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Hey there, stress is like that unwanted guest who just won’t leave, right?

It’s always lurking around, ready to pounce on us with its pals cortisol and adrenaline, making our hearts race and our muscles tense. But did you know that we have a secret weapon against this unwelcome intruder? It’s called The Relaxation Response, and it’s our ticket to peace and tranquility.

So, picture this: You’re in the middle of a stressful situation—maybe work is piling up, or you’re dealing with a challenging relationship, or your car has broken down unexpectedly and you have to find money to pay for repairs. Your body goes into full-on fight-or-flight mode, pumping out stress hormones like there’s no tomorrow.

Now, fight-or-flight mode is super important, it gets us moving when there is danger.

The problem is, in our busy, always on the go world, our body perceives everything as potential danger. That conversation we are avoiding, that social situation that we are nervous about, those bills we have been putting off paying, those reviews we received at work on online.

But here’s the thing: if you stay in this stress zone for too long, it can mess with your mind and body big time.

Mentally, you might find it harder to focus, or decision fatigue hits faster, or you snap sooner at the people you love making you feel like a real a-hole. You might feel on edge, irritable, or just plain overwhelmed all the time. Physically, chronic stress can weaken your immune system, leaving you more prone to getting sick or developing long term chronic conditions. It can also cause muscle tension, headaches, and just leave you feeling drained and exhausted and like you have nothing left to give to anyone anymore.

In case you didn’t know, these are the signs of burnout knocking at your door and you DO NOT want to let them in.

So, our body is meant to shift from the Stress Response to the Relaxation Response (check out the book by Dr Herbert Benson if you want to see the science), BUT it can’t do it automatically anymore, thanks evolution! We have to consciously do things that shift our nervous system out of fight-or-flight and into homeostasis.

But fear not! There are ways to send stress packing and return to a state of Zen-like relaxation. Here are some strategies to help you reclaim your calm:

  1. Take a Breather: Literally. Deep breathing can work wonders. Try inhaling slowly through your nose, filling your stomach and pushing it out, holding for a moment, and then exhaling slowly through your mouth. Repeat a few times, and feel the tension melt away. You won’t realise how shallow you breathe on the regular until you try this. Our organs need us to fill our diaphragm, so breathe away.
  2. Get Your Om On: Meditation isn’t just for yogis. Find a quiet spot, close your eyes, and focus on your breath or a calming mantra. It’s like hitting the reset button for your mind. We have a bunch of free meditations on Insight Timer you can check out if you like to be guided.
  3. Let Your Muscles Unwind: Try progressive muscle relaxation. Tense each muscle group in your body for a few seconds, then release. Start from your toes and work your way up to your head. It’s a great way to release physical tension.

We have a faster way of doing this, it’s called The Quiver Reset™️ Technique. Check it out if you want to shift stress fast!

  1. Embrace Mindfulness: Being mindful means being present in the moment without judgment. Practice mindfulness in your daily activities, like eating or walking. It can help you stay grounded and reduce stress. Just make sure you are focussing all of your attention on the task you are doing, instead of doing a million other things at the same time.
  2. Move That Body: Exercise is a fantastic stress-buster. Whether it’s a slow walk, a dance party in your living room, or some yoga stretches, get moving to release those feel-good endorphins. Just be mindful that this should be low impact exercise, no running or boxing or HIIT as this will only pour more adrenaline and cortisol into your body. It’s fine to do for exercise, but it isn’t going to shift you into the relaxation response.
  3. Nature Therapy: Step outside and soak up some nature. Whether it’s a walk in the park, sitting in your backyard or being near water, nature has a way of calming the mind and body.
  4. Jam Out: Music has a magical effect on our mood. Create a playlist of your favorite calming tunes and let the music work its magic.

Remember, everyone’s stress-busting recipe is different, so don’t be afraid to try out different strategies and see what works best for you. The key is to make relaxation a priority in your life and give stress the boot before it overstays its welcome.