By Mr bee
“A light heart lives long”
Willam Shakespeare, Love’s Labour Lost
Is there such a thing as positive stress? Good stress? I heard someone today saying their grandad used to “thrive on stress”. I understand the body instinctively reacts to certain situations. These situations can be dangerous, so stress is a way for us to prepare for anything. Although, many times stress makes us perform below our optimum. This cannot be considered healthy. When stress hits, it negatively impacts our heart, breath, blood pressure and overall mind-body balance.
Our love affair with information and technology is proving to be a serious challenge to our wellbeing. The digital age has come at a great cost. Never ending notifications, and the need to always reply. It seems we are losing our ability to distinguish between what is urgent and important. When was the last time you switched your phone off to break from distractions? Just as we put our alarm on snooze, it’s time we started putting technology on snooze.
There is a rising trend of people switching their phones off for an extended period of time. This “digital detox” is allowing people to reconnect with what really matters. Detoxing as a concept itself is not new. One could link it to fasting, in the sense that it gives our bodies a break. The idea that, once we resume our normal habits, we will come back refreshed. Technology is not the only cause of stress, but currently we must find a way to balance it and reengage with the natural world.
Modern causes of stress
- lack of sleep
- lower levels of bright level exposure
10 simple ways to reduce stress
- Limit alcohol and caffeine
- get enough sleep
- chew gum
- listen to relaxing music (https://open.spotify.com/user/pgspotify/playlist/3DcRCahI8Un1VLs4fepehS)
- Spend time with your pet
- inflating a balloon forces you to deep-breathe
- massage your earlobes
- go for a brisk walk
Exercises you can do anywhere
- Consciously lengthen your breath – try the 7/11 breathing technique
- Visualising exercise – First stare at an object, such as a flower. Then close your eyes and visualise the same object. Finally, open your eyes to confirm your visualisation. This will focus your attention and calm you.
- Cocooning – place both palms side by side on the face, fingers gently resting on your closed eyelids
Act Right. Think Right
For the Greeks – act right. think right were the key to perfect health. Could the Pythagorean way of life be a way to reduce stress? The Pythagorean way of life included:
- healthy vegan diet
- daily vigorous exercise
- philosophical group discussions (The idea was these discussions would better help the people understand the universe and their place within it).
Let’s find a better way
Stress is a complex topic. It is important that you understand your triggers and be creative when finding solutions. Edward de bono created a powerful ‘6 hats thinking system‘. His model says humans use a unique set of perspectives when making decisions. In the system a “green hat” is used to make decisions using a creative approach. In other words, when we are using our “green hat” we are forced to think different. Stress can easily default us back to old habits, but let’s put on the “green hat” and find a better way.
How do you deal with stress? Perhaps baking your favourite cake brings out the ‘green hat’ in you.