#14 Dr. Andrea Maxim, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Speaker, And Author Of ‘MAXIMized Health’
The best piece of advice I received from a seminar I listened to on Stress was this – “If you’re not going to stress out about this 1 year from now, do not bother about stressing out about it now”. That means if you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, don’t sweat it! If a deadline is looming, you will always get your tasks accomplished so do not start doubting yourself now. Stress is just a mental game and it does not need to win every time.
If you’re having difficulties dealing with stress or stressful situations, I always gravitate towards herbs: Black Current Bud, St. John’s Wort, Oatstraw or Skullcap. These help you keep your cool when you feel like you’re entering hot water. Other remedies can offer you instant relief when the anxiety starts mounting like Rescue Remedy drops or Pasceflair tablets.
If these suggestions are unattainable and you need relief now, start with one deep belly breath. You can literally change your hormones with one deep breath. Try it now! Put your hand on your belly and take a deep breath in through the nose (count of 3) and out through the mouth (count of 3). If that hand doesn’t rise and fall, you are not deep belly breathing. You must fill those lungs with air completely to change your stress response.
#15 Dr. Sue Johnson
Founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy, Author, Psychologist, Researcher, Professor, Speaker
The evidence is clear – we can meditate, we can exercise, we can try to interrupt negative thoughts, but the very best way to deal with stress and uncertainty is to turn to someone you trust, especially a partner who is close and safe, and share your anxiety.
We may think that this strategy is somehow less adult or functional, but in fact, for our highly social mammalian brain, the touch and comfort of a loved one is an extremely powerful safety cue and calms our nervous system in an optimal and efficient way. This is the most ancient and most obvious strategy for dealing with stress, but in our modern world we seem to have decided that it is simply a sign of weakness. Not so.
When we share, we order our emotions, find words that make sense of our fears, reach for the support of another and receive the comfort that can turn off fear and pain. New evidence shows that simply holding a loved one’s hand can turn off the brain’s alarm response and reduces the pain of electric shock.
#16 Rae Indigo
Yoga Teacher, Blogger
My philosophy is, rather than cope with stress, to use preventative measures to keep it from arising in the first place. I start by distinguishing between good stress and bad stress. As we all know a certain amount of stress is necessary to keep us motivated, otherwise we would tend to become lethargic and sedentary. When we observe nature it’s easy to see that there is no evolution without a certain amount of stress, but if that stress becomes prolonged (chronic), then suffering ensues and health issues are likely to follow. Coping with stress means that we have reached that point where our overall wellness is compromised and then something must be done or the condition becomes progressive.
The following is a short list of some of the things I do to stop stress in its tracks when it becomes excessive or chronic.
Breathe. When I feel as if my pot is about to boil over, I breathe, slowly, deeply and most of all mindfully. It’s amazing how just a minute or two of conscious breathing can bring about a state of calm.
Eat well. The more plant-based foods the better. They also keep your system alkaline. Meats and other heavy protein foods, refined sugars, trans fats, fast foods and processed foods all set up an acid condition in the body, and an acid system produces inflammation, and inflammation causes stress.
Exercise. I do yoga, but anything that gets your body moving is good; take a brisk walk for 20 minutes every day, go to the gym, ride a bike, take up swimming, Tai Chi, Aerobics, Pilates, resistance/strength training, the list is endless, but do something that raises your heart rate just to the point where you’re about to break a sweat.
Rest. A good night’s sleep is always a stress buster. You’ll wake up to a brand new day and a new perspective after a good night’s rest. If the first three tips on this list are followed, it is pretty well assured that you’ll sleep soundly.
#17 Bernie Clark
Yoga Teacher, Creator of YinYoga.com
Stress is unavoidable in our culture, and some amount of stress is actually needed for our bodies to be strong and healthy. All exercise includes the dual components of stress and rest. However, when we experience too much stress and not enough rest, problems arise. In physiological terms we are hyperactive in our Sympathetic Nervous System (which controls the ‘fight-or-flight’ response) and hypoactive in our Parasympathetic Nervous System (which controls the ‘rest-&-digest’ response).
The key activity that turns off the fight-or-flight system and activates the rest-&-digest system is breathing. Not just any old breath, but a proper yogic breath. A slow, deep, even breath will create a relaxed nervous system, yielding a calm mind, which in turn will help the breath become slower and more even. A positive feedback loop can be established that increases the effectiveness of the PNS and increases GABA production.
There are many forms of breathwork in yoga (called pranayamas). Some are very active and stimulating, and there are times when these pranayamas are beneficial, but to turn on the PNS, we need the slow, deep pranayama known as ujjayi. Ujjayi means “victorious breath”. A nice modern term for this kind of breathing is “ocean breathing.”
#18 Ed and Deb Shapiro
Authors, Bloggers on Oprah.com & Huffingtonpost.com, Meditation Experts, Corporate Coaches
When situations or emotions are running high it’s easy to say, “Just let go.” But once something has been picked up and reacted to then it’s already affecting us, so letting go doesn’t always work. Once, we were disagreeing and getting heated with each other, when a wise friend said, “Can’t you just laugh?” It reminded us that the ego loves to be right, easily over-reacts, and clings to itself. So instead of letting go we prefer, “Don’t even pick it up.” This allows us to stay mindful, objective, and for the ego to lose its grasp. It also enables us to not take ourselves too seriously and to remain good friends. Our guru is Lord Teflon, as nothing sticks to Teflon!
#19 Kerry Belviso
Kinesiologist And Creator Of The www.healmyadrenalfatigue.com E-course
When you’re going through a stressful time, the thoughts you have can make you feel even more tired, overwhelmed and disempowered.
The first step is to observe the thoughts you’re experiencing. We can easily see that thoughts like, “I can’t believe this is happening,” “This isn’t fair,” “I should be handling this better,” “I can’t handle this,” “This kind of thing always happens to me,” or “I’m not good enough,” will make us feel more depleted and less resourceful. If you notice thoughts like these creeping in, there is no need to judge yourself. Judging and criticizing yourself for your negative thoughts only contributes to the problem!
Instead, try this. Firstly, give yourself some compassion. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, there is probably a good reason. Think about how you would speak to a good friend or close family member who was in your situation. A simple, “I am so sorry you’re going through this, what can I do to support you?” can make such a difference. Try using these words or similar to yourself. You don’t need to use positive self-talk that feels false or untrue, but try statements like, “You’re doing really well, given the circumstances,” “What’s the next step I can take?”, “My best is good enough.” Supporting yourself and being kind and loving towards yourself during stressful times can make a huge difference.
#20 Ruth A. Baer, PhD
Professor of Psychology, Author of The Practicing Happiness Workbook
A surprisingly helpful way to cope with stress is to look right at it with mindful awareness. This sounds counter-intuitive because we’re usually trying to escape from stress. We push it away with food, alcohol, shopping, TV, the internet, work, or other distractions. But we handle stress much better when we’re mindfully aware. We see more clearly what’s really happening. This provides time to make wise decisions about what to do.
The next time you’re feeling stressed, take a few moments to slow down and observe. Notice your body sensations: racing heart, churning stomach, sweaty palms, tense muscles. Observe the thoughts and emotions that are swirling around, as if they were leaves blown about by the wind on an autumn day. As best you can, let go of judgments and criticisms and allow your thoughts and feelings to be as they are. They’re understandable, given the stressful circumstances.
Observe a few breaths and adopt an attitude of kindness toward yourself. Open your mind to the options for what to do next. You may be surprised at the wisdom that emerges from within when you’re mindful in the face of stress.
#21 Kelly Brogan, MD
Holistic Women’s Health Psychiatrist
Here’s what to do when you feel stressed:
- Notice and acknowledge your discomfort.
- Relax and release it no matter how urgent it feels. Let the energy pass through you before you attempt to fix anything.
- Imagine sitting back up on a high seat, in the back of your head watching your thoughts, emotions, and behavior with a detached compassion.
- Then ground yourself. Connect to the present moment – feel the earth under your feet, smell the air, imagine roots growing into the earth from your spine.
Do this in a spirit of non-judgment because this isn’t an exercise done for mastery; it’s a decision that you make every time you feel disturbed inside.
Integrating these practices or routines into your life may do more than support longevity and optimal health. It may reverse chronic disease, eliminate the need for medications, and most importantly confer a greater sense of life satisfaction, happiness, and freedom to be here, in the present, where the wonder of this never-before-existent moment is unfolding before you.
#22 Gemma Boyd
Qualified Holistic Counsellor And Meditation Guide
When we’re stressed, we go into a fight-or-flight response which has all sorts of detrimental side effects, especially when we’re in this mode for a prolonged period. One of the things we do when stressed is hold our breath or breathe more rapidly and take more shallow breaths. We’re permanently hyperventilating which can lead to side effects like depression, insomnia, muscle fatigue and trouble recovering from exercise or trauma.
Any time I’m faced with a stressful or confronting situation, I take just a moment for some 4-7-8 breathing. I simply take a deep breath in for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, then exhale fully for eight seconds.
By breathing out for twice as long as you breathe in, you’re performing full diaphragmatic breathing. You’re getting your breathing back to normal, interrupting the stress response and restoring your body to its natural, relaxed state. This breathing exercise is a great circuit breaker in stressful situations to enable you to respond in a more calm and constructive manner. It’s also great exercise to do before getting out of bed in the morning to start the day in a fresh, healthy and positive way.
#23 Emily Hall
Wellness Practitioner And Body Intuitive
Working with The Elements is a simple, yet profound, gateway to achieve stress reduction. Our needs change constantly and it becomes a beautiful process to discover which Element, or combination of Elements, can provide stress relief.
Here are some examples of working with The Elements to incorporate into your life:
Earth ~ Find a special stone in the yard, garden or favorite walking path to carry in a pocket or place on the desk at work. Hold a piece of driftwood in hand, feel the body shift awareness as it connects with the wood. ~ I feel grounded.
Water ~ Be conscious with gratitude while showering/bathing to release stressors. During a work day; find a sink, allow water peacefully to run over hands and arms. ~ I release stress.
Air ~ Pay attention to breath for a handful of cycles, and adjust to a calming rhythm. Open a window or turn on a fan and let wind blow over your face and hair. ~ I allow change and transition.
Fire ~ Purposeful and safe use of fire with candles in the home or office. Occasionally turn off the lights and sit with a candle or outside with fire grate. ~ I release stress with purpose and centeredness.
Metal ~ When working with Metal as an Element it benefits us to choose which Metals we have around. For example, wearing copper or gold jewelry, or cooking with cast iron. ~ I choose.
#24 Stephanie Greunke, MS, RD
Runs a private practice focusing on women’s health
Whenever I feel stress starting to pile up, it’s a good reminder for me to check in with my personal core values and desired feelings. I reflect on how I want to FEEL at the end of the day. It’s important for me to feel abundance, vibrant, love(d), nourished, and free. If I am presented with a task that at the end of the day won’t provide me with one of those outcomes, I pass. If I absolutely can’t pass on the task, I find a way to make it fit my desired feelings. For example, I can’t always pass on doing the dishes, but if I blast some of my favorite music in the background while I’m doing them, I can connect with my need for feeling vibrant and free!
In the past, I’ve had a really hard time saying no to opportunities and was fearful that I was missing out on something. Now, it’s much easier for me to say no, since not all opportunities will lead to those desired feelings. Figuring out how you want to feel and making choices based on those feelings is the key to designing a life with less stress.
#25 Dr. Mark Starr
MD Specializing in Integrative Medicine, Pain, Hormones, and the Rehabilitation of Sports Injuries
More than half of our population in America suffers from hypothyroidism. Dr. Broda Barnes’ longterm study, Thierry Hertoghe’s study, as well as my own clinical experience indicates that the average adult dosage to resolve hypothyroidism is 3 to 3½ grains of desiccated thyroid. The equivalent dosages for those with severe allergies and/or Hashimoto’s Disease are T4-114mcg/T3-27mcg for 3 grains, and 3½ grains equals T4-133/T3-31.5mcg.
A large majority of my patients require adrenal supplements in order to tolerate the dosages of thyroid that are required to restore their health. By balancing the thyroid and adrenal support, patients are much less susceptible to stressors in general. All the details are included in my first book, Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic.
#26 Jacob Teitelbaum, MD
Author, Researcher, And Director Of The Practitioners Alliance Network
Here’s a magical Tai Chi move to eliminate adrenal stress.
In decades gone by, the advertising executives mantra was “Sex Sells!”. For the last several decades, however, it has changed to “Fear Sells!”. This results in the “24 hour news networks” battling to find the “crisis of the day”. Meanwhile, most of what they report is not really news, but rather fictions. Don’t believe it? Then watch the same event being reported on by the 5+ major news networks and you’ll think they were reporting on different planets! So you are not going to get informed watching — you’re just going to exhaust your adrenals.
So, here is a great Tai Chi move to heal your adrenals. When watching TV, as long as what you are watching feels good, enjoy yourself. When it starts feeling bad:
- Sit up straight
- Pause, calm and center
- Inhale through your nose
- Reach your arm far over to the side
- Pick up the remote and click “Off”!
Your adrenals will thank you!