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Unconventional Ways to Manage Stress

Many practitioners talk about the importance of managing our stress, but don't give a lot of options apart from the cliched "yoga, meditation and journaling" -- don't get me wrong, I love these three options, but they aren't always the right fit for everyone.

Lets look at some ways to manage stress that you may not have thought of.

Different Ways to Manage Stress: 1. Body scan before bed: This is one of my favorites. Before bed take about 5-10 minutes to "scan" your body. Start from the top of your head and slowly work your way down "checking in" at the forehead, jaw, ears, throat, down to the neck, chest, abdomen, etc. until you end up at your feet. As you scan each area focus on relaxing the muscles in this area. I try to visualize water or oil pouring down from my head to my toes, relaxing everything it touches. I find this is a good way to check in and release tension we didn't know we were carrying. 2. Use an essential oil vaporizer / diffuser - scents like lavender or citrus have been shown to promote relaxation and reduce stress 3. Be extremely mindful when doing rote tasks: This might seem like a strange one, but if you put all of your focus into things like washing the dishes, or folding laundry - not just focusing on the task itself but the way things smell, the way things feel in your hands - it can help us to take our mind off of the problems of the day. 4. Pick up a hobby that is rhythmic or repetitive in nature: knitting, crocheting, coloring, something that you can use to turn off your "monkey mind" and focus on completely. 5. Prepare Simple Meals, and Cook Ahead of Time: If cooking is a source of stress for you, meal preparation can help to make eating less of a hassle. 6. Spend Time in Nature (While also being mindful): Don't just walk around, pay attention to what you see, hear, and feel. 7. Feel Your Emotions Fully: Many stressed people tend to bottle up feelings of frustration, sadness or anger. This only leads to problems down the road. Allow yourself to feel things fully, and then move on. Cry if you need to. Write down the things that are worrying you on a piece of paper and then rip it up. Whatever it takes. 8. Find Reasons to Laugh! (Or force yourself to): Did you know that you can trick your brain to be less stressed just by smiling? (Even if you don't necessarily feel like smiling?) - This brings "fake it til you make it" to a whole new level! 9. Get Creative! Find an aspect of "play" in your life again. Don't worry about being bad at it, just do it for the fun! Paint, draw, sing, play an instrument, anything to get you in a more creative state of mind. 10. Gratitude: This might sound like a cheesy one, but the practice of gratitude has been shown to help us cope better with change by shedding light on the blessing we have in our life. If you're feeling overwhelmed by work or life, try and remember the things you have to be grateful for.

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