Stress is both a blessing and a curse. We need enough stress to motivate us to get out of bed in the morning and accomplish our goals. However, too much pressure can damage our mental and physical health. Finding balance with family, work and other relationships can be a challenge if you are exhausted from everyday responsibilities. The key to preventing and managing stress is to find balance physically, cognitively, socially and spiritually.

Physically

1. Sleep – Are you getting uninterrupted and restful sleep? Sleep is the time when we process thoughts and experiences that we have not had time to handle during the day.  We need to sleep to recover and restore our body and our mind.  Lack of sleep harms our immune system and leads to more agitation and stress during the day.  For more information on sleep please see this TEDtalk.

2. Exercise – Exercise releases endorphins and lessens stress, anxiety and depression. When we exercise, we increase blood flow through our body and brain which increases focus and cardiovascular health

3. Touch – Humans are social animals and require connection. Hugs release oxytocin, the love hormone.  Oxytocin lowers our blood pressure and provides a sense of well-being.

Cognitively

1. Stimulation – Is your mind being over or under stimulated? Sometimes people believe that watching TV or playing video games is relaxing.  However, your brain is still stimulated by the lights and the sounds.  You might be overstimulated if noise and screens are on frequently.  If this is the case, you can reduce stress by sitting in silence or practising mindfulness and meditation. If you are feeling under stimulated, you can set goals to learn something or meet a new

2. Challenge yourself – Is there something that you are curious or anxious about? If you are feeling anxious, face your fears in baby steps. If you are feeling complacent, push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Socially

1. Meaningful connections – Everyone has a different desire to be social. Some people are happy to have a few close friends, where others like to have a wider circle of acquaintances.  A healthy social network helps us to be more resilient.  When we feel appreciated and heard, our stress levels decrease.  Social isolation can lead to depression and anxiety.  If someone in your life is trying to isolate you, seek counselling.

2. Conflict – Conflict can be stressful and lead to other mental health concerns. If you are struggling with complicated relationships or conflict, a psychologist or other trained mental health professional can help.

Spiritually

1. Connecting – Spirituality is how we connect to ourselves and the universe. Some people find this through religion.  Others find it through meditation, mindfulness, yoga, dance, music and art.

2. Calming – Spirituality calms down our nervous system, thereby reducing stress.

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If you find yourself out of balance in these areas and would like help to reduce your stress, I am available for sessions.  Appointments can be made by calling +852 2521 4668 or emailing m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash