keep your eyes open. 🙂
Exercise is a wonderful way to relieve stress. Lifting weights, interval training, yoga, pilates, and long walks are all excellent exercises to incorporate. One thing to be cautious of however, is that high intensity exercise is a stressor on the body. Depending on your state of health and frequency, it can be beneficial or it can be detrimental. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it. If your health is suffering, then focus on lower intensity exercises like walking, yoga, and lifting light weights.
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt baths are a wonderful way to de-stress. The magnesium in epsom salts are great for promoting a feeling of calm and relaxation. It can also reduce irritability and improve your sleep. Epsom salts are also great for detoxification and reducing inflammation and pain. Try taking an epsom salt bath before bed. Just add 1 cup of epsom salts to your bath water, turn on some relaxing music, and close your eyes. You can also add a few drops of relaxing essential oils, like lavender. Learn more about the benefits of epsom salt baths here.
Yoga is a great exercise to reduce stress. When you practice yoga, you are forced to focus on the movements and poses rather than the stressful situations in your life. A lot of yoga will incorporate meditation too, which is wonderful for reducing stress. Upon completing a yoga class, you will feel more relaxed and calm.
As adults, one thing we don’t do very often is play. We can learn a lot from our kids and pets when it comes to incorporating play time. It’s so beneficial to your health that you find activities that are fun for you. Maybe it’s playing catch with your kids, jumping on the trampoline, or having a game night with friends. Whatever play means to you, try to incorporate it on a weekly basis.
Incorporating stress management activities into your daily routine, along with a healthy diet, will help your body heal much faster. Personally, I find this to be one of the most challenging aspects of good health. It’s easy to get caught up in your daily life and forget to take break. However, it is necessary if you want to experience true healing.
You can eat a perfect diet, and take all of the right supplements. But if your body is stressed, it will have a much harder time healing.
Incorporating daily stress-management activities and getting quality sleep will really help put your body in a state of healing and restoration.
Originally published on Celiac Handbook.