Stress is a word that is linked to several health challenges: heart disease, anxiety, high blood pressure, headache, back pain, inability to focus, and more.

What causes stress? Some things that have been identified are work, finances, traffic, family, and health, to name just a few. When you step back and review the list, you’ll see that it is nothing more than daily living. This doesn’t seem right — just being alive is stressful? Doesn’t it make you want to take a breath and ask, is that true? It doesn’t have to be.

The strange thing about stress is that we are wired to have some. Some stress is required to keep us safe. You may have heard about the “fight or flight” response, the automatic reaction our bodies have when there is a perceived threat to survival. When this reaction is triggered a variety of hormones are released or impacted including norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisol, dopamine and serotonin.

In order to better understand how we can manage day-to-day stress, understanding our triggers and reaction to them can play a key role. While this may sound easy, it requires careful self-observation, the ability to recognize: I feel stress, STOP, observe what just happened, STOP, understand why what happened caused your stress. What was the threat?

When you do experience stress, consider trying the many proven practices to help you relieve it. Here are just a few suggestions to consider:

  • Walk, preferably in nature
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Massage
  • Breath work
  • TaiChi
  • Qigong
  • Acupuncture
  • Work out – whatever your favorite is!
    • Caution: If your workout requires you to “win” and you feel stressed if you don’t, consider choosing something else

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