“Stress” is a word that we’re so used to hearing that we’ve forgotten it’s purpose. Stress is the body’s internal warning signal to slow down or that something is off. Without treating the source of your stress, from the inside, the issue may manifest into physical pain or illness. Here are six easy solutions to decrease stress everyday that will drastically improve your day in as little as 5 minutes!
- Take deep breaths. Count as you inhale and exhale slowly using a 4-count. For example, inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4, HOLD, 1, 2, 3, 4, exhale, 1, 2, 3, 4, HOLD, 2, 3, 4, repeat. It allows you to feel expansion and space inside your body and mind. By counting, it’s like you’re giving your brain a little squeaky toy to focus on instead of racing thoughts – and it works! This is excellent for lowering stress, anxiety, and calming a busy mind before bed.
- Make ME time. If you’re like most people, budgeting time to be alone has probably been seriously neglected. Even if it’s 10 minutes at a time, give yourself permission to have time to yourself. Whether you’re a student, a busy parent, or in charge of a demanding organization, taking time for yourself is precious. I’d invite you to add daily calendar reminders that alert you to “take 10”!
- Start or end your day with a brisk walk outside. Whether you’re in the woods, on the beach, or just walking around your neighborhood, fresh air is absolutely essential in lowering stress. Getting a sweat on will improve your stress while naturally uplifting your mood! Being outside is an incredibly easy way to shift your energy and shake off the mental junk from the week.
- Epsom salts, baby! I call them one of Nature’s Miracles and they really work. Before your next hot bath, pour 2-3 cups of these powerful minerals in the water instead of bubbles. Epsom salt effectively balances your energy and helps with tightness in the body. This is HIGHLY useful for back pain caused by sitting at a desk and commuting. Use some essential oils like lavender or peppermint if you’re fancy!
- Be kind to yourself. Thoughts have so much power. Internal negativity can be a major source of stress. Quit picking out your flaws and be loving instead. Challenge yourself for a day: each time a negative thought comes up simply say to yourself “I forgive myself for this thought, I choose love instead. I am grateful for ___.”
- Less buzz more zzz…. If you’re waking up in the middle of the night it’s easy to pick up the cell phone to cruise Instagram or your email but it will only keep you up longer and possibly set your mind racing. Instead of opening an app that stimulates your mind, try one that calms it instead. My favorite is called Headspace. There are 10 free guided meditations for newbies, plus you learn more great de-stressing techniques.
Beginning at an early age, I felt drawn to health and wellness. I was 18-years-old or so when I took my first yoga class and began to study massage therapy at The Polarity Realization Institute (now SpaTech). By 2001, I was a certified and licensed Holistic Massage Therapist working North of Boston. Over the years, I’ve witnessed how massage has directly improved my clients’ stress levels, chronic pain, sleep disorders, anxiety, mobility constraints, and even fibromyalgia. While I have loved providing massages, I knew I wanted to enhance my practice. I attended the 200-hour program at South Boston Yoga and was certified in 2013. Following my passion for health and healing, I have launched a program for businesses where my team of experts provide wellness solutions for employees right at work. For fun, I enjoy running with my dog Scooby, cooking, and creating various arts and crafts! Find Emily at Emilyaarons.com and onTwitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.