Spoiler alert: there’s no single silver-bullet to manage your stress. Because there’s probably not one single thing that’s stressing you out. That’s normal – you’re busy, and busyness and stress often go hand-in-hand.
And that’s ok. In fact, some stress is actually good for you.
But most of us (me included) could do with less stress. And that’s when stress management techniques become helpful.
Here are five simple ideas to try when the going gets tough.
- Deep breathing
Stress response can include difficulty breathing. When we take shallow, rapid breaths, it signals to our brain that things are not ok.
One simple technique is to concentrate on breathing deeply. You can try roll breathing for daily maintenance, and 4-4-4 breathing throughout the day as-needed. Simply inhale slowly for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale slowly for 4 seconds.
Seems easy right? That’s because it is! But don’t let the simplicity fool you: this exercise can have a profound effect on stress by quieting your mind and slowing your heartbeat.
Sometimes the best response to stress is to think about something else until you are in a place to calmly (and productively) address whatever is stressing you out. But that can be difficult in the moment. A trick that works for me is to move my body.
Go for a short walk. Do some stretches. Do a handstand (safely). Jump […]
Our two adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney. From this perch, they not only have access to a rich blood supply, but are also close to the site of fluid and mineral balance in the body. This makes sense given their role: they participate in the stress response, of course, but are also involved in energy, libido, lean muscle growth, immune response, blood pressure, blood sugar, and water balance. So you can see how the hormones secreted by our adrenal glands have far-ranging effects: from the short-acting jolt of adrenaline to the longer-term influence of cortisol, which modulates metabolism in the liver, reduces our sensitivity to insulin, and suppresses inflammation (and immunity). We think of the adrenal glands as producing stress hormones, and this is true – but while we can perceive the effects of acute stress (heart racing, clammy hands, perhaps some anxiety), it is the more subtle ongoing hormonal activity of the adrenals that ends up having more profound effects on energy, metabolism, sleep, and mood. Unfortunately, this is hard to see until it’s gone: when our adrenal function begins to drop off, we notice fatigue, lack of motivation, metabolic slowdown, sleep disruptions, and more pain.
It is this last piece that usually serves as a good indicator that our adrenal function is sub-optimal: if we recover more slowly from vigorous exercise, feeling more fatigue – and crucially, more pain – after a big hike, or an extra-long jog, it can often mean that our reserve of adrenal hormones is flagging. This ability to recover and feel ready again is a key piece of the adrenal response, and, as it turns out, to healthy sleep patterns, too. […]
The Mood and Stress Support You Need
When it comes to mood support, herbs are a reliable place to turn. From aromatic nervines to adaptogens to nervous system restoratives, herbal extracts have an impressive track record in both traditional use and modern scientific studies for supporting mental and emotional well-being. While the nature of our moods and how we feel in everyday ups and downs varies, the nature of herbs available for mood support varies as well. To this end, we have more than one formula here at Urban Moonshine for helping maintain good mental and emotional health–so that you can find the right herbal match at the right time. Joy Tonic was our original mood support formula, followed by our newly released Simmer Down Tonic. If you’d like to know more about the difference between the two, read on!
Simmer Down Tonic s a dynamic formula made of some of the world’s most trusted herbs. What sets it apart from Joy Tonic is that it contains herbs that support adrenal as well as nervous system health. Our adrenals are what regulate our response to stress–and in today’s world most of us could use a little added support in this area. The adrenal herbs (also known as adaptogens) in this formula include ashwagandha and tulsi–both world-renowned and longtime favorites of herbalists. These adaptogens are all about protecting your body from the long term effects of stress and supporting healthy stress management.
Simmer Down Tonic also includes two […]