11 Natural Ways to Deal with Stress
Stress has everything to do with your overall health! Stress—or our reaction to it—is as powerful as food is, in achieving a high-vibration life or a low-vibration life. We don't always get a say in the stressful situations that come along, but our reactions to them are largely up to us.
I'm going to share some major principles that have helped me live a life of happiness, and relative peace even though I'm a single mom, I travel a lot for work, and I have what by any standards would be called a high-stress job.
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In this article:
- My 11 Natural Ways to Deal With Stress
These concepts I’m going to share have been hard-won for me.
A few years ago, I had a terrible professional experience. I felt deeply wronged by another company whose actions inflicted tremendous harm on me and my business.
The damage was both emotional and financial. I could have spent many months, or even years, of my life pursuing a conflict that would have vindicated me and made me rich. Or, I could settle and end the dispute with peace, light, and forgiveness.
I chose the latter. And this big choice led me to some clarity about all the smaller, daily choices that help change my mindset, my thought patterns, and my overall happiness.
My 11 Natural Ways to Deal With Stress
I want to share with you 11 strategies I learned to reduce stress and stay in high vibration, even through tough circumstances.
1. Opt Out of Drama
I am vigilant about not opting in to negativity and drama in my family, my business, the competitive sports teams I play on, or in intimate relationships.
Keeping it from affecting me takes serious consciousness and commitment about what I'm spending my time thinking about and doing.
I try to spend my unstructured time well. That's time out running, in the shower, or driving. I use my unstructured time to think through problems and turn the energy of something from a negative to a positive.
If I have to have a “high-stakes conversation” with one of my children, an employee, or a friend, I try to devote some time to thinking it through first. I come away knowing what I want to say, what I don’t want to say, and how I want the other person to feel at the end of our conversation.
Here's the thing: my days on this planet are numbered. I want to spend them doing something awesome with my life.
Every five minutes I spend being angry is five minutes of happiness that I gave up. When you get clear on that, all your decisions become easier, and you spend a lot less time on meaningless stuff.
I have this saying on my vision board, and I look at it every day: "Make something beautiful of your life."
I can't make something beautiful of my life if I spend my limited life fighting, regretting, not forgiving, or stewing.
2. Stop Worrying
Read Dale Carnegie's How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. It's kind of a bible for me on how to live.
Severely limiting the amount of time I spend worrying was tough; it didn't come easily to me. One thing Carnegie says is, "Remind yourself of the statistical improbability of whatever you're worrying about actually happening."
Here’s another great nugget for you from the book. Every time you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “Will this matter in a year?” The answer is no 99 percent of the time. If that’s so, let it go.
Buy the book, take it around with you, and read a chapter every day.
A year later, do the same thing all over again. I've read it over and over again, and now, I have the whole book pretty much memorized.
3. Attend To The Feeling Of Stress
Don’t fear your negative emotions. Attend to them and learn to identify them quickly.
Ask yourself, "What am I feeling, and why?" You can't solve something if you don't even know what it is. In my 20s, I used to spend hours or even days being angry and tense without really knowing why.
Back then, I'd spend a lot of time verbalizing to people close to me what I was stressed out about instead of doing the internal work of checking in with myself, breaking it down, and then releasing it.
Now I get real, and I get real fast.
When I’m really clear on what's bothering me, I choose to talk myself through it. I fully feel it, and then I consciously break it down.
Mentally go to a safe place for 60 whole seconds in your mind, and when that has become a practice, you have a potent tool to shift your mental energies.
My “safe place” is at the top of Provo Canyon, where I bike or I ski on either side of the canyon. In a stressful situation, you can “go there” in your imagination. Imagine what it looks like, what it feels like. Imagine the smells. Put yourself there in every way.
I’m so convinced about the effectiveness of this process that I wrote about it extensively in my new book, Vibe: Unlock the Energetic Frequencies of Limitless Health, Love and Success.
(Order the book and get some nice freebies, too!)
In the book, you’ll learn how to reframe and release any negative emotion in 90 seconds or less!
This technique works for more than just stress, and you might find out that your stress is a cover for a different emotion entirely, one you can learn to clear quickly with this tool.
4. Ask Yourself This Question
I want to give you a profound question I learned from my friend Matthew. This is a good one to ask yourself everyday, because checking in with who you are, and how you want to show up today, is far more important than wondering, “What tasks am I going to do today?” (That’s the question most of us default to each morning.)
The question is: "What is the purpose of my life?"
This is what you want most. Really. What is the purpose of your life?
My answer was, I want to be healthy and happy, and I want to help others be healthy and happy. I'm always checking in with what I'm doing or thinking about right now with that goal in mind. Is what I'm doing right now making me or someone else healthier and happier?
5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
And like the classic book says: it's all small stuff! Once you get clear on how much of what we get angry about and worry about is small stuff, our whole life changes for the better.
For my podcast, I interviewed Kristine Carlson, who helped her husband Richard write Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff--And It’s All Small Stuff!
She spoke about how she used the “small stuff” principles to get through Richard’s sudden death in his 40s, at the height of his career as an international best-selling author.
She shared with me how life becomes less scary when you find perspective and get out of your own way. One of my favorite things she said was,
"The beauty of not sweating the small stuff is it frees up all of your focus to your creativity. When you’re not focused on things that don’t matter, you have all the energy you need to focus really on what does."
6. Live in Gratitude
The flip side of not sweating the small stuff is to find joy in the small stuff, every day.
Gratitude works wonders. It’s one of the highest-vibration emotions. When you settle into a reverie of considering all the great people and blessings in your life, your ECG frequencies actually increase by 10 Hz! And the frequencies are strong, steady, and smooth.
Which is how we all like to feel, right?
Almost every day, little things happen that are really cool. Noticing them, and taking a moment to feel grateful for them, can uplevel your quality of life.
When I'm out running or biking, I love to ponder the question, "What do I love about my life?"
My friend Megan Wooden, who found out she had a deadly form of cancer when she had four small children, told me that she writes at the top of her journal page every day, "And the good news is," and she fills it in.
I learned long ago that gratitude is a magic elixir, an antidote to stress.
We all love adults who retain a sense of childlike wonder. I think it’s fun to create gratitude, to remember to be amazed! Blown away! Giddy! Grateful!
Choosing into the amazing vibration of gratitude opens you to recognizing the synchronicities and miracles in your life. They may seem small and common until you exercise mindfulness. Know that gratitude is a choice, not a feeling.
7. Live in Einstein Time
Gay Hendricks wrote a book called The Big Leap that forever changed my life and my relationship with minutes, hours, and days.
His concept of “Einsteinian time” comes from the example Einstein used to explain relativity: an hour with your beloved feels like a minute; a second on a hot stove feels like an hour.
We often speak of time as if we are at the mercy of its limiting control. “I don’t have time,” or “Time got away from me.”
But we all have the same amount of time, and we choose what actions to take in the time we have.
We can either create time with abundance thinking, or create time pressure by scarcity thinking. Don’t crawl into bed and whine; don't kill hours just griping. Roll up your sleeves! Life is amazing when we use our waking hours to be productive, to problem solve, to tend to others' needs.
Notice when you find yourself speaking like a victim of time. For example, “I’d like to stop and chat, but I don’t have time.” Instead, speak as the source and master of time. For example, you could say, “I’ll make time for that.”
Now I know what it is to create time. I know that time doesn't own me. I'm not always breathless and rushed and behind anymore. Time is just a man-made construct; human beings have put markers on it in a variety of ways.
I know that I will make time for the things that matter most.
8. Read and Journal
I love to read. I feel passionate about gaining new knowledge everyday, especially in the area of self-development. Make sure not all of your reading is escape reading. After a year or two of reading the best books that you carefully curate to make you better, you'll find yourself more grounded, more peaceful, with far more tools to calm and de-stress.
It's also a great way to build your character, through studying, pondering, and talking to others around you about the stuff that you're learning. Journal what you learn so that it becomes part of your way of being.
9. Forgive and Let Go
Practice the art of letting go and forgiving someone on a regular basis.
Make letting go a guiding principle of who you are.
This is what I learned from my divorce: how many things I can let go of, and fast. So many things in my life changed at that time so quickly; I had to decide whether to cling to them, screaming and kicking, or to accept and be at peace.
Make a goal of forgiving people more quickly and easily. More peace and forgiveness of others = less toxicity = better health = purer love for everyone around me = more joy.
10. Reach Out
A lot of times the answer to what seems a devastating problem is a lot simpler and quicker than you think.
Even as unique as you are, I guarantee there are others who have found their way through the same problems you’re facing now.
Ask yourself, "Who can help me with this?" Reach out. Call on the relationships you’ve built. Sometimes the only way through a problem is, well, through it, and even if there is not a ready solution, the people who love you will strengthen and lift you on the journey through. Putting words on what’s eating you, with someone you trust, is a great first step.
11. Believe In Karma
Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, "Cast your bread upon the waters, and after many days, it will come back to you." I’ve always seen that as the law of karma in scripture.
If you're doing good works, then good is going to flow back to you. Sooner or later. Maybe indirectly. The Hindus use the concept of “karma” exclusively with a negative meaning (“bad karma”), but we Westerners believe in good karma, too. Don’t you?
Believe in it, and put some good stuff out there. It's going to flow back, and it's going to be all over you before you know it.
Did you notice that I didn’t mention nutrition, exercise, or sleep to combat stress? Of course these elements are important; good nutrition strengthens you against the health effects of stress, exercise gives you those great endorphins to counteract negativity, and sleep recharges you.
But I wanted to give you some other strategies I’ve learned that have pulled me through some of the worst times in my life.
What are your healthy ways to deal with stress? I’d love to hear one of yours.
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
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