Is Stress STRESSING You Out?


The American Institute of Stress lists the top 50 things that stress can do to you, from teeth clenching to becoming a compulsive gambler and impulse buyer. Stress places effects on your mind, body, relationships, and more.

While things happening in and around your life that causes stressors to your body, there are practical, easy tools you can learn to use that don't cost anything, but they do have a big payback.


Your mind, body, soul, and relationships will thank you for incorporating these into your life.


Take a break to decrease mental stress and improve your focus.


A 2011 study out of the University of Illinois Urbana suggested: "From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!"

Set boundaries.


An article in Psychology Today stated, "healthy boundaries allowed {us} to take better care of {ourselves}—emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. The article went on to say, "Clearly established boundaries help us to take care of ourselves emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our boundaries help us to become less concerned about how we are viewed and more satisfied with the perceptions we have of ourselves."

An article published on health.harvard.edu found that spending at least 20 to 30 minutes immersed in a nature setting was associated with the biggest drop in cortisol levels.


In the study, 'spending time in nature' included 10 minutes or longer, three days a week for eight weeks, in an outdoor place where they could interact with nature. The settings varied from yards to public parks to green areas near their place of work. They also either walked or sat during their nature time.


Practice your 3-Dimensional breathing.


A three-month, informal study conducted by an Integrative Movement Specialist using her father with significant and advanced medical conditions of COPD, emphysema, diabetes, etc., showed how three-dimensional breathing could positively affect a physically stressed body. During the three months, she had him practice three-dimensional breathing, taking just 5-10 breaths three times per day, breathing in and out through his nose at a ratio of in for 3 seconds and out for 5-6 seconds. He monitored his pulse, O2, blood pressure, and blood sugar.


Each recording showed an improvement in one or more areas.


Most often, there was an improvement in several stats. O2 readings would go up into the upper 90's in saturation, the pulse would slow down, blood pressure would come down, and from time to time, even his high blood sugar readings would drop a few points.


Imagine the physical stress taken off his body just by practicing three-dimensional breathing.


Spend time by yourself.


An article in Forbes shares the thoughts of Psychotherapist and international bestselling mental strength author, Amy Morin.


In the article, she states several benefits of spending time alone, one includes, "Studies show the ability to tolerate alone time has been linked to increased happiness, better life satisfaction, and improved stress management. People who enjoy alone time experience less depression."


Do you use, or have you used any of these tools that help decrease stress during your day? If so, which are most helpful to you? Are there coping tools mentioned above you have not used and should try?