As humans, we are a walking paradox. Not only are we physical beings occupying a material space, but we also hold a rich emotional life and a spiritual connection to all life around us. And it’s been proven that each of these facets of our human experience is linked. In fact, each affects the other, and they all work cooperatively to ensure that we are functioning at our highest level. It is critical to become acquainted with each of these aspects of our human experience and nurture each of them, separately and as valued members of the whole.
However, stress, and the enduring tension prolonged stress can create, plays a major role in reducing the function of all the body’s systems. When experiencing stress, the body’s sympathetic nervous system responds by elevating blood pressure and cortisol levels- the well known “fight or flight” response. Ideally, the parasympathetic nervous system would then respond by lowering these levels when the “danger” has passed. Unfortunately, many of us are living in a constant state of stress and the parasympathetic nervous system is unable to recalibrate the body system - leaving us with unresolved tension hiding in the physical, emotional, and spiritual planes.
Luckily, there are many safe, effective, and natural remedies available today that add a valuable supportive component to our stress-relief practices - including essential oils, herbal supplements, CBD products (which are available in many forms: hemp-infused creams and lotions, CBD pills, and hemp flower pre-rolls), and bodywork therapy. And luckily, all of these valuable resources are becoming more readily available. As always, it’s important to research any new supplement, product, or technique to ensure that it fits into your personal health and wellness plan.
Like most life changes, it takes time, intention, and effort to incorporate new habits - and that can feel overwhelming for many people. It’s natural to feel the freedom and opportunity of long term life changes as a serious commitment - and they are! But even a small step forward can make a huge difference, and you can start today. Here are 3 ways to combat stress and promote wellness in your life, starting today at home!
Meditation is a time-tested practice that allows the individual to connect more deeply with their body, their breath, and experience distance from the buzzing of the mind. Setting aside just 10-20 minutes per day, sitting in a tranquil space, and connect with the self, can reduce stress levels, promote healthy digestion, and deepen your sleep cycles.
Individuals from all walks of life have utilized meditation and mindfulness techniques to connect with themselves, their communities, and enhance their well-being. Time spent focusing on the breath allows you to see what’s really important - and let go of what’s not. The daily grind of our fast-paced world can make it difficult to tell the difference, and that enmeshment can create an internal environment that’s ripe for “dis-ease” of many types.
Recently, as more and more people have become aware of the benefits of meditation, many resources have become available online to assist you in beginning or cultivating a meditation practice. No matter the amount of time you have - 5 minutes, one hour, or more - there is a meditation app, course or guide for you.
The practice of yoga is a gentle, nourishing way to promote healthy movement of the body’s tissues and eliminate toxins from the body. For centuries, yoga practitioners have passed down the wisdom of the body through postures, breathing techniques, and chanting - all of which are accessible to all bodies, no matter the level of intensity of the class you select.
To better understand what your body and mind need, close, your eyes, take a deep breath and tune in. Ask your body, what do you most need right now? Is it the challenge of learning new postures? The deep release of stress through long, focused stretching? Or a restorative yoga class, spending the greatest amount of time on stillness and letting go?
Whether you respond best to a group environment or on your own, yoga classes are easy to access either online or in a local studio. And many types of practice are available, from focused practices on strength building to restorative yoga, and mindfulness flow practices that are oriented to the breath.
And now, one of the simplest choices to make that immediately reduces tension in your body, mind, and spirit - get outside! Connecting with nature is a powerful way to connect with the heart center, release the burdens of daily life, and rediscover your true purpose.
Whether you are taking time in the afternoon for a walk in your neighborhood or planning an overnight weekend hike through the mountains, the benefits of spending time outdoors are many and varied. And don’t let the feeling of being overwhelmed with technical details or state-of-the-art gear stop you from taking a step towards deeper mental and physical health. There are many ways to experience nature in a safe and educational way - many state and national parks partner with local guide collaboratives to ensure you have the most enjoyable, outside that you possibly can, even if you don’t own expensive gear or know how to read a map (yet!)
Many cultures around the world practice techniques such as “forest bathing” and other gentle, nurturing traditions that reconnect us with the natural world. At the end of the day, we are all part of this rich ecosystem, and the more time we spend cultivating that knowledge - and the compassion that effortlessly grows from that connection - the richer our sense of well-being will become.
So, what steps will you take today to reduce tension in your mind, body, and spirit, and reconnect with the peace and radiance within? Even if it’s just a small one - like starting the day with a healthy breakfast, taking ten minutes to connect with your breath with a mediation app, or walking through the park on your lunch break, you will feel the positive effects.
But the most important reminder is that approaching your body, your mind, and your spirit with a sense of grace, respect, and love with yielding the healthiest results. You will begin to feel the dramatic yet subtle difference of a body that is being led away from tension, worry, and fatigue. Instead, you will experience the deep sensation of your body being nurtured into its own true wellness.