Guest Blog by: Joy Hughes, a writer of health, nutrition and all things cannabis. Having experienced the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids first hand, she's been spreading the word ever since. She currently travels the country in an RV with her husband and beloved beagle. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s stress awareness month, and this is the 3rd of 3 articles to shed light on what stress is, where it comes from, and what you can do about it.
So, a clock had a nervous breakdown and went to a psychiatrist for help. As the doctor began to mend the troubled clock, he asked, “What seems to be the problem, clock?”
“Oh doc… It’s just too much! The ticking is too much! I have to do two ticks to the second, which is 120 ticks per minute, and 7,200 ticks per hour…”
“Whoa there, clock! Slow down a bit,” the psychiatrist interrupted, “Let me ask you, how many ticks do you actually have to do at a time?”
The clock quickly responded, “Oh, I just have to do one tick at a time, but…”
“Well then, I want you to take a deep breath… Now, go home and only focus on ticking one tick at a time… nothing more. Don’t think about how many ticks you need to do per second, minute, or hour. Just focus on each individual tick.”
Once the clock was back home, he did as the psychiatrist suggested. And before he knew it, he felt calmer. He only focused on each individual tick at a time, nothing more.
Today, that same clock is still ticking away… but a little more calmly. That’s because he finally learned how to cope with his stressors in the right way.
And now, we want to share with you a few techniques on how to manage your stress in the right way, too.
But first, it’s important to know…
Not all stress is bad stress
As we said in our last two articles, we all experience stress at certain points in our lives. But not all stress is considered bad stress. That’s because stress is a natural, normal part of life.
Believe it or not, stress makes us better. It helps us grow as humans, adapt to new situations, conquer challenges, and it helps teach our body how to recover and heal. But this can only be achieved when we learn how to manage and cope with the stressors we encounter.
You see, if we have too little stress in our lives, we can easily become bored, unfocused, purposeless, unproductive, and even lethargic.
But if we have too much stress, we can start to get overwhelmed. We become anxious, depressed, panicky, hopeless, and even on the brink of a breakdown, like our friend the clock.
However, when we encounter just the right amount of stress, we become energized, active, and engaged in learning and growing to achieve our life’s goals.
But here’s the issue with stress: Depending on how long, how intense, and how we respond and recover from stress will determine if it’s good or bad stress. But regardless of good and bad…
By not responding to stress adequately or properly, it can negatively affect us. And if we don’t allow enough recovery time in between the stressors we face, then more and more stress can accumulate, leaving us feeling run down, worn out, sick, and even helpless.
So how do we manage stress?
Stress management techniques
It’s impossible to avoid all stress. But by learning to manage it in healthy ways, you can help increase both your body’s response and recovery from stress in the long run.
Here are a few techniques you can use to cope with stress immediately…
One way you can help calm yourself down in a stressful situation is to just breathe. Slowly breathe in through your nose, deeply and fully. Hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth for several seconds.
This exercise not only helps slow your racing heart, but soothes your nerves and refocuses your mind.
Stress has a way of making you feel trapped and bottled up inside. One way to relieve this is to get out and move your body.
While exercising at the gym works wonders at releasing stress, a simple walk or jog in nature can dramatically boost your mood, calm your nerves, and slow your racing thoughts.
Sometimes stress can flood your mind with racing thoughts. So try letting go of your worries by putting them down on paper.
The act of writing helps slow the mind and refocuses your body. It’s called the brain dump exercise, and all you need is a pen and paper, or your notes app on your phone.
And here are some healthy ways you can manage chronic stress…
4. Eat and drink to promote health
A healthy, well balanced diet is crucial for stress relief. Eating too many unhealthy calories can slow you down and wreak havoc on your joints and overall system. But not eating enough calories can actually cause stress too, because you need energy to burn energy.
While caffeine is known to boost energy, it’s important to know that caffeine can also increase stress and anxiety.
Eating a proper, well balanced diet throughout the day gives your body the essential nutrients it needs to take on the activities and challenges each day brings.
While hustle culture embraces the mantra “they sleep, we grind,” lack of sleep can actually wreak havoc on every system in your body. In fact, it impacts everything from your cognition, to your cravings, to how your body functions, and even your relationships.
It’s estimated that 20% of the world’s population is sleep derived. So it’s not a wonder that more than twice that amount of people have reported experiencing extremely high amounts of stress recently.
The list of benefits of a good night’s sleep is long. It helps with muscle recovery, improves your mood and your ability to manage emotions. It increases your concentration, improves your memory, balances your hormones, regulates your blood sugar and appetite, and restores your brain function.
6. Set realistic expectations and goals
It’s impossible to be 100% successful at everything all the time. So, set goals and expectations for yourself that you can control and which you can realistically accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.
7. Practice self care
Relaxing in a hot bath, getting a massage, or laying out by the water are great ways you can slow your mind and reclaim balance. Do whatever rejuvenates you, restores your balance, and refreshes your soul.
Coping with stress the right way
We know that mastering these recovery techniques can sometimes be challenging, especially when it comes to slowing down your racing mind so you can get quality sleep.
When you’re feeling the effects of stress, you can always consider giving CBD a try.
But not just any ol’ CBD… We’re talking about high quality CBD that’s been formulated by a team of professionals and scientists.
Here at Naternal, we make products for our families. So you can rest assured they’re safe and effective for your family.
That said, it’s normal and even natural to feel and be stressed sometimes. But managing your stress isn’t impossible, it’s actually necessary for your health, and it just takes time and practice.
However, if you feel overwhelmed, and stress management techniques aren’t adequately helping you, we encourage you to speak to a therapist. You may be surprised at how helpful it can be.
Take it from our friend, the clock… All he needed was a friendly reminder to take life’s daily ticks, one tick at a time.As always, feel free to reach out to our Naternal team for any questions or concerns. We’re here to help!