3 Ways to Reduce Stress: The Link Between Pain and Stress
How do you reduce stress?
As promised, today I will be sharing some of the coping mechanisms I have been using to attempt to reduce my stress and increase my overall well being!
I believe thus far, these have helped improve my mental state, therefore leaving room for me to focus on other things, with less overall stress! In doing so, my body can use its energy elsewhere, potentially on healing injuries. This is important as I will mention that during incredibly high stressful times (AKA exam season 😊), I have noticed that my injuries flare up the most. This limits my ability to use exercise as a stress reliever because my body is unable to adapt to an abundant number of stressors all at once. It is an ongoing cycle. When you lack the necessary coping mechanisms to manage stress, your body cannot handle it and it will lead to additional problems! Many individuals, myself included, fail to realize how far the stress effect can stretch. It is possible that your body is using all of its energy towards dealing with your day, that it has nothing left to heal those injuries!
This is why I have developed a new appreciation towards taking the necessary time for “self-care,” in order to make sure I can handle my day to day endeavours. I have researched a couple things that I can do for myself in order to calm my mind and escape my stress, even if it is just for a portion of my day.
I have been attempting to stay consistent and start the day off with at least 5-10 minutes of meditation. You can find meditation videos on the internet by searching things like “10 minute calming meditation.” In addition, if I am feeling particularly anxious at any time in the day, it helps me take a moment to myself. It is important that you focus on your breathing. This helps the nervous system activate its parasympathetic branch, which slows down your heart rate and allows you to relax.
Some research suggests that meditation is not only beneficial to mental health by regulating emotions and stress, but it also can enhance “tolerance, sociability, empathy, positive states of mind, positive values, happiness and joy and positive thinking” (Chu, 2009).
This has been my new favorite method of relaxation. It is unexpectedly helpful to write all your thoughts on paper. I have been loving something that is termed a “brain dump,” in which you literally dump everything in your mind in a journal. This helps you physically see and address each aspect that is troubling you. Once I start writing, I find that I begin to find links between each stressor I am experiencing and thus am able to collect my thoughts.
Finally, as a kinesiology student I have always used exercise as a stress reliever. Whether it be resistance training or playing soccer, while working up a sweat I get in the zone and forget about my worries for a bit. I try to get in at least an hour of training about 5-6 times per week. This includes a mix of HIIT (high intensity interval training), resistance training, and cardio. It’s important to mention that the release of endorphins during exercise tends to leave you in a more positive mental state, which also may in turn, reduce your stress.
I encourage you all to dedicate some time out of your day towards yourself and try out a couple of these methods, you will find yourself very enlightened.
Talk you next time where I will be discussing the more physical approach to healing my knees injuries!
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