Stress, the enemy of the modern woman. The truth is, not all stress is necessarily ‘bad’. Stress is a physical response of your body to an unexpected situation that causes the fight or flight response. It demands you kick into action and react. Sometimes that can be a good thing. The point at which stress goes from being that additional push to having a negative effect on your mind and body is when it becomes chronic. Chronic stressors include a variety of things such as an overload of work, financial difficulties, marital arguments, family problems or even the frustration of traffic jams. It is the cumulative effect of all the minor situations that you push down during the day, that end up summoning forth the stress monster.
How does stress really impact your body?
Chronic stress will weaken the immune system and cause high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and even heart disease. The impacts of stress on health vary amongst people, but what most have in common are feelings of anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Things that can greatly impact your everyday lifestyle and hinder you from fulfilling your true potential. Luckily, there are ways to combat stress and lessen its impact on your mind and body.
The first step is determining which physical aspects will make you more susceptible to stress. While we are unable to predict external stressors or create an emotional barrier that would be able to serve as protection, we can train our bodies to be better resistant to stress.
Leaf to the rescue!
Therefore, step one is becoming aware of which aspects of your physical health will impact your stress levels, and how.
A good tool for that is our health tracker, Leaf. It will track your activity, sleep, reproductive health and use the cumulative data to estimate your physical resistance to stress each day. It helps bring awareness as to which areas of your health have room for improvement, and how much each factor contributes to your decreasing stress resistance. Perhaps one of the best parts of the Leaf is that it doesn’t just stop there. It offers a way to de-stress, if you ever feel overwhelmed, in the form of meditations.
Meditate the stress away!
It’s possible you’re rolling your eyes now, or just very convinced that meditating isn’t for you. Many assume that they simply can’t meditate, because they don’t like what they are currently familiar with in terms of meditation. Maybe you just can’t relax when someone is talking, or you find it hard to clear your mind especially when someone else tells you to. Maybe you see no point in repeating some mantra all the time in your head because it just makes your mind wander away more. Everyone is unique, so why should the way everyone meditates be the same or similar?
The goal of meditation is to push other thoughts out of your head, and exist in the moment. Why is that important in relation to stress? Stress is caused by worrying about the future, about the way a current or past situation will impact the following days or even the next few hours. Which is why stress usually comes hand in hand with anxiety – creating additional worry about the future and your place in it, and depression – there to help you convince yourself of failure before you’ve even started. That’s why meditation is the perfect tool to fight stress away. Meditating will help you stay in the present, without overthinking about the future, and often once you’re done with your meditation things will seem a bit clearer and less dark.
Give it a chance!
Hopefully this has at least made you consider giving meditating an honest chance. Now, the trick to doing it successfully is finding what works for you. Audio guided meditations aren’t your thing? You don’t like continually repeating the same mantra in your head?
Have you tried playing ambient sounds and just focusing on your breathing? Sometimes that is all it takes, just taking deep breaths and relaxing with sounds that will take your mind away from the present. If you feel your thoughts drifting, don’t try to force yourself not to think. Focus on your breath, and let the inhale and exhale take over your mind. After a while your thoughts should start fading out.
Try this method the next time, or use it to find one that works for you. Meditation is for everyone, but not everyone meditates the same way.
The meditations in the Bellabeat app come in a variety of forms – those that are guided by a soothing voice, or simply 3D ambient sounds that can take you on your own journey. All meditations are monitored by the Leaf which tracks your breathing and determines the quality of meditation you’ve accomplished. You also have the ability set your own meditation goals and enhance them as you progress. A great tool to help you improve on your meditation step by step.