How Stress Impacts Your Health + Our Top 3 Strategies to Help You Beat Stress

It's easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of life, the resulting stress and heaviness from what can feel like mountains of priorities and stacks of responsibilities and just simply not enough time in the day.

It seems like everyone we know is busy, busy, busy, all of the time. Stress is a normal part of life. Am I right? I bet most everyone can relate...

Stress is a natural part of life, we humans were built that way. It's even true that a little stress can be good for you 'cuz it t gets blood flowing to your brain and can help you focus. But chronic stress can be detrimental to your body, whether it's from heightened situations at work, watching the news, relationship drama, financial woes, or being stuck in a bad traffic jam.

Your energy introduces you before you do. This is why it's important to factor in a little "me time" into each and every day for you to center, unwind, recharge, and de-stress. 

When you're feeling the most stressed, put yourself at the top of your to-do list.

A few sacred moments of nurturing self care can really help you de-stress and make a big difference in your overall health and well-being. We've compiled our top strategies to beat stress plus a few other tips and tricks like using aromatherapy products and listening to sound healing music that can seriously help you overcome overwhelm and counteract your body's stress responses, and we're excited to share, so keep reading!

Be kind to yourself, then let the kindness fill the world.

Stress exacerbates pretty much every health problem you may have. But there are some lovely acts of self care that can help alleviate this unfortunate byproduct of the modern lifestyle. Mindset is everything, and there are many things that you can do to can help ease your worried or stressed mind.

You have the power to shift your energy and we're going to give you our essential tools to help, but first we need to understand how stress can negatively affect your overall health and well-being. If this list doesn't motivate you to reduce your stresses, I'm not sure what will...

How stress negatively impacts your health

  • Stress can cause breakouts and make skin issues worse by aggravating psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. It can also cause hives, rashes and trigger a flare-up of fever blisters.
  • Stress encourages over-eating.
  • Stresss can cause your hair to fall out.
  • Stress increases addictive behaviors and aggravates depression.
  • Stress reduces your energy levels.
  • Stress is very disruptive to your sleep.
  • Stress impacts your hormone levels causing fluctuations that can definitely mess with your menstrual cycle and your moods.
  • Stress increases infertility in women.
  • Stress weakens the immune system.
  • Stress increases the acid levels in your stomach, causing heartburn and/or ulcers.
  • Stress triggers IBS symptoms.
  • Stress lowers your sex drive.
  • and so much more...

A normal mind thinks about 70000 thoughts per day, but an anxious and stressed out mind adds in at least one extra negative thought per second!

Worry pretends to be necessary, but it serves no useful purpose.

~ Eckhart Tolle

While we can't control stressful situations around us, there are some enjoyable ways to buffer our reactions so that the stressful stuff doesn't over-whelm. Read on for some useful tools that can help you control your stress responses and reduce the impact that stress has on your health.

Learn how meditation can help you beat stress

1.  Cultivate a Daily Meditation Practice

Start your day with mindful meditation and you can set the energetic tone for everything that comes your way afterwards, throughout the day. Meditation gives you a peaceful, present, and calming foundation that you will carry with your all day long.

One of the most beautiful tools that meditation gives you is this: Meditation helps you to cycle through all of the thoughts out of your head, acknowledging them, and then consciously allowing them to move on. This literally gives you head space.

Breathe in

Hello moment

Breathe out

I am here.

Some of the key benefits of meditating daily are better sleep, more evenly balanced emotions, increased focus, improved concentration, greater clarity of mind, and lower stress levels.

Take a long, slow deep breath + slowly exhale releasing anything that does not serve you. Repeat as needed until you feel some relief.

Practicing mindfulness can help focus your thoughts and actions on being fully present in the moment and curb panic by not allowing your mind to race. Being mindful can have positive mental and physical benefits, helping to reduce worry and stress, encourage better sleep and improve well-being.

How exercise can help you beat stress

2.  Get Moving!

Adding some exercise into your daily routine can have long lasting health benefits. Find a way to spend at least half an hour in motion. You can even split that up into 2-3 sessions if you're short on time, out of shape, recovering or suffering from chronic illness. Just go at your own pace! A gentle walk or a full on Zumba class, yoga or a few stretches on the floor, whatever your speed, just get moving. Exercise can be an effective way of releasing pent up energy that can keep you anxious or tense.

Why be moody when you can shake 'yo booty?!

Studies have shown that all types of exercise help to promote stress relief and reduce anxiety. Add some joyful movement to you day. Put on your favorite song and sing and dance while you're cooking dinner or cleaning the house. Practice yoga, go to the gym, walk your dog, run, hike, bike -- just get moving.

Learn how to use journaling to beat stress, a blog post by SpaGoddess Apothecary

3.  Journal It Out

Identify your stress points and write about them in a journal. You can type your feelings into a computer page, but physically writing them out in ink on paper in a bound journal has a literal physicality to it which can offer you a more profound feeling of relief that you just don't get from a computer. Plus most of us associate a computer with work.

Journaling can be a lovely way to release anxiety and process feelings. The ritual of putting pen to paper transfers all that mental energy out of your mind and body, and onto the paper so that you can let it go.

I think you're doing a beautiful job figuring out some heavy shit.

Make a bullet list things you need/want to do, make sure to put a few easy to accomplish items in there. My lists are usually a combo of longer term goals broken down in to the smaller tasks, and a few things that I can accomplish in 5-20 minutes. It really helps me to write it out so I have a plan, and it's very rewarding to cross things off the list as they get done.

Looking back at lists you made last week or last month is also quite satisfying, giving you a deeper sense of accomplishment, as you can see evidence all of the progress you've made and everything you've accomplished towards your goals.

Trust the next chapter because you are the author.

Another good stress-relieving writing exercise is the brain dump. Have you heard of it? A brain dump basically just free-writing everything that's on your mind to help lighten your load. It doesn't have to be pretty, or even in complete sentences - ha! And this exercise might be easier on the computer because you can type faster than you can write. If it's stressin' you out, then dump it out onto the paper or into the computer. Close the book or shut the laptop and leave in on the table. Walk away from it and all the things you wrote that were stressing you out. I bet you walk away feeling much lighter, and less stressed. 

Today I will not stress over things I can't control.

More Ideas to Help you Relieve Stress

Try some aromatherapy products formulated for stress-relief like our Lavender Love or Blue Calm essential oil blends to help you relax in mind, body, and spirit. These blends come in portable roll-ons that you can carry with you and apply as needed when you're feeling stressed out.

Aromatherapy can reduce the perception of stress, increase contentment, and decrease levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”

Carry a calming aromatherapy mist with you or keep one by your desk at work. When you feel a surge of anxiety or something stressful happens, give yourself a light misting, and enjoy the calming scent wash over you and feel the relief.

Not only do these essential oil blends smell good, they're made with plants whose phyto-chemicals work in synergy with your body to counteract your body's stress response and bring you back into balance.

Your stress management toolbox is not complete without these four strategies of coping. Be mindful of the 4 A's of stress:

  1. Plan ahead and avoid stressful situations by doing what you can to prevent or lessen them. Avoid people who bother you, leave early to miss traffic, and learn to say NO to protect your energy.
  2. Alter or change what you can by managing your time better, asking others to modify their behavior, communicating in I statements, and knowing your limits.
  3. Some things are simply out of your control. Accept that when necessary. Create a mantra such as "I can handle this," and mentally repeat it in tough situations. Forgiveness frees you from anger and negativity.
  4. Look at the big picture or reframe the issue - sometimes a shift in perspective really helps. Adapt by changing your standards or expectations.

And as the great Joseph Campbell said in his book, The Power of Myth, "Follow your bliss!" There is simply no stress in bliss.

References: Prevention Magazine, NCBI, Mayo Clinic, WebMD.