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Stress and How to Beat It

Stress and How to Beat It

Stress is a constant in many of our lives. No matter how much we attempt to reduce our stressful activities and increase pleasure, there will always be stressful events that occur. However, there are some simple and event ancient techniques that we can use to reduce this stress. These occur first through our body but have a direct and powerful effect on our mind and our anxious thoughts and emotions.

Physical fitness is a sure-fire way to reduce stress. By working out our body, we also are working out our mind, releasing the dark and repetitive thoughts that define our stress levels. Exercise increases our ability to focus, and thereby block out the issues that are causing our stress. We transition from an inactive and victim-like mentality to a positive and active way of handling the issues and tasks that we need to accomplish. Exercising produces endorphins, which reduce our ability to perceive pain. During and after a workout, we feel energized because we have had a rush of positive chemicals. Therefore, we are more capable of dealing with our stress factors in life. This also gives us the physical boost to sleep well and rest when it is time, instead of staying up late with our minds running around all the things we must accomplish and worry us. Beyond regular, routine physical exercises, there are some specific ways that we can physically reduce our stress levels in life.

The first of these is Qigong, which is an ancient Chinese practice. The practice of Qigong involves slow, focused and meditative motions while utilizing breathing techniques. Combined, all of these parts create a flowing exercise that relaxes our body, heart, emotions, and mind. ‘Chi’ (or ‘qi’ in Qigong) is the ancient Chinese concept for energy that flows through us in the Qigong states. We make our body more fit while reaching a deep state of relaxation with our surroundings and thoughts. Through Qigong, we can feel wonderful in our bodies while reducing our stress dramatically.

Another ancient practice that has been shown to greatly reduce anxiety is acupuncture. This practice uses tiny needles at specific points of the body. Acupuncture is a powerful reducer of stress, through its ability to pinpoint specific areas of stress in the body. Furthermore, acupuncture has been proven to activate the pleasure centers of the brain while decreasing and blocking those chemicals that produce stress in our system (namely, cortisol).

Light therapy is another simple relaxation technique for the battle against stress in our lives. We do not necessarily realize the ways in which light play a role in our everyday life and health, both mental and physical. When we stare at a computer screen all day, the light from our screen, as well as our office or surroundings affect our status. Therefore, light therapy can be a way to avoid the stress caused by a variety of sources. There are many products on the market that utilize light to relax us, whether a lamp or other specific products. These products utilize various types of light rays at different frequencies and with different colors which produce various psychogenic effects in our brains. Furthermore, many sound therapy devices also allow us to shut off the hum and noise of the outside world and our inside stress. These will help us relax and deal with our stress issues.

Finally, perhaps the simplest yet effective of managing stress is meditation. There are various ways to practice meditation that have been developed over thousands of years from all over the world (especially the East). The most simple of these techniques that anyone can do is to simply to watch their breathing, slowing it down and counting them. This makes us aware of how breath affects us. This is an easy and solid way to manage stress. When we are stressed, we don’t realize it, but we often hyperventilate. Through meditation and slowing down our breathing, we can reconnect to our true original zen. Other methods of meditation, such as transcendental meditation (meditation with a repeated mantra or chosen words said over and over again), guided visualization, heart rhythm meditations, or even Qigong (as mentioned above).

There are many ways to reduce stress that do not involve any medication or contemporary drugs whatsoever. Instead of reaching for that beer or glass of wine, why not try Qigong or meditation? Both of them are free, plus they have been shown to reduce stress dramatically.

Sophie Ellen