How to deal with stress
Your alarm clock didn’t go off and now you’re late for your 9am online meeting – everyone experiences short-term stress to some degree. But what happens when our stress response won’t stop firing?
According to health experts, most people are overstressed and undernourished, which leads to chronic wear and tear on our system, a reduced ability to adapt in positive ways, and more episodes of mental health imbalances such as anxiety, depression and burnout. Simply put, stress is our body’s response to a greater demand of our energy than what we can deliver in a given moment. Although not all stress is bad for our body, carrying around heavy emotions, trauma, guilt and resentment impacts our bodies and can have long-term consequences on overall wellbeing.
It’s vital to let go of stress in order to live a healthy life. That said, the million-dollar question is this: if it’s stuck, how do we release it? Luckily, there are numerous ways to deal with bodily stress.
Take up regular physical activity
Exercise is the most common way to relieve stress and relax. It reduces stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol and stimulates endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood elevators. Yoga is particularly good in this regard. The combination of physical poses, controlled breathing and meditation could help lower blood pressure and heart rate, which fosters an environment that helps to release stress. Sign up for a fitness class from the sessions available across the city or virtually on Fitbit Premium using the 90-day free trial during the Dubai Fitness Challenge and get started with yoga or any other exercise of your choice. Incorporate it into your daily routine and over time, it’ll help you live healthier and overcome stress.
Develop cognitive-behavioural skills
Calm your body and nervous system through techniques that soothe the senses and enhance a rhythmic breathing pattern. Studies have shown that breathing at a pace of about six breaths per minute, or five counts in and five to six counts out, can activate the parasympathetic reaction system responsible for our relaxation response.
Find a few sensory cues
Essential oils, warm water, massages, listening to calming sounds of the ocean, weighted blankets and gentle physical activity can also help calm the base of the brain and nervous system. Try a few and adopt the sensory cues that work best for you.
Make good sleep a priority
Stress and bad sleep can be a vicious cycle that takes a physical toll on you, as your body needs time to recover from straining events. Experts suggest adults get at least seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night. You could use a wearable device like Fitbit to track your sleep score and practice tips to improve your sleep quality.
Consciously spend time in positive thinking and ask yourself helpful questions to engage the curiosity centres of the brain. Healthy levels of curiosity reduce the pressure of needing to fix something and can allow you to see life as an experiment to be learned from. Here are two helping questions to ponder over daily – ‘What am I grateful for today?’ and ‘How might I be able to serve someone else in a simple way right now?’.
Choose and use a technological aid
Wearables and fitness apps can go well beyond allowing you to track your activity and sleep. Membership services like Fitbit Premium guide you to help you move more, manage stress, sleep better and eat well. It offers over 100 meditation sessions from popular brands like Aaptiv, Aura, Breethe and Ten Percent Happier.
Source: Adapted from an original article by Kelsey Maloney, an Associate Editor at Fitbit
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