Simple Strategies to Stress Less

Stress is a vital component of life. We need stress in order to improve & adapt. Acute stress that is. There must be a balance between comfort & stress in our lives. Chronic stress, on the other hand, just depletes our energy stores, amplifies inflammation, & keeps us in a negative feedback loop. Being in a chronic stress state means that you are not living in the present moment & that your baseline metabolic processes are thrown into mayhem. We must break free from chronic stress before it completely consumes us.


Here are some simple strategies that I personally use to deactivate my monkey brain.


I also like to incorporate slightly more advanced strategies like PEMF, Photobiomodulation, EFT & Acupuncture but we will focus on the basics in this article.


Gratitude Journal:

The subconscious mind tends to lean towards a negative bias in order to avoid a threat that we have experienced in the past. This is great for survival, but not so much in our modern industrial world. We must train our brains to focus on the positive aspects of our lives. Incorporating a gratitude practice, especially where you jot down your thoughts, will have profound effects on your stress levels.


Prioritize Sleep:

Our brains must purge toxins, repair damage, & solidify memories while we sleep. However, those processes can only happen with quality sleep. If we are not in tune with the natural circadian rhythm or think that we can get by on 5 hours of sleep, then we are in for a rude awakening, pun intended. You will be exponentially more resilient when it comes to stress when you put sleep higher up on your priorities list. Set a timer to go to sleep, turn off all technology 1 hour before bed, & make your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.


4 – 8 Breath with Diaphragmatic Activation:

Seated, standing, or lying down, place one hand on your lower abdomen (dantien) & the other on your chest. Only the hand on the abdomen should move during this exercise. Inhale through your nose & count to four slowly, pause for a second, purse your lips & slowly exhale through pursed lips while counting to at least 8. Your parasympathetic nervous system is activated more during the exhale so if we can extend it, then heart rate, blood pressure, racing thoughts, & worries can all decrease.


Epsom Salt Bath:

Magnesium has been called Nature’s Valium. Since we are all practically deficient these days, it is a good idea to get more into our bodies. The skin is a great way to do this since we can bypass the digestive process which can limit our absorption. Light a few candles and add 2 cups of Epsom salt along with several drops of your favorite calming essential oil to a tub of hot water. My favorites are lavender, bergamot, clove, jasmine, and ylang ylang. Sit back & soak in this calming mineral while the stress begins to dissipate.


Walking Barefoot in Nature:

Negative ions, healing aromas, Schumann resonance, & the sensations of the earth will transport you away from the daily grind. This activity has transformed my mental health for sure & I believe it will do the same for you. Start slow because your feet must adapt to their new freedom. However, once you witness the soothing capabilities of the earth frequencies, you may never go back. Air that has a significant number of negative ions is paramount for human health. You will find this revitalizing air when you venture deep into nature, up in the mountains, & near natural bodies of water.


Ice Bath:

This technique sounds pretty stressful & that is true. Here, we are inducing an intense, acute stressor that we evolved to deal with in order to deactivate those habitual thought patterns. Cold thermogenesis improves vagal tone which means that you can respond to stressors appropriately & return to baseline much quicker. Not only that, but you can get the added benefits of blood sugar control, decreased inflammation, better thyroid function, mitochondrial biogenesis, autophagy & enhanced testosterone production. Almost sounds like a panacea.


Oculocardiac Reflex:

This reflex directly stimulates the vagus nerve. There is no threat of danger according to your nervous system when the oculocardiac reflex is activated. Once again, your blood pressure drops, heart rate slows, & muscle tension decreases, allowing you to enter into a calmer psychological state. Place your palms over your eyeballs & put slight pressure for 5-10 seconds. Repeat as needed until you feel calmer.


Pelvic Floor Release:

The pelvic floor muscles form the bottom of your inner core cannister. The respiratory diaphragm sits at the top. This area can be hypertonic or hypotonic, meaning you either have too much tension or not enough. I tend to be on the hypertonic side since I store a lot of my stress in the pelvic floor musculature for whatever reason. I take a small Yoga Tuneup ball from Jill Miller, no affiliation, place it on top of a yoga block and slowly sink my weight on top of it, making sure that there is not excessive pressure being placed on this delicate area. Use your arms to hold some of your bodyweight up. It only takes a couple of minutes to release the tension & then I like to remove the ball while shifting into either breathwork or meditation.


Physical Contact:

I do not think that any of us get enough of this anymore, which is really unfortunate. You know that incredible feeling that you have after a massage or foot rub? Human-to-human contact has an incredible balancing effect on your autonomic nervous system that is difficult to duplicate. The hands of another person can impart healing energies into your tissues which I notice all the time in my clinical practice. Hugs, kisses, sex, & even the short-lived handshakes are valuable for your health. These all help to remind your nervous system that you have a tribe supporting you so no need to fret.



And when in doubt, just get your body moving!!!


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