Stress has negative effects on your health, energy and weight. High amounts of stress, lowers your immunity, contributes to weight gain and shortens your life. Traveling for work and even for pleasure puts additional challenges on your body. Learning and practicing simple techniques can dramatically improve your way of responding to stressful situations. These strategies have helped thousands of my clients regain a sense of control, achieve a better perspective and successfully manage their stress.
Focus On Your Breath
Shallow breathing is the exact response your body is drawn into under stressful situations. In order to increase a relaxation response, begin to focus on your breathing with fuller and more meaningful inhalations and exhalations. When your thoughts are overshadowed by something you cannot control like a flight delay, use that time to shift your attention to a few moments of deep breathing. If you practice this technique on a regular basis, you will find your responses to have less impact on your attitude, heart rate and health. New York Times best selling author and wellness authority, Dr. Andrew Weil says, “Unlike any other function of the body, breathing can be entirely voluntary or entirely involuntary.” Breathing has a direct influence on body functions such as heartbeat, circulation, digestion and energy. All of those functions contribute to overall health and lead you on a pathway towards happier outcomes and greater life satisfaction. That’s powerful!
Conveniently packaged in travel size, essential oils can be used to increase awareness, create a sense of calm or invigorate the body and mind. Keep them in your travel bag, car or handbag to use whenever you want a desired effect. Carefully chosen, concentrated oils have the power to energize you and also relax you. To make a natural room refresher, add a few drops of oil to some water in a spray bottle, shake and spritz. Create a spa experience by adding a few drops to your bath water. To apply to your body, combine 10-15 drops with coconut, jojoba, almond oil or shea butter. For energy enhancement, try eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary or cinnamon. For a calming effect, try lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood. Using essential oils encourages deep breathing and of course, deep breathing helps reduce stress. The combination of their effect negates tension and promotes relaxation.
Yoga is a proven method of reducing stress and anxiety. According to a study published in the journal of Health Education and Behavior, office workers who took part in a six-week yoga program reported significantly lower stress levels and improved sleep quality. Yoga is the practice of breath and mindfulness. Deep breathing brings you into the present moment. Most anxiety comes from focusing on the past or future “what ifs.” By connecting with real time and “the now” you stay focused on what’s in front of you and deal with it in the most capable way possible. If you are new to yoga, learn a simple flow that does not require much experience or thinking. This way you can channel all your thoughts to your breath. If you are an experienced yogi, choose a flow of poses that you love to get your body aligned and your mind in the proper prospective. I have included my favorite simple flow to reduce stress, calm the mind, encourage deep breathing and stretch the spine. In each pose, I encourage you to coordinate deep breathing exercises to create the most effective result.
Remember, a little relaxing goes a long way. The fact is, you will get things done more efficiently and feel less anxious if you take a few moments to unwind. By practicing these three simple strategies each time you begin to feel stressed, you can manage your level of stress more effectively. All three strategies are related to one simple technique and all you need to remember is, breathe.
Healthy travels to all and don’t forget to “breathe.”
About the Author
Tammy Stokes, CEO & Founder, West Coast Workout, Lifestyle Fitness Studios. As the creator of West Coast Workout and author of Live Your Healthiest Life, Tammy’s teaching is the most comprehensive and unique lifestyle approach to obtaining a life in balance.