I want to start off today’s 5-Minute Friday with this quote from Hans Selye: “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.”
Stress is something every one of us has to deal with. It’s natural to be stressed out from time to time — but it’s unhealthy to be stressed out ALL the time. As my friend Dr. Joe Dispenza says, “When you’re living by the hormones of stress, it’s not a time to create … it’s not a time to open your heart … it’s not a time to learn.”
He’s right: Unless you take action and relieve the stress in your life, you won’t be able to live to your greatest potential.
So today I’m going to share with you six simple practices I use to let go of stress and move into a state of calm and control — and you can use these six practices too.
#1: Write down your thoughts.
When you keep all your anxiety trapped in your mind and heart, it gets stressful fast. You can let your thoughts and worries out by taking a pen and a notebook and putting those thoughts on paper. The act of journaling and sharing your ideas with yourself is also a calming exercise on its own, that grounds you in the present moment.
We don’t pay attention to our breath all day. So when our breath gets fast and jittery and out of control, we get out of control too — and we grow even more stressed. Just as your breath can get you into stress, it’s also a powerful tool to take you out of it. Try breathing from your belly. Try lengthening your exhale and paying attention to the rhythm of your breath. Try the “extended sigh” that Dr. Andrew Huberman recommends.
#3: Talk with your friends.
It’s just like writing your thoughts on paper — you want to always be letting your ideas out of your mind, and your feelings out of your heart, so they don’t bundle up into stress. So call up a friend and talk about what’s going on in your life. Share what you’re struggling with, or what’s stressing you out.
As we all know, one of the best ways to get out of your head and stop overthinking is to just talk to someone else about what’s on your mind.And the sense of community and connection on its own will bring you less stress and more happiness.
#4: Keep away from sugar.
I love to eat candy. I love to have cakes. But when I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I know that sugar will only make things WORSE. Eating sugary foods spikes your blood sugar, which is a recipe for anxiety. When you’re feeling stressed you may be tempted to eat something sugary as a form of comfort — but resist the temptation.
#5: Go outside and PLAY.
We have forgotten the art of play! Being on your phone and your computer all day stresses you out and pushes you towards feeling depressed. So if you catch yourself feeling too stressed out, get away from the screens and go outside and play. Throw a frisbee. Shoot some hoops. Go sledding. Maybe try an activity you’ve never done before!
Trust me — when you take a break from doing whatever you’re doing to PLAY, you’ll feel so much happier and less stressed out than before. Try to spend five minutes today playing — you’ll see the results right away.
#6: Get some sleep.
Many of us are not getting proper sleep. We’re staying up late until 2 or 3 AM, feeling exhausted from today and anxious about tomorrow. We need at least eight hours of high-quality sleep, and it’s much better when we sleep on a consistent schedule every day. Proper sleep recovers and refreshes your mind, so the next day can be stress-free.
So if it’s late at night, and you aren’t feeling great… just go to sleep. You may be tempted to have another snack, watch another video, or read another article online. Trust me, I’ve been there. But understand that you must get to sleep as early as you can, so you can start fresh tomorrow.
And those are the six things you can do to release stress! My hope for you is that you use these six practices as a toolbox you can pick and choose from whenever you’re feeling stressed, so you can go back to your best self. Let me tell you — relieving stress is one of the best ways you can keep your mind and body in great shape. Once you break free from the cycle of stress and fatigue, you’ll never want to go back!
Join me on Episode 1,062 to learn more about the six ways you can relieve stress TODAY!