It’s no secret that stress is one of the most harmful things for our bodies.
Between work, relationships, parenting and pretty much all the other demands of life, completely avoiding stress is impossible.
However, there are things we can do to limit the effects of stress. Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are my top 5 grounding activities I use to mitigate the stress in my own life.
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This is my number 1 go-to for when I’m feeling stressed. Breathwork can be done any time, anywhere, with absolutely no equipment necessary. All you need is the ability to breathe.
Seriously, that’s it.
There are certain breathwork techniques that activate specific areas of your brain if you want to achieve a specific outcome.
But if all you’re looking for is a little bit of peace and calm, just take a few slow, deep, conscious breaths. Drop out of your head and into your body, and really focus on your breathing. It helps if you close your eyes.
Learning to do this when you’re stressed or feeling anxious will absolutely change your life. I promise. I’ve seen it first hand in my own life.
But don’t take it from me, try it out for yourself.
If you don’t already have a meditation practice, I highly recommend you establish one.
Meditation has been scientifically shown to decrease stress and anxiety, along with increasing focus and improving memory.
A common complaint I hear from people when they first start meditating it that they can’t stop thinking.
This is actually a very common misconception: meditation is when you stop thinking and if all you’re doing is thinking, then you’re meditating wrong.
Actually, meditation happens when you become aware of your thoughts.
Realizing that you have thoughts (you can’t control having thoughts) and that you aren’t your thoughts is one of the incredible realizations that happen when you meditate.
During meditation, the calm happens when you can bring presence to your body, giving yourself a reprieve from “living in your mind.”
If you’re a meditation newbie, I highly recommend using guided meditations (YouTube is a great resource for this).
Start with 5 minutes and then work your way up.
I like to meditate in the morning and then again at night before bed.
3 Spending Time in Nature
Surrounding yourself in nature is one of the most powerful ways to bring some calm to your body.
According to this article, published at the Yale School of the Environment, it’s recommended that people spend 2 hours per week in nature. That’s roughly 17 minutes a day, give or take.
Taking a walk or simply sitting is all you need to do to reap the benefits.
Since the whole point of being in nature is to absorb the incredible benefits, avoid listening to music or podcasts.
Allow yourself to be fully present.
4 Cuddle a Pet
Spending time with your pet, more specifically cuddling with your pet, has been scientifically proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol while raising the hormone oxytocin.
You can read more of the benefits of pet ownership in this article published by Johns Hopkins.
So, the next time you’re feeling stressed, spend some time with your 4 legged friend.
I journal pretty much every single day. There are times when I crave the connection only my pen and paper can give me.
I have realized that by journaling I’m giving my mind an outlet. As someone who is constantly in her head, I’ve come to rely on my journaling time.
I’ve also noticed that in times of stress and anxiety, journaling helps me sort out my thoughts and see very clearly which thoughts are serving me at my highest good and which thoughts are merely stress-induced indulgences.
I’m also able to recognize patterns in my behavior and thinking that I would otherwise be oblivious to.
If you get stuck when it comes to what you should be writing about, there is no right or wrong here. You can free write, writing whatever pops into your mind. Or you can write using a journal prompt. Here are a few to get you started.
And in addition to helping reduce stress and anxiety, journaling gives you a really great excuse for buying cute notebooks and fun pens. I would consider myself a borderline professional office supply connoisseur.
If you’re looking for some journaling supply inspo, check out my recommendations here.
Everybody experiences stress. Everybody.
However, there are things you can do to make sure the effects of stress are as minimal as possible. There are certainly more stress-reducing activities out there, but these are definitely my some of my favorites and the ones that I have found to be most effective.
I’d love to know your thoughts on these grounding activities. Which one most resonates with you?
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