Finances. Work. Family schedules. Health. If reading any of those words caused a spike in your heart rate, you are not alone. These stressors are common and can cause varying levels of stress.
But not all stress is bad. Some levels of stress are needed to survive and even thrive! New chapters in our lives — new job, growing family, new home — can often increase stress levels, but the excitement and joy attached to those changes are worth figuring out ways to cope.
Learn more stress management tips through the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Physical Health and Wellness program.
You can’t always control what’s causing the stress – good or bad – but you can do something about how your body reacts to it. By focusing on physical health, we can better manage thoughts and emotions
Take 5: When you start to feel overwhelmed, it’s time to take five belly breaths. Breathing exercises are a great way to slow your heart rate. Start by taking a big 3-second breath in through your nose. Feel the breath in your belly as it expands like a balloon, filling up with fresh air. Notice the breath working its way up to your chest and filling the space between your ribs. Hold that breath for 3 seconds. Then, allow your breath to flow up through your throat and back out through your nose or mouth for a final 3 seconds. Repeat these breathing exercises two to four more times, and feel your body soften with relaxation.
Walk it Out: Sometimes we need a change in scenery, especially when stuck inside most of the day. Getting some fresh air on a local trail or in your neighborhood is good for your heart and can help clear your mind so you can focus on important tasks later. It is also a great way to absorb some natural Vitamin D; just remember to wear sun and weather protection. Start with a 10-minute walk goal and work your way up to 30-45 minutes five times a week.
Bit of a Stretch: Our bodies hold on to the stress our minds filter and work through daily. A common area we carry stress is in our shoulders. Are yours feeling tight? Bring your shoulders up toward your ears, creating even more tightness and tension. Hold it for just a few seconds, and then slowly exhale as you allow your shoulders to slowly drop away from your ears. Feeling more relaxed? Take 10-15 minutes for a quick body scan to notice any stress in your body and try a bit of a stretch.
Get Physical: Exercising is a healthy way to combat stress. Not only does physical exercise reduce stress by releasing chemicals in the brain that help us feel better, exercising 150 minutes or more a week reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease. In addition to being good for our heart and lungs, movement loosens and soothes tense muscles and sore joints, reducing pain.
Take a nap: Stress can cause fatigue or insomnia but getting 6 to 8 hours of restful sleep can make a serious difference. A good night’s sleep helps restore energy and rebuilds cells throughout your body, including your brain! It also allows you to wake up to a better memory, attention span, and concentration.
WWP can also help with mental health and overcoming PTSD and combat stress. Find out how here.
Contact: Vesta M. Anderson — Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.570.0771
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.