Your Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Stress Levels
December 11, 2020
Fact: We’re all a little stressed these days. Whether it’s the constant, impending sense of doom, anxiety over upcoming holiday plans, or the lack of a work-life balance, finding ways to manage that stress is very much needed. And when it comes to the way stress manifests itself in your body, the results vary in the most dramatic of ways — consider that intense migraine or sudden, under-the-skin anxiety breakout as proof.
But just because stress is all-too-common in our lives, that doesn’t mean we can’t get a handle on it. Enter Dr. Debbie Magids and Dr. Jaime Schehr of 360 UpClose. Founded with the mission of helping people achieve total well-being by addressing both the mind and body, both Dr. Magids and Dr. Schehr have been working to create seminars and webinars to provide their clients the tools they need to change their lives for the better. Here, they outline ways to help manage your stress levels, and tools you can use when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Many of us are acutely aware of the role stress plays in our lives but where can one begin in their journey to living a more balanced life?
We both have a strong belief that to live a balanced life, it’s not what we do on any one day that matters, but what we do most days. The more nuanced answer is not cookie cutter. We all have to take a hard look at our individual lives, habits, and patterns to accurately see what we are doing that is impacting the balance in our lives.
Are we spending too much time on social media? Drinking too much? Eating too many sweets? Watching too much news? You fill in the blanks.
What we will say, universally, is try to stay in the present moment with the ones you love, make sure you eat a balanced diet (at least half from vegetables and not overdo the sugar); get enough sleep; and last but not least, pay attention to what you feed your mind during the last five minutes of the day. You need to fall asleep with a clear head; not stressed, not afraid, and not over-stimulated. There should be no news watching and no social media for the last hour of your night.
Can you recommend a few tools for helping to manage stress?
Meditation is our #1 recommendation. It is a tool we all have at our disposal that is underutilized! It has so many benefits from decreasing stress and helping your body function more healthily, to reaching an improved emotional world. There are many ways to practice such as Transcendental Meditation (TM) or simply downloading the CALM app onto your iPhone. See below for a great book to get you started.
Positive Psychology. The tenets of positive psychology are the most effective principles one can incorporate into their lives. They address optimism, gratitude, forgiveness, giving back, attending to your sense of play/joy, connecting to others, giving your all to your work, acting on your dreams, and finding meaning and purpose in life. We highly recommend looking further into these principles by reading Martin Seligman, Ph.d., and Shawn Achor.
Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques. So much stress is added because of the way we think about things. Feelings follow thoughts and therefore if we challenge our thoughts, our bodies will have a different reaction. Pay attention to the negative loop you have in your heads, and practice thought-stopping; the ability to change negative thought to something more positive. Additionally, keep in mind, ‘just because you feel something doesn’t make it true’. Learn to challenge your feelings, go to the actual data of your life, and try to live based on truth vs a feeling.
Exercise. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of moving your body. Too many people stop moving unless they are in a good “ rhythm” exercising 4-5 times/week. All or nothing never works. You have to try to move as much as possible. If you can only exercise 2x a week or less, just do it, and continually try to move. Go for walks. Get up from your chair every hour and walk around your home. Movement is everything.
We love a good read! Are there any books that you can recommend helping us on our journey to live a more balanced life?
- Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book will help you gain a clear understanding of your habits. It’s about knowing the ‘right’ things to do, but not doing them. It's brilliantly written in a way that helps you understand what a habit is, how to let bad habits go, and replace them with new (and better) habits.
- Wherever You Go There You Are - Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zin. Present-moment awareness is key to living a balanced life as we said above. This book will help you develop a deeper understanding of this mindfulness practice.
- Seat of the Soul by Gary Zucov. This is one of our favorite books ever! It helps you explore the deepest parts of yourself from a spiritual perspective. Explore ways to find inner peace and calm, which is what finding balance is all about.
- Secrets of Meditation by Davidji. For anyone who needs to be introduced to meditation (what it means, the benefits, and the different types you can practice), this is the book for you. From our experience, he is one of the best teachers out there.
Want to learn more about 360 UpClose? Reach out to them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with Dr. Magids at email@example.com, or Dr. Schehr at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Dr. Magids and Dr. Scher on social media at @drdebbiemagids and @jaimeschehr on Instagram!