Finding Ways to Beat Stress– Local Health & Wellness Experts Weigh In
By Aarohi Narain
Minnesota is the least-stressed state in the country — or so a 2017 report claimed.
But life in the “no-stress zone” isn’t easy for everyone. We could all use a little extra relaxation. So we caught up with local health-and-wellness experts to get their top tips to manage and master stress. Here are their suggestions:
Beating stress starts with identifying the root cause. Paring down what you’re doing. Practicing mindful planning. When stress arises, breathing is imperative. Deep breathing to calm yourself down. Moving throughout your day. Regularly practicing T’ai chi, qigong, or yoga, and meditation.
—Marnie, RiverStones Wellness
Breathing. Taking your breathing off autopilot, and focusing on coming into your breath. Eating clean. Accepting the human condition.
—Dayne Thomas, Tai Chi instructor (Institute of Taoist Arts)
Eight pieces of advice
1. Take a pause to connect with breath.
2. Find a style of meditation that resonates with you. Even three minutes is enough to make a lasting impact. Pick a meditation and try it for 40 days!
3. Taking a hot bath, pausing for a cup of tea, a nourishing meal, curling up with a good book or even reaching out to a friend to connect with community. Give space for your body, mind and spirit to rest and recharge.
4. Keep a journal to write down one thing daily that you are proud you accomplished, short and simple. When you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s nice to take a look back and see all you have done.
5. Taking a few minutes every day to move your body, connect with breath, and meditate is essential to keeping the mind clear and body happy and healthy. If you don’t use it, you lose it!
6. Helping others, whether that means taking time to volunteer, smile and someone, open a door, little and big acts of selfless service are incredibly powerful in reminding us that we are not alone, and your efforts make a difference.
7. The healing effects of sound, such as the gong and singing bowls, as well as chanting mantra, activates the endocrine, glandular and nervous systems and helps to bring deep healing on a cellular level.
8. Allowing time for the body to fully unwind and recalibrate is truly a selfless act that allows you to show up for all those in your life at your best!
—Elle Anna, Kundalini Yoga instructor (RiverGarden Yoga Center)
If a person is stressed, the body’s organs can be harmed. If one’s organs are functioning sub-optimally, then one can easily be prone to stress. This is why addressing stress matters. Foods that are sugary, cold or greasy can harm the organ that makes you prone to anxiety and stress. Reducing sugar intake, drinking warm rather than cold drinks and avoiding unhealthy fatty foods can help reduce your stress. Making time for self-care, fun, breathing, exercise, hobbies, and relationships can not only minimize your stress levels, but also strengthen your organs, physical well-being and digestion as added benefits.
Stress reduction is as important as good nutrition. Setting small weekly goals for improvement in either or both of these areas and not judging yourself can result in added years.
—Cadance Paulaha, Acupuncture with Cadance
Take several slow deep breaths. If you are at work, or somewhere you cannot close your eyes, simply lower your eyes and take a deep breath, then another and another. It can help to think of someone you love (like a friend or family member, or a pet), or think of a special place, or a happy memory. This can quite literally relax and soften your heart and calm your body/mind. When you slow your breathing down, everything slows down.
Join a yoga class, or mindfulness meditation course. These practices help you to see yourself and your life from a calmer place and allow you to be in the company of others who are also learning to slow down and practice stillness.
Spend time in the beauty of nature away from the fast pace of everyday life. Breathe it in. Deeply.
Spend time with people who uplift you and appreciate you, people who value your ideas and see the good in you and everything you have to offer the world.
—Sheila Burns, founder and owner of Bliss Yoga Studios