Best Ways to Manage Stress and Implement Stress-Relieving Tools

By Lisa Shanken | Healthy Living

Manage Stress

There are many types of stress and many different ways it can manifest, but one thing is clear: it can absolutely impact a person’s gut health.

Dr.Mercola does an excellent job of explaining the science behind why our bodies start to produce more of the hormone, Cortisol, when we are under stress.

The gut-brain axis, connected by the Vagus nerve, makes the gut and the brain closely related and reactive to one another when a person is under stress. The stress can change the composition of the organisms in the microbiome (aka the gut). A study showed that when mice were under stress for an extended period of time, the mice had an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the gut, reducing microbiota diversity to keep the gut healthy and balanced. This can lead to increased infection, gastrointestinal issues, and inflammation. In other words, stress can actually make you feel physically sick!

Therefore, implementing stress reduction techniques can help maintain a healthy brain>a healthy gut>a healthy body. It's important to find the stress reduction tool that resonates best for you, personally.

Here are some recommendations you can try. It’s important to not only learn these tools but to consistently practice them as well. An accountability partner or coach can help you stay consistent.

Here are 3 recommended stress-relieving tools:

  1. Meditation – Whether it’s Jon Kabat Zinn’s MBSR (The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program is a Buddhist-based approach to meditation. It has been well studied and proven to help decrease stress.), Transcendental Meditation (Founded by Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi, TM is well studied and found to bring inner peace and wellness to people that practice it.), or any other type of meditation practice, quiet meditation is an incredibly powerful way to reduce stress.
  2. Exercise – According to the American Psychological Association, exercise can help reduce stress. Moving and exerting your body produces endorphins, which can make you feel happier and more relaxed, therefore reducing stress. It’s like meditation in motion!
  3. Deep Breathing – Learning to breathe deeply can help slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and lower cortisol levels, making it a great stress-reducer that can be used anytime, anywhere. Teaching and practicing deep breathing during calm times helps you to be more familiar with this tool during a more stressful moment.

The most important part is implementing these practices. I recommend practicing your stress-reducing tool at the same time every day to build it into your new routine and create a new habit. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to talk about getting started with any of these tools. Stress is a powerful emotion, but it is also manageable with the right tools and support.