6 Top Tips For A Balanced Stress-Busting Routine

Regular use of Ennora meditation music is an excellent way of managing everyday stress, as well as giving you a host of other benefits. However, many people wrongly assume that a meditation program is all they need, and that they can burn the candle at both ends and get away with it simply by incorporating more meditation into their lives.

This is not the case.

In fact, the more relaxed the body and mind the greater effect of meditation. Sure, use our recordings with your teeth grinding and a hundred thoughts racing through your mind and you will eventually relax and enjoy it, but without a more comprehensive routine of managing stress, you'll soon be back to grinding your teeth and pulling your hair out.

A certain degree of stress is actually a very positive thing. Just as we require exercise to get stronger and fitter, we require stress to grow in a different way. 

A healthy amount of stress makes us better equipped to deal with life's forever impending problems. In fact, the greater the level of stress you can safely and comfortably handle, the more you'll grow as a person. 

Ever wondered how some people are able to juggle a very demanding work and home life and still seem perfectly happy and content, yet others are barely able to cope with everyday problems? 

True, some people are naturally better at coping, but that's just part of it. If you can develop various habits which are designed to help you deal with stress, you'll soon find you can leave your comfort zone more often and be perfectly equipped to handle it.

Here are my top 6 tips for managing stress outside of your meditation program.

1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet

Stress causes inflammation within the body and brain, this inflammation can cause further stress, and it can turn into a vicious circle. What's an anti-inflammatory diet? Using this website you can find an inflammation rating for most foods, eat mostly those that have anti-inflammation properties (or are neutral) and try to avoid those that cause inflammation. 

I'm currently experimenting with drinking some carrot juice before each meal and before bedtime, which my friend promotes as a cure for something called Restless Leg Syndrome (RSL), a condition (along with many others) he believes is caused by inflammation. I actually suffered from mild RSL several years back during a period where I struggled to deal with stress. Needless to say, since eating a better diet and more effectively managing stress it left and shows no signs of coming back.

2. Find out if over stimulation of a sense causes you stress, and cut it down

For me it's sound, I'm sensitive to noise. Too much noise causes me to withdraw into myself and just want to lie down. For you it might be too much visual stimulation, motion, too many strange smells, or something else. 

Since learning that noise really affects me I rarely go to concerts, keep music down to a low level, avoid noisy places with lots of people talking at once, and make sure I get plenty of quiet time. This has made a huge difference to my life.

3. Seek water, drink water

Drink lots of it, and if you can, be near it. For some lucky people, curing anxiety is simply just a case of curing their dehydration. I know I feel more relaxed when I'm properly hydrated, and I also feel a calming effect engulf my body when I'm near water. Rivers, lakes and the sea are perfect, but even spending time near a small stream helps, as does taking the time to run a relaxing bath. 

It might be that we are designed to become more anxious when not near a water source, because it's a warning that we need to find one as soon as possible. Sure, in the developed world at least, finding water is not normally a problem, but the body is still stuck with the hardware that evolved thousands of years ago when finding a water source was much more important for survival.

4. Get busy!

I've read How to Stop Worrying & Start Living several times, it's one of my all-time favourite books. One of the major themes running through it is if you want to significantly cut down worry and fear, and sleep easily and deeply at night, waking up feeling refreshed and ready to go again, then you need to spend more time doing things. 

Things that keep you in the moment, preferably something that means something to you, but whatever needs to be done is good too: tidying up, paying bills, organising your photos. Some people are naturally good at that, but others need to remind themselves. 

As a caveat I'll add that doing nothing is perfectly fine too, so long as when you're doing nothing you are actually doing nothing, and not using the time to worry.

5. Rest when tired

This is one I used to struggle with, but since learning how important it is, I've completely changed. Being busy and keeping your mind occupied is great for coping with stress, but attempting to push through tiredness to get more done is harmful to your well-being and actually very counterproductive in the long term. 

If you're tired at work, try and take a break. If you're shattered from hitting the gym for the last 6 nights in a row, lounge around this evening and go to bed early. 

This really applies to learning new things too, more rest and sleep is required to consolidate new memories. Just as you shouldn't wait until you feel thirsty before drinking water, don't wait until you're burnt out before resting. No-nonsense self-help expert Steven Covey teaches that we should all spend one day a week doing absolutely nothing stressful. I choose Sunday and during this day I'll sleep in, watch movies, read, take a walk in a park, or if I can, spend time near water. 

 I hope that when you really think about it, you'll see how bad trying to push through tiredness is, and if you agree then take a rest!

6. Remove all stimulants

This includes caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sugar and any other substance that makes you jittery in any way, either during or after consumption. I believe it's also worth looking at any bad habit as a stimulant that should be removed, I will do another post to further flesh this out, but for now just give a brief overview. 

For example, excessive use of social networks... What's the trigger for this? Boredom normally, or simply remembering that your smartphone is in your pocket. What happens afterwards? You feel momentarily lifted, you could even say - stimulated. You just got a boost of dopamine, just as you would after a coffee, some alcohol, or a cigarette. Can checking social media sites become addictive? You bet! 

There are countless other similar examples I could list from not so harmful ones such as biting your nails or excessively watching the doom and gloom on the news, to more dangerous ones such as self-harm or gambling. The more you are aware of what yours are and the greater you can reduce them, the more relaxed you'll be and the better you'll be able to cope with stress.

Now go forth and bust that stress!

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