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How can we best deal with stress?

I have 100 emails. It’s Monday. I need to prepare this week's meals. The electricity bill has gone up again. Did I leave the oven on? When is that deadline due again? My boss is doing the rounds. Why is there always so much washing up? Man, I need a haircut. Not another meeting, please. I’ll just have another coffee. Maybe that’s too much coffee. What day is it? Oh damn I forgot to eat breakfast. AAHHHH!

Have you ever felt like this? A thousand thoughts running around your brain. Not sure how you are going to get anything done. So stressed you are going to burst?

Sometimes stress can take over. It’s inevitable.

Does that mean it needs to be this intense everytime it happens? Of course not.

There are some practices we can do in the moment and long term that will help enhance our ability to deal with stress. Whether we like it or not, stress is coming, so let’s put on our anti-stress coloured tin foil hat and start prepping.

  1. In the moment

When stress comes, instead of letting it overcome us and take over, there is something we can do to reduce its physiological effects. Stress is a natural emotion with a physical reaction. Increased heart rate, sweating, irritability, shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping and a sudden tunnel vision are the body's defensive reaction to stress.

As soon as we begin to feel these symptoms we can slow them down or even reduce them completely. All through the power of breathing.

Not just any kind of breathing, specifically a physiological sigh. The physiological sigh focuses on long exhales which relaxes the diaphragm sending signals to your brain which in turn sends a signal to the heart and body to slow down and relax.

To perform the physiological sigh take an inhale then just before you reach the top of that inhale take a second sharp inhale, then proceed to take a very long exhale. This part is key, the exhale must be for a prolonged period. Repeat this process for a few breaths and feel your heart rate slow down almost instantly.

  1. Long term

A practice we can do regularly that will improve our capacity for stress is simple. We need to purposefully submit ourselves to stressful situations and overcome them. Now I don't mean start getting into arguments with your boss or wait until the very last second to fill up your car. That may end in chaos. Unless you enjoy living on the edge like that, you crazy person.

Our body reacts the same to physical and mental stress. All it knows is that it needs to get out of the situation or overcome it and improve. Putting yourself through hard exercise is one way to improve your stress defences. One I would suggest everyone try is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you can deal with a 100kg sweaty man trying to smother your face until you go unconscious, then the nosy neighbour down the road who doesn’t like the way you park is easy to deal with.

At the end of the day stress gets to us all, but our ability to handle stress is something we can control. Take ownership of your body and mind and start these practices today. Not only will you benefit but the whole world will benefit from being just that little bit less stressed.

Josh P

Co-Founder of R.D.A Strength Systems

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