Last Monday, Alex, over at The Run Within posted this on her blog.
My immediate response was “Yes! that is exactly how I feel.” And that was Monday. I’d only been back from vacation for one day.
So, on that note, my three things this week are all about dealing with stress.
1. Breathe Deeply
Whenever I notice that I am particularly tense, I slow down and take several deep breaths. Focusing on breathing forces me back into the present (usually at these tense moments, I’m stressing about some imagined future catastrophe, or dreaded task I’ve been avoiding.) Breathing deeply and focusing on my breath eases the tension immediately.
Judi Bar explains how this works in this article by Gretchen Cuda about the power of breath; “rapid breathing is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. It’s part of the “fight or flight” response — the part activated by stress. In contrast, slow, deep breathing actually stimulates the opposing parasympathetic reaction–the one that calms us down.”
Take ten deep breaths. Make sure they originate from your belly. Do it with me right now.
2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
A man on a park bench taught me a lesson.
After work on Wednesday, I walked over to the downtown mall to watch the Michie Tavern Downtown Mile and check out the Healthy Living Expo. By the time I got there, I had sweat marks all the way down the front of my shirt where my purse strap pushed the fabric against my skin.
I was hot and tired and frustrated. I was embarrassed by my excessive sweating and had been feeling sorry for myself all day. I searched for a seat and plopped down right next to an older gentleman. After a minute, he asked me how my day was going. I snorted and replied “not great, actually”. It took a minute for my words to register, but when they did, I suddenly felt pretty ridiculous. I quickly added, “I really can’t complain.”
Because, seriously, what were my complaints? I was hot and sweaty and feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated for no REAL reason.
I’m healthy. Everyone I love is healthy. My house didn’t burn down. I didn’t lose my job. In the grand scheme of things, I have absolutely no reason to complain.
So, count your blessings and don’t sweat the small stuff and I’ll try to do the same.
3. Get Moving
Exercise reduces stress.
You can read the science behind this fact here.
I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t run, you’d soon find me curled in a ball on the sidewalk drooling and talking to myself.
So, take a bicycle ride or Zumba class.
Or, you could always just do what I do and go for a run!