Written by Contributor Writer Marisa Bennett
Stress /stres/; a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Stress is a part of life, and large part of it for many people, including myself. Especially as a college student trying to graduate on time, figuring out what I want to do with my life, writing three papers due next week, attempting to figure out the statistics homework I’ve been struggling with and on top of that, finding time to catch up with Friends and Orange is the New Black on Netflix. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the things going on life, but there are ways to collect yourself and beat stress. You’re probably asking yourself, “What do I need to do? Take some medicine? Create a vigorous workout routine?” Nope! I’m here to tell you about some all natural, simple, and time efficient ways to cope with stress.
1). Breathing Techniques
Starting with the basics! Breathing is something we cannot live without and often take for granted. Even though we breathe every second of our lives, it can benefit you in the times of feeling stressed and overwhelmed if done right. Below, there are two different breathing techniques that have proven to reduce anxiety and calm your nerves.
First, there is the coherent breathing technique. This is when you breathe breaths of five; five second inhales and five second exhales. At a five minute rate, this balances your parasympathetic nervous system because the coherent breathing technique is in the middle range of the resonant breathing rate range.
Also, there is the abdominal breathing technique. You start by putting one hand on the chest and the other hand on the belly, then you take a long breath through the nose, this makes sure that the diaphragm inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal is six to 10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 10 minutes each day to experience immediate slower/balanced heart rate and blood pressure.
In my opinion, aromatherapy is a completely underrated technique when it comes to calming nerves and conquering stress. I always find whipping out some lavender oil and taking a nice whiff can get my mind balanced after a long day of work and class. Oils are generally affordable, effective, and last for a long period of time. Some oils to look into stress management would be: lavender, rose, bergamot, chamomile, geranium, rosewood, and ylang ylang.
How do you use these oils? There are numerous ways, and they are all very simple. First off, you could just take large whiffs. You could also go beyond this and and carry a sample with you. With this sample, you could put it on a napkin, handkerchief, or cotton ball and keep it in your pocket or purse. You can even add a couple of drops to a shower and have the aroma all around you! This one is my personal favorite because nothing clears my mind more than a good shower, and even better with the added benefits of aromatherapy oils clearing my mind.
Yoga is one of the most beneficial types of exercises a person can do to help them stay in shape, stay strong, and also control stress. Don’t be intimidated by the one girl who can do headstands, splits, and put all her weight on to her tanned and toned arms; yoga has a place for everyone! There are some positions that will be extra beneficial in overcoming anxiety and calming your self. Some of the positions include…
Sukhasana: This is also known as “the easy pose.” This is when you sit with your legs crossed and rest your hands and wrists (facing upward) and do some deep breathing. You sit up straight and focus on breathe for 60 seconds. Doing this can normalize heart rate and blood flow.
Balasana: This pose is more often known as “child’s pose.” You do this by sitting on your knees and bending forward with arms forward. You could also rest arms by your sides. Also, resting your forehead on the ground in child’s pose will help to relieve additional anxiety.
Savasana: This position is known as the “corpse pose.” This is a pose that is consistent of total relaxation. Savasana gives the nervous system integrated what can be called an extended pause with the stressful thoughts that can consume your mind. Lie on your back with eyes shut, arms by your sides and palms facing up; also allow your ankles to fall in whatever direction is most comfortable. Stay in this pose for a minimum of 5 minutes and relax with every fiber of your being.
4). Call A Friend
Or even better, take an hour to go visit one. No matter where life takes you and your friends, always keep in touch with them because recent research shows that being with friends and/or talking to them can lower the stress hormone, cortisol, in our system. There is nothing like ranting to your best girlfriend about the horrible day of stress you just had; especially over some Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked, or whatever flavor you prefer, and watching as many possible hours of romantic comedies or Sex and the City (Don’t lie to yourself, ladies! You know you love doing this, even as cliche as it is). There’s just something about the misadventures of Carrie Bradshaw and her best friends that makes you feel like you can get your life together.
All in all, stress is a part of life. No way of escaping papers, job applications, and working in general. But, there are always ways to help you cope with the overwhelming feelings of gloom and doom. So just keep your chin up and know that with the combination of some of things mentioned above and a positive attitude, you can take on the world by storm. As Valerie Bertinelli says, “Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.” So don’t let stress take control of your life, take control of your own life!