Stress is one of the most damaging things that we deal with regularly. The irony is that stress itself is not a bad thing. In fact, stress is an important natural response to danger and to challenge, which increases our athletic performance, our focus and our likelihood of winning any confrontation.
That’s acute stress anyway. That’s ‘eustress’ which is the positive driving force that helps us to get stuff done and to stop lying around.
The problem is when stress becomes chronic. When the ‘stressor’ (the cause of stress) doesn’t go away (perhaps it’s debt, or a bad boss), then the body spends too long in this aroused state. The immune system, the digestion and even our creativity are all suppressed when we’re stressed and this leaves us vulnerable to illness and depression. Not only that, but stress causes elevated heartrates and increased blood pressure, which can put us at risk of a stroke or even a heart attack.
Then there’s the fact that stress causes us to contract our muscles, to feel pain more acutely and to worry about things that don’t matter. Not to mention that you can actually ‘run out’ of adrenaline and other stress hormones, leading to adrenal fatigue and resulting lethargy and disinterest.
Chronic stress is the problem then and unfortunately, our modern lives are completely filled with it. That means it’s up to you to try and find ways to combat said stress and to get your body back under your own control. Read on and we’ll take a look at 21 natural ways to reduce stress.
Number one on this list has to be the single most effective way to combat stress in the short term and the long term. Meditation is nothing mystic or esoteric. All this is, is the practice of concentrating your attention on your breathing, or on clearing your mind. That gives you the ability to decide whether you want to respond to the thoughts and feelings coming into your head, or whether you want to let them pass you by.
In other words, meditation gives you the ability to conscious detach yourself from your stressors and your troubles and to just relax. This has been shown to cause lasting changes in the brain as well as to give users a practical way to handle stress wherever it arises.