Some refer to stress as “fear,” “panic, or” “overwhelm.” Whereas, others call it “annoyance,” “loneliness,” or “discontent.” Despite how you personally refer to stress, the body reacts the same: adrenaline is released, your heart beats faster, and your blood pressure rises. Secondary symptoms of stress may include muscle tension, feeling like you’re in a "fog," or irritability.
Sometimes what seems like a symptom may be the cause of your stress. Pain from sitting for long periods of times, an underlying illness, or disruptions in your overall mental health can all be causes of stress or the result of stress. Since symptoms and causation are sometimes difficult to differentiate, it’s important to first learn how to cope with stress of any kind.
When you cope with stress using natural techniques, you can better identify the cause of your stress. Do your symptoms go away when you take a jog? Do you feel better after meditating? If so, then your body may have felt stressed because it needed movement or rest.
Learning how to calm the nervous system can help you to manage or reduce your stress. Read on to find 5 ways to calm your nervous system so you can get to the root of your stress and feel better.
Self-compassion is often a phrase we hear within self-help circles. But, what does it mean to be self-compassionate?
Kristin Neff, a psychologist and self-compassion researcher teaches us exactly what self-compassion is and how to practice it. Neff found that there are three components to self-compassion: being kind to yourself, acknowledging that you’re not alone, and mindfulness.
Being kind to yourself essentially equates to soothing yourself and minimizing damage to your sense of self. Ways to be kind to yourself include putting your hand on your heart, acknowledging that the situation you’re facing is difficult, and taking a moment to breathe deeply. The second component of self-compassion, acknowledging you’re not alone, helps you to avoid isolating yourself and to feel comforted knowing that others can empathize with you.
The third component of self-compassion, mindfulness, helps you to nurture yourself by being aware of how you feel. This element of self-compassion also helps you to avoid creating further stress or limiting beliefs by recognizing them at their onset. By being mindful of your thoughts, you can also detach from them by allowing them to pass without getting tangled up in the emotions, patterns of identification, and beliefs they can create.
Jesus said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” By learning how to be loving and self-compassionate toward yourself, you are then able to love others similarly. When this occurs, you and society benefit greatly, which is another reason to invest in a self-compassion practice.
2. Meditation and Prayer
According to Dan Harris, a meditation researcher, meditation can make you 10% happier. What's more is that anyone can meditate at any time during the day with only a few minutes to spare.
One of the easiest ways to meditate is to sit, stand, or lay down in a comfortable and alert position and close your eyes. After that, focus your attention on your in-breath and out-breath through the movement of your stomach or the air moving in and out of your nostrils.
It’s easy to do, but what deters many beginners from meditating is what’s nicknamed “monkey mind.” "Monkey mind" happens when your thoughts bounce from one topic to the next breaking your attention on the breath. But, this does not make your meditation session a failure; on the contrary, it’s very common and normal.
Simply observe the “monkey mind,” and when you notice you’re lost in thought simply return to the breath again and again. If quiet meditation seems too difficult or just isn’t your style, try voice-guided meditations.
Prayer and a belief in God is also a powerful tool. Prayer for others during challenging times may even help them to alleviate ailments. Prayer and religion can help us to find comfort during stressful times and to feel more connected to God’s strength.
3. Bach Flowers
The Bach Flower system was created by Dr. Edward Bach. It is comprised of 38 flower essences, plus the first-aid blend called Rescue Remedy, which help to support emotional imbalances. Some of the flowers included in this system are Gorse, Impatiens, and Cherry Plum. Each flower essence supports a specific emotional state, like feelings of shock/trauma, overwhelm, and excessive worry.
Dr. Bach was a physician and homeopath. He was concerned that healing methods were too invasive and painful, so he spent many years searching for a gentler healing system. His focus was always directed toward treating the individual rather than symptoms or a diagnosis.
Today’s practitioners are becoming increasingly aware of the impact that stress and emotional distress can have on health and wellness. Dr. Bach believed that a person’s outlook and perception of dis-ease plays a vital role in the healing process, and in maintaining health and wellness.
Bach flower essences have been used for more than 80 years in over 66 countries. The flower essences are safe for infants and the elderly, have no untoward side-effects, are not habit-forming, and do not interact with medications. Interestingly, Bach flowers are also effective for use with animals and plants.
Dr. Bach’s system is simple and can be used by anyone. Education in this practice is fun and it’s easy to learn to help yourself, your clients, family, and even your pets! They can be used topically or orally; if used orally, you will need to dilute the Bach Flower mixture.
4. Positive Relationships
The quality of our relationships is a key factor in determining our happiness and stress levels. Our relationships should help us to feel safe, supported, and engaged. They should not leave us feeling constantly drained, stressed, or overwhelmed.
Cultivate positive relationships by practicing good communication skills. Seek out people who are optimistic, caring, and fun to be around. Set boundaries and limit your time with people who are critical, pessimistic, and/or unsupportive.
Smell is one of our most powerful senses. Smell has the ability to evoke memories from our childhood or ones that may have been forgotten. Aromatherapy is a great way to use your sense of smell to enhance and balance your emotional state.
Aromatherapy can also help to alleviate the underlying causes of stress. For example, aromatherapy can help to manage physical pain, improve sleep quality, and boost your immunity.
Learn More Natural Ways to Cope with Stress
Stress is a normal part of our lives and none of us can avoid it completely. However, we can learn how to cope with stress naturally, so we can build resilience and support our bodies effectively.
At Trinity School of Natural Health, we offer multiple programs that will teach you how to naturally manage stress and support the body. These programs will also help you to assist others. Check out our Certified Aromatherapy Specialist program and our Certified Flower Essence Specialist program to learn more about these supportive techniques.