3 Surefire Ways to Lower Your Stress Response

3 Surefire Ways to Lower Your Stress Response

Stress is a major cause when it comes to a variety of health problems. It can sneak up on you in ways you may not even realize, creating all kinds of unwanted challenges for your mind and body. 

Learn to recognize stress related signs and then apply these 3 surefire ways to lower your stress response. It is your only defense against this silent intruder that can negatively affect muscle pain, cardiovascular health, weight gain, depression, reproduction, anxiety, and so much more.

Stress Causes

You may go about your day not giving much thought to the many factors that lead to stress triggers. However, the moment one of these triggers is pushed you could begin feeling the pressure. As reported by The America Institute of Stress (AIS), several statistics from the American Psychological Association (APA) cite various top stress causes for Americans. These include:

  • Money – Loss of job, reduced retirement, medical expenses
  • Work – Co-worker tension, bosses, work overload
  • Health – Health crisis, terminal or chronic illness
  • Relationships – Divorce, death of spouse, arguments with friends, loneliness
  • Poor nutrition – Inadequate nutrition, caffeine, processed foods, refined sugars
  • Sleep deprivation – Inability to release adrenaline and other stress hormones
  • Political climate – Worry for nation, personal disagreements, lack of control
  • Violence/crime – Fear of danger, news stories, location anxiety
  • Media overload – Excessive television, radio, internet, e-mail, social networking

Understanding these triggers is the first step in recognizing how to pinpoint what may be pushing your stress buttons. Once you target your stress factor or factors then you can concentrate on ways to lower your response. 

Deep Breathing

It may be hard to believe but you might not be breathing correctly. Books are written on proper breathing techniques as bad habits and lack of adequate breathing information has many people mindlessly gulping for air throughout their day. Taking the time to concentrate on deep breathing can significantly reduce your stress response. Essentially, it is best to breathe deep in your nose and out your mouth. 

Harvard Medical School recommends breathing control as follows:

“Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth.”

Although sitting in a quiet place and using positive imagery can enhance deep breathing and reduce stress, this technique can be used just about anywhere. You can be stuck in traffic, sitting on a plane, or walking down the street, either way, deep breathing will tone the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a major player in stress response and by breathing deep you can increase what is called ‘vagal tone’ to help calm your system. 

If you are in a private setting you can also add a deep groaning “ahhhh” sound to your outgoing breath. This could resonate into a bundle of intertwining nerves found in your solar plexus (midsection) and calm your stress even more.

Get Out and Connect 

Physical social connection may not be your thing but if you make an effort to be around people your stress level will naturally reduce. Known as the upward-spiral dynamic, positive connections to other humans can enhance vagal tone (strengthens the vagus nerve). 

An experimental research project by researchers at the Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina found that,

“This experimental evidence identifies one mechanism-perceptions of social connections-through which positive emotions build physical health, indexed as vagal tone. Results suggest that positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining upward-spiral dynamic.”

Make more of an effort to be around friends and family, join a club of your interest, get involved in a spiritual or religious group. These are just some ways to connect and reduce stress. 

Aerobic Qi Medicine

Ancient Chinese medicine teaches of the continued flow of qi (“chee” – life force energy). When this qi becomes obstructed, stress and then disease can ensue. Aerobic cardio movement can alleviate much of your stuck qi and boost your systemic response to stress improving your immune system, vagal tone, and circulation.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reported that, 

“Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.” 

Whether it’s a five minute pick-me-up, a thirty-minute lunch workout, or a full hour of cardio output you are sure to spark increased qi and reduce stress. 

These 3 surefire ways to lower your stress response should be easy to integrate into your life. Overall, you don’t need much time or money to implicate stress reduction steps. Once you begin using these tools to your advantage you can add in other additional stress response tools such as a clean plant-based diet, more sleep, and aromatherapy. It doesn’t take much to positively change, all it takes is the student (you) to be ready and the master (you) will arrive.