Finding a Holistic Approach to Stress Management

When we’re stressed out, we often think that a vacation, a long walk or perhaps some ‘me time’ is all we need to hit refresh and feel better. However, much of our stress is actually made worse because of our inability to understand it and manage it at its core; the patterns keep repeating and our stress doesn’t go away. While eating healthy, getting sleep and putting less on our schedules can help reduce some symptoms of stress, it doesn’t get to the root of the problems. That’s where a holistic approach to stress management comes in – it gives us more self awareness and helps balance the harmony of our mental, physical and spiritual selves.

Holistic approaches

What if, instead of stressing about our stress levels, popping pills or downing more caffeine or alcohol, we could find ways to keep it in check more naturally? That’s what a holistic approach to stress management offers, more control and a more conscious way of thinking and living.

Nourish the mind & spirit

We know that there are several psychological and emotional impacts of stress, ranging from anxiety and depression to memory problems, irritability, increased addictive behaviours and more. Below are a few simple ways to reduce or alleviate these symptoms while increasing our coping mechanisms too.

  • Self-reflection and meditation

Mindfulness meditation helps us turn inwards and examine not just our thoughts, but our behaviours, values and experiences to gain a deeper understanding. The end result is more acceptance and less anxiety. There are several types of practices or approaches to self-reflection and meditation, so be sure to do your research, talk to experienced meditators, download some podcasts or guides, and find the ones that best resonate with you. You can also try visualization and guided imagery techniques to nurture your mind.

  • Relaxation techniques

Beyond meditating, there are endless ways to incite relaxation and eliminate stress. Maybe you like to draw, paint, play music, knit, read, write, build, create or pray. These practices are positive ways to slow down that endless chatter in our minds and reflect peacefully, while creating something meaningful.

  • Limit negative energy

If there are people or situations that increase your stress reactions, find ways to remedy the issues or reduce your interactions. This also includes limiting or at least being cognisant of the time spent on cell phones, gaming and with social media. These tend to rob us of valuable time, drain us of our energy and cause us to feel less than the awesome people we are. Love yourself, forgive yourself, be grateful, accept yourself and others…and share those positive vibes freely.

Fueling the body

The physiological effects of stress can range from mild to life-threatening, but their impact on our bodies and overall health is very real. To reduce or eliminate these physical symptoms, try these holistic approaches to stress management:

  • Reduce toxins in our food and in our homes
  • Burn off stress and negative energy with exercise
  • Get outdoors and enjoy fresh air in all weather
  • Get a good night’s sleep and take rests during the day
  • Breathe deeply
  • Practice yoga or tai chi
  • Check in with your body and listen for any signs of potential problems

Holistic approaches to stress management engage our bodies, minds and spirits. With practice and time (and being kind to yourself in the process), you’ll be able to react to stress from a mindset that promotes balance and healing, instead of panic and distress. As a result, we don’t release those stress hormones and then suffer those nasty symptoms, but instead we learn to identify much of life’s supposed stressors as minor nuisances or learning experiences. We learn, we grow and we thrive best when there’s less stress in our way.

“Remain calm, because peace equals power.”- Joyce Meyer