Three “rescue remedies” that’ll save you from chronic stress

Nope, it’s not just you—right now stress levels are at an all-time high for many of us.

In fact, a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 53 percent of adults in the U.S. have reported stress-related mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression.

But that’s not all.

Research links chronic stress to a long list of dangerous conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. So now, more than ever, it’s important to be vigilant about reducing stress and protecting your overall health. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need side-effect riddled drugs to it.

Instead, your body has built-in mechanisms to help ease stress and anxiety. And today I’m going to show you how to use them…

What happens in your body during stressful times?

The first step in relieving stress is understanding what happens to your body when you experience it.

That heightened feeling you have during a stressful situation is a signal that your sympathetic nervous system—or your “fight or flight” response—is largely determining your thoughts and actions.

And in this state, your body does everything it can to divert your energy and resources to prepare you to literally fight the “threat”—or to run away from it.

Of course, having a disagreement with someone on social media isn’t the same sort of life-or-death situation as a tiger chasing you through the woods, but your body still reacts as if it is.

And therein lies the big problem.

If you don’t actually physically fight or run, all that energy your body just produced goes unused. So it begins to build up and eat away at your muscle tissue, organs, and even brain cells.

This is a key reason why stress is a main contributor to the conditions I mentioned earlier: Heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. But remember, your body has “built-in” tools to help keep stress at bay—and they are effortlessly easy to tap into…

3 “rescue remedies” for stress

Here are three of my favorite “rescue remedies” that can relieve stress almost instantly:

  1. Use sound to “hum away” stress. Humming quickly stimulates the vagus nerve—the longest cranial nerve in your body that interacts with every major organ in your body. And when your vagus nerve is stimulated, it triggers the release of your body’s natural, stress-relieving “feel-good” chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins.


I show you exactly how to do it at the 5:23 mark in this episode of my Sound Health podcast.

  1. Breath control. Breathing exercises have been shown to lower stress-induced high blood pressure and heart rate. Here’s my favorite breathing exercise you can do right along with me.  
  1. The “Five Finger Trick.” This simple exercise eases stress by focusing your senses—specifically sight and touch—with breathwork to interrupt the worry cycle. Here’s how to do it.

As many of us have learned this past year, life can throw some serious challenges your way.

That’s why it’s important to remember the essentials—especially in times like these.

Take extra care of your body, limit all unnecessary negative news, and reach out to loved ones.

And remember, your body’s built-in systems are there to help you—anytime you need them. The more you practice these techniques, the better and faster they’ll work.


Sources:

“Fight or Flight: The Sympathetic Nervous System.” LiveScience.com, 5/9/19 Retrieved from:

“Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation.” Psychology Today (www.PyschologyToday.com),6/6/16  

Jim Donovan image
About the author

Jim Donovan M.Ed., is a professional musician and educator. He's an Assistant Professor at Saint Francis University where he teaches music and how the power of sound can help you experience a healthier life.