Acute or short-term stress is a feeling experienced when demands perceived exceed personal and social resources that one is able to mobilize. Chronic or long-term stress is the inability to cope long-term.
Acute stress is a natural reaction of the body, also known as the “fight or flight” response. The natural response in our bodies recognizes a “danger” and is meant to fight or flee the danger. Chronic Stress is the fight or flight response prolonged over long periods of time which can actually cause harm to the nervous system over time.
Today’s stressors like work deadlines vary from the survival and predatory stressors our bodies are hardwired to dealing with. Unfortunately, our bodies are unable to tell the difference! Usually, the “alarm phase” in our body shuts down after dealing with the stressor, however, in our busy day-to-day life, this can be a constant. This is where coping comes into play.
Release That Stress!
Physical activity is great for helping to relieve and release built up stress. This is one of my go-to sources of stress reduction. High-intensity interval training or mixed martial arts-inspired workouts are my favorite! Even something as simple as going for a brisk walk will help to ease your body and relax your mind. Some other activities that will help include:
Pretty much anything that gets you moving and your heart rate up with help to alleviate stress and release endorphins in your body which are proven to make you feel happier by the end of your walk or workout!
Deep breathing or breathing exercises calm the body and reduce stress. Here is a great article for more information on deep breathing and specific breathing exercises.
Essential oils are naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants used to balance and promote the healing of the body, mind and spirit.
I love to diffuse essential oils, my favorite being lavender which is known to help promote relaxation and ease anxiety. Whether you diffuse a few drops of lavender before bedtime to help relax and unwind, or breath it in before an important presentation, it will definitely help to calm your mind.
If you are not ready to invest in essential oils or a diffuser just yet, getting out and enjoying the fresh air, combined with a physical outdoor activity, is sure to help clear your mind.
Supplementation and Diet
Also known as B5 and dubbed the “anti-stress vitamin”, helps to boost the immune system and improve the body's ability to deal and withstand stressful situations. It also helps to produce hormones in the body that naturally combat stress.
To get your fix of B5 without supplementation, be sure to include these foods, rich in the vitamin (in order of potency):
- Sunflower Seeds