Certain things cannot be avoided (early mornings, long commutes, sitting at a desk) but my question is this:
Have you found any way (supplemental, exercising at certain times, ect) that really made the difference for you?
I am facing a lot of daily stress and trying to find the best paleo solution. Suggestions please!
This is what helps me:
I get 8 hours of sleep a night in essentially a blacked out room. Railroad apartment cave-like bedroom FTW. I also take two ZMA when I climb in.
No electronics 1-2 hours before bed.
Morning workouts 4 x's a week, CrossFit + lifting, and 1 x's a week of "active recovery" which is a combination of yoga, soft tissue work, flexibility techniques and traditional calisthenics.
I don't own a tv so I'll stream movies or a show on my laptop but not much, I prefer reading, podcasts, listening to NPR. Ohh the soothing dulcet tones of Brian Lehrer :) I don't ever get sucked into le tube.
Walking my dog
Cooking all my meals - it's really relaxing for me to do all the prep and such. Good music, a glass of wine, a sharp knife. Good times for reals.
My life right now is much simpler but definitely there are moments of severe stress, the WTF moments. So a deep breath and I go outside and will walk around the block. Remove myself from whatever is going on, process, go back inside refreshed. This worked for me the past several years at a very high pressure job when I had an hour commute on the train, would wear earplugs so the noise was softer, and if shit went down at the office then it was grab the coat and take 15 minutes outside. Just those minutes of calm and being removed from the stress was amazing and I could go back in with a clear head. Translated easily into my latest work adventure :) Good luck!
Whatever stress "is," I would imagine than seeking to "combat" it would create more of it.
Seriously. The world is filled with stressors but experiencing "stress" as problematic is optional. It's a choice. Couple of things worth noticing and worth keeping separate:
1) That which happens (traffic, relationship tension, parent-kid issues, challenging work) versus 2) that which we make it mean, and how we relate to it.
One person thrives on "stressors." His or her identical twin collapses from "stressors." Both are "dealing with" externals called circumstances. Dealing very differently.
Find out what the thriving person is doing. Imitate that. Find yourself flourishing. Teach others how.
Notice: complaining isn't part of the cycle. Unless you want it to be. See previous reference to "choice."
Bottom line: when life presents factors that exceed your skill set, look for ways to expand your "rise to the challenge" skills. Of course, clearing out energy-drainers (people, places, things) has its place as well, where possible.
One good set of skills to have: the whole range of practices associated with stress management: various meditative strategies. Taking deep breaths and settling into the moment, is always a good place to start.
It's also good to get beyond linguistic errors like "I've got so much stress in my life," stated in a way that makes the stress sound like weather, something that just happens to me. The experience of stress is something we create, or co-create with our environment.
This might not work for you, but I live in New York and I added a two mile walk to my commute by going to a much further subway station instead of the nearest one. Those two miles in the morning made me happy, more in touch with my neighborhood and got me extra sunshine.
Stress isn't something to combat, it's just something to avoid. Nora Gedgaudas had a great line in either a podcast I listened to or in her AHS talk that I think is a great view on mental health regarding stress: "Stress isn't what happens to you, stress is how you react to what happens to you."
Sometimes you just have to let things go and not perseverate on them.
I find that walking really helps me reduce my stress. It gives me time to either think or just quiet my mind. And it gives me some gentle movement and fresh air. Bonus if you have a dog with you!
Proper meditation really makes me a calmer and less stressed person. I notice a huge difference when I am not consistently meditating! I enjoy mindfulness meditation....if you google it tons will come up, but John Kabat-Zinn is My personal go to meditation guru I follow.
Getting rid of commute altogether (home-office), having a boss who doesn't mind me starting late and working late, delegating, sleeping. You might be surprised how flexible (enlightened) managers are these days.
If you face resistance, there is plenty of research showing financial and soft upsides for employers from home-office and flexible hours.
Mental: First, realize that the only control you have, is over your own actions. and that is all.
God(or the devine being of your choice) grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change (other people) The courage to change the things I can (my own actions) And the wisdom to know the difference. (the wisdom is in () above)
Second, do not mind what happens. Getting overly upset or overly happy about the outcome of something or something happening does no good for you or anyone / anything else. You have no control over outcomes no matter how much you THINK you do. Things that happen are just data points and results of actions taken (or not taken) and often have to do with other peoples actions (which you have 0 control over).
Set goals. But do it right. Goals need to be actions, not results. Instead of 'I want to lose 20 lbs of body fat' 'I will work out X times per week and eat paleo meals X% of the time' Your bodyfat weight is just a data point from then on because there is nothing you can do about your bodyfat weight, but there ARE things you can do to manipulate it.
Work out. Get a massage. Orgasm.
Preferably in that order.
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