Did you know that stress is one of the top five causes of death in the United States? According to the American Institute of Stress, 75-90% of all doctor’s visits can be attributed to stress. And anger, which happens when we aren’t handling our circumstance well, gives us a 230% greater risk of experiencing a cardiac event. Isn’t that mind blowing?
Stress is a killer for sure! Because it is so deadly, it’s important to find ways to deal with stress naturally.
What is stress?
If you feel stressed out on a regular basis, you might be surprised to realize that stress isn’t what happens to us in our lives. Stress is actually the way we deal with what happens to us in our lives. It is our reaction to our circumstances.
When we feel stressed, we are actually having a physical reaction to what is happening to us. Our hearts start to pound. Our breathing rate increases. Our blood pressure goes up. And our blood sugar rises. We secrete certain stress hormones like adrenaline, aldosterone, and cortisol to prepare our bodies for fight or flight.
When we are faced with an dire situation, it’s important that we have the ability to protect ourselves. If you’re in a car accident and you need to get your child out of the car, you need the stress hormones pumping to prepare your body to handle things appropriately. The problem comes when we begin to perceive non-emergency situations the same way that we do disasters.
This is another issue I struggle with. Someone sends me an angry email and I take it totally to heart. I find myself getting extremely upset to the point of tears. My heart pounds, I often get headaches, and I feel awful. When this happens, I’m obviously not handling my stress well.
Ways to Deal with Stress Naturally
Fortunately, there are lots of natural ways to deal with stress. You’re probably aware that the following techniques will help you to handle stress more effectively:
- Limiting your caffeine and alcohol
- Regular exercise
- Bath with Lavender Essential Oil and Epsom Salts
- Cup of Chamomile Tea
- Give yourself a foot rub
I just learned about another super effective and natural way to deal with stress naturally, however, and this way won’t cost you anything! This method is called Heart Breathing.
I’ve been taking a class called The Science of Natural Healing by Dr. Mimi Guarneri. In this class, Dr. Guarneri details a natural way to deal with stress that will be super helpful the next time I’m not handling my circumstances well. It’s called heart breathing.
Basically, heart breathing is using the power of your breath to control the release of stress hormones in your body. This technique is free and it’s simple:
- Breathe in for 5 seconds and then out for 5 seconds
- Concentrate on your heart while breathing this way. Try to imagine that you’re breathing through your heart.
- If you struggle to do step two, put your right hand on your heart and your left hand on top of your right and then try it. You can even try closing your eyes if you’re still having difficulty.
- While maintaining your heart breathing, try to envision something or someone which causes you to feel joy, victory, courage, or love. My honeymoon on Kauai is the happy place I normally go to. But you can think of a grandchild, a pet, or anything else which gives you a strong positive feeling.
- Try to actually experience that joy rather than just thinking about it.
- Continue breathing in this manner and hold onto this feeling for at least 20 seconds.
That’s it! Try to continue radiating this positive feeling to yourself and others throughout the day. This technique will help you to feel relaxed and it will keep your body from secreting your stress hormones.
Isn’t that an awesome technique?!? And who doesn’t want to feel calmer and less stressed? Try this the next time you aren’t handling your circumstances well and transform not only your own attitude but also the attitudes of others around you. It really works!
I’m looking forward to using heart breathing more often myself. It has already shown itself to be useful when I remember to put it into practice. I’ve also tried using it before going to sleep at night if I’m having difficulty falling asleep and it has been helpful there as well. I’m going to have to post a sign above my computer reminding me to breathe!
How about you? Do you have any other ways to deal with stress naturally that you can share? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.