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Physical and emotional symptoms which can affect the people around you as well. It is so important to be aware of your stress levels, what triggers or exacerbates your stress and techniques to manage your stress.
I live with 4 kids and 1 husband and work in different areas including massage, yoga, meditation, CBT, couples therapy to name but a few.
Life events such as the loss of a loved one, a move or illness which I have also experienced can trigger high levels of stress. I get stressed like every other human by the small and large triggers.
The empowered tactic to employ is to identify what causes your own stress and moderate how you respond to a situation or trigger, using and accepting support when required.
My favourite techniques involve any activity or treatment that quietens the nervous system like massage, breathwork and mindfulness, yoga, being in nature, taking a long bath, making sure I get enough sleep and journaling.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a common part of modern daily life. Work demands, financial worries and balancing family responsibilities can feel overwhelming at times.
Stress does serve a purpose to motivate and drive you in certain situations. The stress response is an evolutionary response in the body where hormones respond to a stimulus perceived as a danger but in our modern-day life, we can find ourself staying there unnecessarily which can lead to health problems.
Stress isn’t always bad. Stress can be useful and productive but it is important to avoid living in a constant state of perpetual stress.
Symptoms of stress manifest in physical, mental and emotional pain, for example, chronic pain, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), muscle ache, anxiety, depression, insomnia and many more.
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What Causes Stress?
When your mind or body senses a threat from a person or situation (this might have been a bear for our caveman ancestors or a loud noise from traffic or the sudden movement of a stranger behind us in our modern-day environment) a chemical and hormonal response occurs. Hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released. This is helpful as a warning, but damaging if maintained for a prolonged period of time.
13 BEST PRODUCTS TO OVERCOME STRESS
In between treatments you can use this acupressure mat. It is based on the Indian bed of nails concept. It is a fantastic tool for self-care and can be used to release tension and manage pain in the feet, back, shoulder and neck. The spiky points against the skin create pressure and the benefits include improved circulation, relaxation and general wellness.
I use this often on day 1 and 2 of my period to manage tension, stress and physical discomfort. I even offered it to my friend to use while I’m pregnant. She and I both agree that it is fantastic for relaxation. It’s a good size too so easily portable.
A spiky massage ball is perfect for stress relief. You can use it on your foot or anywhere on your back against a wall. Trigger point activation, as well as reflexology points, help combat stress and tension. This is a product that you can take anywhere, store in your car or keep on your desk at work.
There are many different brands and I think it’s really important to get a strong, hard, firm spiky massage that will last and not one that just collapses or gets squashed after a couple of uses.
This head massager (scalp massager) has its origins from the Aborigines in Australia, they used long twigs and branches for head massage. The benefits of regular head massage are increased circulation, deep relaxation and reduced stress.
It is a head massager but can also be used gently on other areas like the knee and elbow joints. I find a head massage transports me into a deep relaxation state in under a minute!
My friend told me she had the same massage table as me which she uses to give and receive massage from her husband in between their appointments with me. I was so impressed as massage is such a great way to bond with your partner and improve your relationship.
Massage and touch release oxytocin which generates feelings of love, trust, safety and bonding. I massage my kids regularly too though not on my massage table! My husband and I massage each other and he books an appointment so we use this table.
This massage table is height adjustable which is important to maintain good posture and prevent back pain while massaging clients or husbands! It has an armrest, headrest and extra arm support to widen the massage table, all of which are removable. The best part is this is a portable massage table so it can fold down and be placed in its travel bag in under a minute.
There are other massage tables that offer extra padding and are adjustable with a click of a button as well as sturdier models some of which can’t be folded.
This chair is fantastic if you don’t want to lie down for a massage. Pregnant women can still enjoy and benefit greatly from massage in this position. It’s cushioned and ergonomic.
This chair is very affordable and even I can fold it down and into its travel bag quickly! I bought the while one to match my treatment room, but the black one might be easier to keep clean.
There are also more luxurious models with more padding.
Using a foam roller as part of a stretch program can increase blood flow and mobility as well as a preventative decreasing the risk of injury. I have a pink one with raised areas and dents which provide the benefits of acupressure at the same time!
The combination of stretching, controlled conscious breathing, meditation, mental imagery, physical movement and sounds makes yoga a fantastic technique to manage stress. A yoga mat is all you need to start and I believe this Gaiam mat is the best investment.
The Gaiam mat is thick and provides great grip as well as cushioning. I love the patterns and colour options too and I love them so much I have 2.
Meditation and mindfulness is a super-effective technique to manage stress. Breathwork especially can reduce the stress response in the body, decrease pain and maintain a calm, relaxed but alert state. Studies show subjects meditating while hooked up to ECG machines have altered brain waves similar to the brain waves during sleep.
Meditation especially breathwork is the most effective technique to reduce stress.
Sitting on a cushion is a gamechanger with hips raised higher than your knees this encourages and assists you in sitting still for a longer period of time. This is the cushion I use daily and in my classes. It’s solid, firm and comfortable which is important for support.
Of course, you don’t have to sit cross-legged to meditate but if you want to but find you can’t sit for long, this is a proven tip that can help!
If you can, leave your yoga mat and cushion out in a designated space. This will serve as a constant reminder and encourage you to maintain a daily practice!
One of my favourite things…swinging. Everybody loves a hammock. This can be used for aerial yoga or just sitting in to relax and meditate. The act of swinging or hanging like this is super relaxing. I imagine this is how babies feel in the womb and later on when in a sling.
I feel safe, relaxed and love to sit in this in-between clients. It is easy to take down and if you don’t have a yoga shala you can have it up in a door frame.
Hanging upside down! Blood rushes to your head and you instantly feel alive, excited, happy and the opposite to stressed! It’s great for training your deltoids too! These Olympic rings are super strong and like the yoga hammock can be easily removed. The rings area gorgeous wooden material which looks really elegant and stylish and feel amazing.
So much research shows that gratitude improves general wellness. By focusing on all the great things you have in your life you can naturally improve your mood and lower stress levels which often are caused by paying attention to what is wrong.
An attitude of gratitude, when practised daily, can change your mental pathways. Writing it down or at least making a list to start is such an effective method to develop this habit.
I practice this mindfulness exercise with my kids before they go to bed when I remember and they cooperate!
Who do you appreciate? What was the best thing that happened today? I use mine as a reminder to write down what I appreciate.
The “Life loves you” cards by Louise Hay and Robert Holden are so beautiful. I have them in my treatment room and sometimes ask my clients if they want to pick on. In the field of positive psychology, positive affirmations and statements retrain the mind to replace negative thought patterns especially critical self-talk and victim or fear-based language with positive statements. Louise Hay’s books are so effective.
I take this one stage further and I wrote “I AM ENOUGH” on all the mirrors in my house. These are powerful techniques to improve mental and emotional wellness and therefore manage stress which can be caused by our own negative thoughts and behavioural patterns and darker emotions. If I can motivate and empower one of my children who looks in that mirror or a client with these loving and kind messages, that’s a wonderful feeling.
I’m slightly obsessed with these kinds of cards and have a whole collection which I will save for another post.
Have you ever noticed how relaxed a child can become during and after a good colouring session?
Creativity is nourishing for the mind, body and soul. It is a powerful mindfulness practise and used a lot in therapy. I try to join in when my daughter sits down to colour and we both love mandalas.
In yoga philosophy and many Eastern traditions, the mandala is used to focus the mind and is a symbol of the universe, completion, unity and harmony. This is how I feel when I’m colouring these mandalas. Relaxed, peaceful and in the flow state.
The Last Thing You Need To Know About Stress
Stress is a normal reaction to living in our modern-day fast-paced world. It is important to manage stress for our own health and wellness, but also because our stress can affect the people around us.
I find a few deep breaths and a smile work wonders as a quick stress reliever! I will write another post with helpful tips and products to improve sleep, which is also an important part of stress management.
I hope you find some relief and support in stress management by exploring some of these products and I really hope this post has helped you in some way!
What do you use to help you manage stress?
If any of these ideas inspired you please share on Facebook or Instagram and help someone who might suffer from stress.
FREE CBT & Mindfulness mini-video series. Join the Stellar Wellness community!