Don't believe every little thing you think

Yes, stress can be good.  It can provide energy, motivation, drive… But it doesn’t work that way all the time.  Stress begins in the mind – how we perceive threats, actions, and events in our life.  We have about 2 minutes to decide how we are going to handle this stress before our body decides to have a physical reaction to it!

First, take care of your body

Hydrate.  We should be consuming 2 liters (or about 64oz) of water per day. 

Eat well.  A balanced diet helps make a balanced body.

Sleep.  Though the average person sleeps 6.5 hours per night it’s easier to get sick if we get 7 hours or less.

Keep moving.  Just like your fitbit suggests, shoot for 10,000 steps per day.

Think positive.  Did you know that research shows we have about 68,000 thoughts per day.  90% of those thoughts are negative.  And, because we’re creatures of habit, we replay our thoughts over and over, and in turn, have the same negative thoughts again and again.

Breathe better.  Slow your breathing; inhale through your nose; focus on your breaths while expanding your stomach rather than your chest – all of these will help your body rest.

What you can do in that 2 minute time window

Try to change your usual response to stress by engaging movement, thoughts, and breath in these exercises:

Coin Flip

Any time you have a positive thought or a negative thought, you strengthen that connection in your brain cells – so you will have that thought more frequently, and for longer.  If we can catch those negative thoughts and flip them into a positive… then the positive thought pattern becomes more dominant and familiar.  Every time you have a negative thought – bring out your coin and flip it over. 

Belly Breathing

Put one hand on chest, one on the navel.

Which had is moving first and most – if top hand (on chest) – most common.  Try to get hand on navel to move first.  Try to breathe in and out, only 6 times in a minute.  In 1,2,3,4,5 Out 5,4,3,2,1.  Do this standing/sitting/laying position.

Walking Meditation

There are many types of these, but here’s an easy one.  As you inhale, count how many steps forward you take.  As you exhale, do the same thing.  Now walk backwards at the same breathing/stepping pattern.  As you become more relaxed, you can take more steps with each breath!

Article by: Judi Hosfeld, Personal Trainer

Info obtained from The American Council on Exercise, webinar entitled “Mental and Physical Exercises for Long Term Stress Management”