Alleviating Stress the Enlightened Way

Keen Category: Spiritual Advice

A woman meditating outside in front of dried grasses

Everyone gets stressed out from time to time. And if you are a "Type A" personality, you thrive on stress. Yes, the bills are stacked to the ceiling, your kid is failing math, work consumes almost every waking minute and the car is now making a funny noise. Worry is the common habitual response to day-to-day problems. And if you are the type who worries a lot when pressures mount, you produce a lot of stress.

There are multiple definitions for the word "stress". The most common definition is: "physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension." Dr. Richard Lazarus (1922 – 2002), a pioneer in the study of emotions and stress, defined stress as follows: "a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize."

However you define it, you are probably wondering how to scratch your way out the stressful situations you face and find some peace. Here are ten enlightened methods for alleviating and warding off stress:

  1. Turn Defeatist Self-Talk Into Self-Love Affirmations
    The things you say to yourself can increase or decrease your stress level. When you are fretting, worrying and involved in circular negative thinking you tend to create a mountain out of a molehill. Many attest to the power in stating positive affirmations to shift a negative attitude and stubborn mindsets. Think "pink thoughts". In other words, give yourself loving, positive and affirming messages periodically throughout your day.

  2. Practice Yoga
    The health benefits of yoga are well documented. Yoga postures (Asanas) and yoga breathing (Pranayama) are aimed at uniting mind, body, and spirit. When practiced daily, yoga has been shown to increase respiratory efficiency while reducing its rate, reduce heart rate, decrease blood pressure and improve the body's flexibility and strength. Overall, it relaxes body tension. Stretch the stress out and breathe in good energy.

  3. Walk in Nature, Taking It All In
    Enjoying a daily walk in nature not only takes you away from it all and gives your body needed exercise, but it also infuses you with a vibration that quiets the mind and rebalances the psyche. Breathe in the vibrations of the trees, grasses and flora all around you and you'll soon feel at peace and enlivened with joy. Your deep intrinsic connection to nature is a natural antidote to stress.

  4. Dance Yourself Alive
    Kicking up your heals with a partner or even trance dancing alone in your living room can have health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic researchers, social dancing has considerable health benefits. It reduces stress, increases energy and improves strength, muscle tone and coordination. Of course, you don't need an expert to tell you that dancing puts the groove back in your step and a smile on your face. Worries and woes fly out the window as you move and groove to music.

  5. Meditate for 10 Minutes 4 Times a Day
    Clearing your mind and opening your heart with a short meditation will keep you centered, focused on love and at peace. Close your eyes and imagine yourself inside your heart, envisioning it as a crystalline chamber of light. Dwell within it until you see radiant colors swirling inside your mind's eye. Let the light colors infuse you with love and bring your mind into silent mode. Short meditations throughout the day will kept you spiritually centered and stress free.

  6. Think Out of the Box with Your Higher Mind
    There is little doubt the mind is a powerful thing. It can make your blood pressure rise and even kill you if you let it. At the very least, your mind can box you into thinking there is no solution to the surmounting problems in front of you. Rather that thinking doom, seek out a higher intelligence within you to help with finding solutions. Your night dreams can offer proof that a higher intelligence is at work while you sleep. Incubate a dream for a creative solution to a problem and it is likely the answer will be in your next dream.

  7. Spend Extra Time with Your Pets
    There is nothing like running your fingers through soft fur, listening to purring or petting and talking to a canine friend to calm your nerves and give you a sense of well being, not to mention the love you feel. University of Buffalo researcher Karen Allen found that a loved pet can evoke a calming influence on blood pressure and heart rate in tests where participants performed tasks designed to induce mental and physical stress.

  8. Adopt the Motto "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
    The Hawaiians are a relaxed and carefree culture. One of their favorite mottos is: "Don't Worry, Be Happy". They recite it anytime a friend is fretting about something. More than a motto, the phrase is indicative of a cultural view that considers being happy the key to reducing stress. Think happy thoughts throughout the day and when it's difficult to shift into happiness, fake it till you make it.

  9. Seek Out Affectionate Friends
    We all could use a hug, a hand on the shoulder or any kind and comforting gesture from a friend when our stress level has reached a crescendo. Friends who have the most positive influence are those who do more then just lend an ear to our problems. They reach out with compassion, cradle us in their hearts and arms. The touch of love does more to calm a person than talking does. Also comforting someone else with your touch can have a positive effect on you.

  10. Eat Chocolate, Sip Tea and Read Poetry
    Sometimes the simple pleasures are best. A cup a tea, an ounce of chocolate and a relaxing chair with your favorite book of poetry, prayers or meditations can put you back at ease. Chocolate is more than just a comfort food inducing pleasant memories. It releases endorphins from the pituitary, a natural pain reliever to relax your body. Herbal teas also have a calming effect. And to sooth your mind and uplift your heart, a book of inspiration can create a lasting shift.

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