FROM RACHAEL CLAIRE | PARENTING & LIFESTYLE BLOGGER

HARD-WIRED FOR STRESS: WHAT WE ALL NEED TO DO TO INVOKE TO POWER OF REST

   INVOKE STRESS

 

Do you find that life is a never-ending barrage of things to do? No matter how much free time you have, there’s always something lurking in the back of your mind. This could be life admin or even something as “important” as managing your social media accounts. By piling undue pressure upon ourselves, we never get the opportunity to officially relax. Even if our diaries are empty, we spend a lot of time doing other things to occupy our minds. Now, occupying our minds is not a bad thing, per se, but because we spend so much time loading our minds with information on a constant basis, when you think about this in comparison to what life was like around 20 years ago, where, even though do we ever really take the opportunity to step back from the stresses of modern life and embrace relaxation and rest, not just in a physical sense, but in an emotional one?

Do We Need To Quieten Our Minds?

Yes, it can be a process that we all need to undertake. We are all aware of the internal chatter that our brains can throw up on a constant basis. Without going full hippie, the process of meditation is something you can do to quieten your mind. But without calling it meditation, having the opportunity to contemplate your life is something we all need to benefit from nowadays. Now, if we fill our days with checking social media, and in doing this, we are looking at how other people are seemingly doing much better than us, this is only going to have negative effects on our mindsets.

Learning to quieten your mind gives you the opportunity to regain a sense of perspective. Being emotionally rested is completely different to being physically rested. The problem is that lots of us equate one with the other. And we all have a different method of calming our minds, but lots of us lean towards the guilty pleasures in life. This means that if we’ve had a particularly tough day, and we slump on the couch physically exhausted, the temptation is to reach for the unhealthy snacks. We’ve all done it – ordered a pizza when we couldn’t be bothered to cook, but it’s going back to that idea of making these unhealthy snacks a treat, and just that. No doubt, we’ve all earned the right to have a pizza when we’ve had a particularly rough week, but the problems begin when we rely on junk food to see us through what we justify as being a bad time. This means that we need to spend more time working through our own emotional issues.

Quietening your mind is the pathway to getting a sense of clarity. In essence, we need to quieten our minds, because it stops all manner of irrational anxieties being thrown up. We all feel that negative voice creeping up on us when we are in a particular situation. It’s inbuilt into our biology. Fight or flight is something that we have to contend with, but whereas we don’t need to run away from mammals anymore, we feel anxiety and stress about the most minimal of tasks. So learning how to control how you react to stress is going to give your mind an overall sense of calm. How do we do this?

Taking Appropriate Steps

As with any major change in life, we make that mistake at the very outset that we don’t have to alter our lifestyles to accommodate this. As a rule, when we are undergoing a massive change on their whether it’s diet, exercise, or embracing mental clarity so we can feel rested, it’s about changing your lifestyle. Lots of people refuse to embrace this because it’s too big a change. Instead, the trick is to make little changes gradually over time. Making one change at a time is manageable, and it doesn’t feel like a seismic alteration of your entire life. But before you do that, it’s important to undertake a little assessment of your own needs. You might find that you eat a lot of sugar, and so this is going to have a negative impact on your body because as we all know – sugar is bad! The same thing goes with something like caffeine. Caffeine, in small quantities, is very good for you, but use it too much, and it can send you haywire. We are all different with regards to our tolerances, but by making little changes and understanding what affects you for the worst, you can begin to sort these things out once and for all.

Something like your sleep is another major factor. We spend a lot of time in the digital age on our smartphones before bedtime, thinking that it’s completely harmless. But there are studies showing that the blue light being emitted from these phones are impacting our sleep quality. When it comes to sleep, quality is always better than quantity. You could have 8 hours but feel groggy as anything, and if you do lean on your smartphone before bedtime for your daily info fix, this is one of the first things to throw out of the bedroom. Getting a good night’s sleep is a priority because it has so many important functions for us, it clears our minds out, recharges our batteries, and can help to minimize anxiety and stress. And if you struggle to switch your mind off, is your bedroom conducive to a restful night sleep? If not, it’s time to start addressing what needs throwing out of the bedroom once and for all! Even something like the quality of your mattress will have a major impact on how you sleep, and choosing your mattress is one of those things that is not considered by most of us. You need to find little ways of making life comfortable.

Sometimes we don’t realize how uncomfortable we are until we’ve escaped a situation that isn’t good for us. It happens all the time, not just in the fact that we are doing things that aren’t particularly good for us, and this could be sleeping in a very uncomfortable position, or that we subconsciously throw ourselves into stressful situations. Now, the challenge of coping with stress is something we all benefit from. Resilience is good for us, but if we go through life without the idea of a comfort zone, this can keep your brain in high anxiety mode. We don’t know that we are in a situation that is bad for us until we’ve escaped it, unfortunately. But the one thing you can do is look at your life, this can be a big task, but, you need to look at what is important to you.

Assessing The Priorities In Life

This is where you will find the key to what makes you happy. Sometimes we go through life on autopilot, not digging deep down into what really makes us greet every new day with vigor and enthusiasm. Sometimes we have friends that aren’t good for us, and this is a weight on our lives, whether we realize it or not. And sometimes we have bigger fish to fry, but a lot of us don’t take the opportunity to consider what is important to us. It takes an unpleasant circumstance to make us contemplate what really matters to us.

 

Assessing the priorities in life isn’t a quick task either. It’s something that can take years. But if you start now, you can begin to make these positive changes. Remember, we are all a work in progress. And if you really want to understand what makes you tick, it’s about learning to quieten your mind. We are in the age of constant distractions. We are overworked, underpaid, and we seek solace in things that aren’t good for us overall. From social media to that relaxing glass of wine at the end of the day. Sure, we all have our vices, but we rely on these to get us through a stressful day. The goal in life is to be happy, and we need to spend quality time with people who have a positive impact on our lives. It seems that now, unfortunately, instances of anxiety and depression are high, even in children, so what does this say about society as a whole? Of course, it’s all relative, but if there are more children focused on their smartphones then they’re friends, are they living in the real world? Of course, lots of us rely on our smartphones to get us through the day, but is it the be all and end all? There are mindfulness practitioners who want to teach meditation and relaxation techniques in school, and this is a fantastic idea because we are so hard-wired for stressed now, but we don’t have an opportunity for rest and relaxation. Think about that for a second, if our children could learn how to relax at such a young age, they go through life with a greatly reduced sense of anxiety, so they are happier, and that they truly know what is important. Now, think about this in relation to your own life, do you ever have the opportunity to contemplate what is important to you in life? If you don’t, it’s not just going to have an impact on your frame of mind, but it’s going to impact your health too!

Having quality rest isn’t just about getting some quality shuteye, but it’s about going through life with a relaxed mindset. Consider what’s impacting your life right now, and if you aren’t getting that rest you need!

 

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