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Decompressing Tips to Keep Stress at Bay

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Community Support
August 1, 2022
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Life is full of stress. Things that you might not realize that are stressful may be putting unnecessary weight on your shoulders. Everyone can get anxious and panicked, but those little moments of stress can build up and have serious health effects. Heart conditions, blood disorders, and even gastrointestinal pains and issues can be linked back up to high amounts of anxiety in one way or another.

Mindfulness

It is important to first of all, recognize when you're feeling stressed. Checking in with yourself is good practice to mitigate harm to your body. Aside from serious health concerns, pains and aches of “living” can also be prevented by the simple check in. Are you clenching down or tensed in one area of your body? If you focus on letting go and allowing your body to be as it is and not baring down, it will give your mind and body the rest it needs to recharge. Doing this practice before bed is also helpful to falling asleep faster, and may help unconscious teeth grinding at night. Starting at the toes and making your way up the body, relaxing each muscle as you go.

Hobby

Having a hobby is great to decompress, unless you’re like my fiance who seems to get more stressed out by his hobby of video games. Ask yourself, “When do I feel the most relaxed?” As long as it's not illegal, or hurting anyone, schedule time to do that hobby more often. 

Breathing

A technique known as box breathing is something that can visibly change a person's stress levels. When dealing with high anxiety, controlled breathing will slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. The typical circuit is to breathe in for four seconds, hold that breath for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and hold that for another, you guessed it, four seconds. However it doesn't have to be all fours, it can just be slowed and intentional pausing that still helps in the calming process.

Temperature Stimulation

Something that can be really helpful, especially in the rapid onset of a panic response, is temperature stimulation. When feeling panicked, or that you're about to have an anxiety attack- is a cold compress. Splashing cold water on your face, holding ice cubes or putting something very cold on the inside of your wrist helps reregulate your immediate stress response and calms you back down. Without the fleeting and impulsive initial response to something stressful, you'll be able to rationalize it better. 

Acceptance

Stress is universal, no one lives a stress free life. Some may seem like they have it all together, which in itself can make others feel even more stressed. However there are plenty of tools to help level the playing field and help you get yourself back on the saddle any time you need. Being able to accept that you benefit from decompression tools is half the battle.

About the author: Samantha Harvill graduated, with honors, from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors of Science in Emergency Medicine and was recently commissioned as a Lieutenant in the US Army Reserves. She is an avid runner, and is currently training for her next marathon.
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