Life's hard. Everything is so fast-paced these days. You can feel pulled in 10 different directions, all the time. Trying to find balance and keeping your sanity can seem like a near-impossible feat.
But stress less. We got you.
The key to making all your troubles go away (or at least become easier to manage)? You need to loosen up a little. Take a chill pill. Relax!
Yea, right. Way easier said than done...
Or is it?
Whilst it would be nice to forget about your worries and move to a deserted island, that's not an option for most of us.
So we've uncovered the next best thing. A recipe of stress-relieving techniques, and some brilliant ways that CBD can add a bit of calm to your crazy.
It's no secret that we are lovers of CBD. New uses for it are appearing all the time. But, we need a lot more research before we can cite a lot of these claims as true.
One of the original - and we think most effective - uses for CBD is to reduce anxiety and stress.
Evidence of how CBD can provide relief is mainly based on experience as opposed to evidence. Research is playing catch up to individual claims of CBD benefits.
We recommend trying CBD for yourself. See if it works for your body before believing everything that you read on the internet. Just because it worked for someone else's stress, doesn't mean you'll see results.
So far, researchers think that CBD affects our body's homeostasis. That's why it can do opposite things (keep you alert and focused, but also relaxed and sleepy).
Homeostasis is the body's internal mechanism for keeping everything balanced. When we are in a perfect state of homeostasis is when we can function as our optimal selves.
Which is why CBD can make you both more awake, and more sleepy. Because it helps with homeostasis - balancing your body as needed.
In situations of extreme stress, homeostasis becomes off-balanced. This is true in one-off instances which lasts a few seconds or minutes, and stress that lasts for months on end.
If you can relate to either of these situations, CBD may prove useful.
For ongoing, long-lasting relief, we suggest using a CBD Tincture. Incorporating a few drops of CBD into your daily routine may improve how you deal with stress. and how you deal with existing stressors.
CBD Tincture is useful in many ways. You can swallow a few drops, put some in your breakfast or coffee, or let the oil absorb under your tongue.
Needing an immediate hit of stress-relieving goodness? Why not give CBD Vape a try! When taken in vape form, CBD enters your bloodstream and takes effect quicker. Because it involves inhalation, you are also able to control your CBD dosage much better.
Need to take a slight edge off? Take a small hit.
Feeling extremely overwhelmed and in despair? Take a few long pulls.
Feeling a lot calmer, but could still use a little more? Take top-up hits as required.
If you want to learn about how to take CBD Oil, we wrote a whole article on the pros and cons of different methods. Read it here.
When we become super stressed, breathing can almost become a secondary task. As silly as that sounds, our mind operates breath as a subconscious function when we have a lot going on. We are not aware of our breathing, how often or how deeply we are letting oxygen into our lungs.
A slight reduction in oxygen levels of our body is enough to increase stress levels.
Add that on top of a crying child or a looming deadline?
Yep. Stress, stress, stress.
We don't breathe the same all the time. Think about how you breathe when you're going to sleep. Telling a story. Jogging a mile.
When you don't think about it, breath only accommodates your body's physiological needs. But different breaths can alter our stress levels.
So let's try something together.
Take a second to be conscious of your breath. Don't try and control it. Just - ponder.
The simple act of bringing breath into our conscious mind can be enough to take the edge off.
Taking things further - concentrate on deep breathing. Expansive breaths that fill your lungs with oxygen. Let air in through your nose, travel down towards your stomach, and expand your lower abdomen.
Many relaxation practices include a large focus on breath movement. Some studies such as yoga call it Pranayamic breathing and see the breath as the energy source of life. Research is still being done into why controlled breathing increases calm and relaxation. Whilst the 'why' is still being explored, the 'what' is evident when you take a deep breath. Not only do you feel less stressed, but physiological readings show signs of stress reduction.
A correlation has also been found between breath, focus and the brain. People practicing intentional breathing have altered levels of noradrenaline in their brain. When we're stressed, we have too much noradrenaline chemical. When we're tired, we don't have enough. Breathing exercises can help the brain reach a happy medium, and optimize the body's natural focus.
That's all well and good, you may say.
But how do you practice conscious breath?
There are plenty of ways to bring focus to your breath and optimize breath for relaxation.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
If you don't have a lot of time, this is a great option that can be done quickly and quietly, no matter where you are.
Place your hands on your stomach, so you can feel as your breath enters your body.
Breathe in slowly.
Count to three.
Breathe out slowly.
Count to three.
Repeat as many times as necessary to recenter focus and calm. This is a quick and easy technique. Sometimes all it takes to relax is focusing internally, away from the craziness of the world.
This exercise breaks up how long you inhale, hold, and exhale breath. It's important to make sure you are pulling air down to your belly, and not just to the top of your chest.
As you inhale, slowly count to four.
Hold your breath, and count to seven.
Breathe out completely until you feel that there is no air left in your lungs, to the count of eight.
Repeat this exercise as many times as it takes to feel calm. We recommend at least four rounds.
Pranayama is the practice of breath as energy. According to this practice, our right nostril is associated with heating energy - like the sun. The left nostril is associated with cooling energy like the moon.
When we breathe through both nostrils, sun and moon energy are, in a way, battling against each other. Breathing through one nostril at a time can help reintegrate and harmonize breath.
This practice works best when sitting down in a comfortable position.
First, block your left nostril with your thumb, and focus on inhaling through your right nostril.
To exhale, block your right nostril with your pinky finger of the same hand. Imagine making a 'shakas' to alternate nostril blocking.
Breathe out through your left nostril.
In through right, out through left.
Repeat this for a few minutes. We recommend a minimum of two minutes, but only continue this practice for as long as it feels comfortable.
Perform this exercise on both sides.
On the other side, you will be breathing in through the left nostril, and breathing out through the right nostril.
Acupressure has been a major component of Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
It involves using pressure points to activate self-healing and to move energy in the body.
According to Chinese medicine, our bodies contain Yin and Yang energy. When these energies become imbalanced is when we start getting sick, tired and rundown.
By correcting imbalances and improving flow, acupressure can encourage the body to return to a natural state of balance.
Acupuncture is an increasingly popular method of Chinese medicine practice in Western society. It involves encouraging energy flow with the help of needles and pressure points.
Acupuncture can be extremely beneficial. But, researchers are still discovering how it fits into Western medicine practices. It has been found to help with certain conditions, but doctors are still figuring out why.
If you're still getting your head around needles, acupressure is an effective alternative that you can try at home.
And the good news is - you won't need a single needle.
Acupressure is great at relieving stress and increasing relaxation.
How can you practice acupressure at home?
Different parts of our body can be stimulated to assist the flow of different things. The most common and comfortable way of stimulation involves firm pressure applied in circular motions.
Here are some points of stress-relieving acupressure to get you started:
Rubbing this point is said to help with headaches, neck pain, and stress. Avoid stimulating this area if you are pregnant, as it may induce labor.
Turn your hand over, palm facing up. Using the three middle fingers of your opposite hand, line your fingers up with the crease where your wrist meets your hand. The point where your three-finger-measurement stops is where this pressure point is located.
This point is known for reducing anxiety, nausea, and pain.
It's a great one to remember if you experience motion sickness. Applying pressure to this point can make a world of difference to your travel experience.
This point is located between your big toe and second toe. Locate where the two join. Then, move slightly towards the ankle and away from the toes.
It has been found that this point can significantly reduce period pain.
It's also a great reliever of anxiety and stress and may help if you suffer from insomnia.
Cited as the location of our 'Third Eye', the point directly between the eyebrows can be very efficient in reducing anxiety. If you're feeling nervous about something, applying pressure here can create a sense of calm.
Surely these squishy, often logo-emblazoned balls have no use other than as a cheap marketing ploy?
As it turns out, they just are an effective stress-relieving tool.
When we experience stress, our bodies become filled with buzzing, nervous energy. Immediately, everything becomes more difficult because our energy is so immense. Often, it becomes difficult to focus on any one task.
The solution? Find a way to let out some of that unwanted energy.
Stress induces physiological changes in the body. It's part of our hard-wired caveman responses which have kept the human species alive for all this time.
Back in the day, stressful situations involved running towards something to eat or running away from something that wanted to eat you.
These days, most stressful situations aren't nearly so physical.
But our physiological responses to stress can't tell the difference between a wild animal and a demanding boss.
Which is why a stress ball can be such a useful stress-relieving tool.
Squeezing that squishy, foam sphere can act as an energy-releasing tool, saving you from becoming overly pent up.
The benefit of stress balls is that they can be used pretty much anywhere. They aren't the perfect solution to pent up stress - for that we recommend some proper physical activity involving your whole body. But they're a great release to keep on your desk for times when it all becomes too much to handle.
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