Can Yoga Help Relieve Stress? 5 Reasons to Incorporate Yoga into Your Life
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Stress is a very normal part of life, but there are times when the feelings can become overwhelming. There are many different forms of stress, ranging from healthy to unhealthy. Healthy forms of stress include exercise and stepping outside our comfort zones, whereas unhealthy stress may look debilitating or cause someone to isolate themselves.

If you or someone you know is experiencing forms of stress that are affecting your mental or physical health, it could be helpful to learn some coping mechanisms. Integrated Counseling and Wellness offers stress management services, but we want everyone to have tools to help manage stress outside of our office. Managing stress can benefit your physical and mental health and help you lead a more fulfilling life. Here are our top 7 strategies for managing stress:

1. Identify Your Stress Triggers

Knowing what triggers your stress can immediately help you begin to relieve some of it. Understanding the root causes can help you find the next step to work through it. When you feel stressed, pause and consider your environment and the events leading up to it to help you understand the stress trigger. Common causes of stress include:

  • Major life changes
  • Work
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Lack of control
  • Grieving

2. Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

There are healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms that people lean on to get through stressful times. Turning to substances, negative self-talk, and aggression are just some examples of unhealthy coping. Here are our top options for healthy alternatives for coping:

  • Deep breathing which can help regulate your nervous system
  • Yoga moves some stagnant energy through your body
  • Meditation to get your mind feeling clear
  • Journaling for a release
  • Pick up a good book to give yourself a break
  • Work with a counselor to develop more skills and find other solutions to minimizing the stress in your life

3. Create a Relaxing Routine

Routines have significant mental and physical health benefits. Daily routines help promote healthy habits, provide stability and predictability, and help you implement a structure supporting your coping mechanisms. An example of a morning routine might look like:

  • Wake up
  • Take time to stretch or do yoga
  • Have a balanced breakfast
  • Sit down to journal or meditate
  • Shower and get dressed
  • Get ready for the workday

Starting your day with positive habits and making it part of your daily routine can help you remain present with yourself and manage your stress more effectively.

4. Prioritize Physical Activity

Exercise has always been used as a form of relieving stress. It may sound hard to do, but you'll likely feel much better once you get your body moving. Chronic excess stress leads to elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body. Exercise has been shown to help reduce cortisol, relieve stress, and provide increased production of endorphins that help boost your mood. However, not all exercises are created equal. Some can increase cortisol, so here are some good options for moving your body when stressed:

  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Pilates

5. Seek Professional Help

As mentioned before, stress is a very normal part of life. There are some cases where it is manageable and others where it feels too overwhelming. When is the right time to reach out for help from a professional? Here are some signs that you might want to consider:

  • Unable to manage emotions
  • Stress symptoms don’t go away
  • Coping mechanisms don’t offer relief
  • You feel frozen in place
  • You find yourself avoiding responsibilities and loved ones

Integrated Counseling and Wellness (ICW) offers stress management services to help you overcome the stress in your life. You can talk with one of our counselors to work on finding solutions, implementing new coping strategies, and getting back to feeling like yourself again.

Stress management is key to leading a healthy and fulfilling life. While stress is very normal, you don’t have to live with the anxiety and fear that can come with excess or chronic stress. Work with the experts at ICW to get yourself back on track and build the life that feels best for you.

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