Modern life is often fraught with stress, and almost everyone is ironically too busy to deal with it. It can be easy to excuse it away and say that we work best under stress, that stress is a great motivator. This is partly true; the good type of stress, known as “eustress” helps us seize the moment, and invigorates us to achieve a tangible goal.
On the flip side, there is also bad stress, called “distress”, that can be harmful in the long run. When we face either type of stress in our daily lives, our bodies respond by secreting a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is useful to help us react to temporary stress, like the stress caused by deadlines. But scientists say that too much cortisol can cause weight gain, negative emotions, joint discomfort, and more.
Unfortunately anxious feelings and stressful situations are not going to simply disappear. This is where dealing with our stress becomes a priority. Managing a lot of daily stress comes down to some simple and quick solutions listed below. While this list is not comprehensive, it is a start in helping you identify ways to help yourself. We recommend that you pick the easiest solutions for you, and then practice them on a daily basis or whenever you feel the need.
In any situation, take two minutes to breathe. We’re not just talking about trying to breathe deeply in and out here, though that is the start of it. Improve on this idea by using the 4–7–8 breathing exercise. Breathing only through your nose, count to four as you deeply inhale, then count to seven as you hold your breath, and count to eight as you exhale. Repeat the cycle three more times. This should take around two minutes to complete. This will help you focus on your body and help you breathe more deeply on a regular basis without even needing to think about it.
Drink herbal tea. If you’ve never tried herbal tea, now might be a good time to give it a try for some stress relief. Teas like lemon balm, peppermint, chamomile, or passion flower are helpful. You can incorporate essential oils into your tea as well—infuse a drop of essential oils like Roman Chamomile, Lavender, or Melissa into herbal teas like chamomile to soothe the body and mind.* Just the act of drinking warm tea can also be soothing and relaxing and just the boost you need for the day.
Get outside in the fresh air. Although this is easier to do when the weather is nice, even when the weather is not ideal, it is a good idea to at least get a few minutes of fresh air each day and get your body moving. Reconnecting to the outside world and nature can help you refocus and feel better. If you can’t go outside in this moment, reach for Vetiver. Its calming and grounding effect on emotions is great to diffuse, or to put directly in your palms, cup your hands around your nose, and inhale.
Exercise for at least for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Exercise is known to bump up the level of endorphin production, improves your mood, and helps you move past the day’s irritations. Learn more about exercise and stress resilience here.
Set out 10 minutes in the morning for meditation. In yoga specifically, meditating is about being grounded physically and mentally, and coming to an expanded state of awareness. You can start meditating by choosing a consistent time and place, and then picking something to focus on for that session. (Examples of different focuses include a helpful intention or affirmation like “I am relaxed”, counting your breath as in point number one, or visualizing your favorite spot in nature and trying to keep your focus on that only.) Don’t be discouraged if your mind starts to wander, just refocus back on your purpose. You can also increase the effects of mediation by diffusing calming oils like Frankincense while you practice. There are many other ways to meditate, try different kinds before you determine how to incorporate it into your daily life.
Give yourself a hand massage. According to a 2008 study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a five-minute hand massage can lower stress levels. If you can’t find anyone to give you one, you can massage your own hands. To reduce the effects of daily stress, put a drop of Ylang Ylang or AromaTouch® and some Fractionated Coconut Oil into your palms and massage your hand slowly using the AromaTouch Hand Technique.
Apply PastTense® or doTERRA Peace®. Because PastTense comes in a roll-on bottle, this grounding and soothing blend is convenient and easy to use. (doTERRA Peace also comes in a roll-on version that is equally as easy.) You can apply either blend to your temples, wrists, or the back of your neck in times when you need to quickly ease stressful or anxious feelings on the go.
Ensure that you get enough sleep. Dr. David K. Hill, doTERRA Chief Medical Advisor, insists that, “Sufficient amounts of rest provide bodies with an opportunity to recover from the day’s activity, improve energy levels, and reduce the effects of stress.” If you currently struggle with falling asleep, diffuse doTERRA Serenity® about 30 minutes before you go to bed, or take doTERRA Serenity® Softgels.
Generate a support system. This may be our most important tip, because even though it can be hard to reach out to others when you feel overwhelmed, sometimes it is necessary to depend on other people for help. Don’t try to keep going alone. Even if the stress is over something that you feel you have to do alone, at least having someone there to listen or give you a hug (which is proven to help with stress on its own) can help more than you realize.