Stress: 5 ways to manage it

how to manage stress naturally

Stress: 5 ways to manage it

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but did you know that stress, thoughts, and feelings all have an impact on your physical body? Stress is a psychological and physical response of the body. It occurs whenever we are adapting to changing conditions, whether those conditions are real or perceived, positive or negative. We all experience symptoms of stress from time to time, in our work, home life and personal lives. You can manage stress naturally and with a few stress management tips you can prevent chronic stress from recking havoc on your body.

As human beings, stress is part of our make-up and throughout our lives, we learn behaviours and develop coping mechanisms to return to that psychological and physiological baseline. For immediate and short-term situations, stress can be beneficial. Appropriate levels of good stress can help your body adapt to potentially dangerous or serious situations. Your body reacts by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rate, which activates your muscles so that they are ready to respond.

What is ‘good’ stress?

Stress that is beneficial to our health is all about challenging yourself to a point where it does not become all-consuming of your energy and resources. It empowers us to grow in many ways, including:

  • Emotionally – increases positive feelings of contentment, motivation, and flow
  • Psychologically – builds self-efficacy, independence, and resilience
  • Physically – improves our body’s physical ability and capacity to withstand a challenging workout, for example

How does chronic stress affect your body?

When stress becomes chronic, it can have a negative effect on your health. Chronic stress means your stress response is continual, and your stress levels stay elevated for longer than required for survival. Manifestations of stress can be seen in your body through, anxiety, irritability, headaches, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. This can affect your:

  • Central Nervous System – your CNS oversees your “fight or flight” mode. Your brain interprets every threat equally, whether real or perceived, it does not know the difference
  • Endocrine System – a series of glands including, the adrenal, ovaries/testes, thyroid and pituitary, that produce and secrete hormones to regulate bodily functions. The constant release of hormones causes inflammation throughout the body
  • Digestive System – our digestion and thus the absorption of nutrients is affected by chronic stress and often leads to bloating, irritable bowel and gut issues
  • Musculoskeletal System – our muscles tense to protect themselves from injury when we’re stressed and we’ll adopt protective postures, like tensing our shoulders, leading to body aches, headaches and tension

How can you manage stress?

Taking measures to prevent an overactive mind from becoming anxious or overwhelmed does not have to be complicated or take more than 10 minutes each day. Here are some simple stress management tips that you can start using to keep you on track throughout the day.

1. Change your mindset
Start each day with a positive mindset. Your “to-do” list, your obligations and responsibilities do not equal stress. It is your thoughts and outlook about that list of things in relation to yourself that causes these overwhelmed feelings.

Try reframing it – things that you “have to do” are things that you “get to do”. Automatically, it changes from being cumbersome to something you’re grateful you get to do.

2. Belly breathing
In the heightened moment of stress, the only thing that can make you feel “safe” is to regulate your nervous system by breathing into your belly.

Try finding a comfortable position, placing your hands on your lower belly and breathing slowly and deeply through your nose and directing that breath all the way into the lower belly.

3. Box breathing
In the midst of a stressful moment, it can be difficult to simply focus on your breath.

Try the box breathing technique, a simple yet powerful method of focusing on your breath to help you stay calm. Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and hold for 4 counts. Repeat three to four times.

Why not try one of our NEW breathwork classes available in-studio and online here.

4. Mindful movement
Moving your body mindfully and syncing that movement to your breath is a great way to bring mindfulness to your day and become in-tune with your body.

5. Spend time in nature
Getting outdoors in nature can have profound effects on our health and wellbeing. Any time spent walking in nature, swimming in the ocean or perhaps meeting some friends for a picnic in the park, can improve your mood significantly.

At Myall Wellbeing we have over 25 yoga, Pilates and breathwork classes available in-studio and virtually. Our classes integrate mindful movement and breath awareness together and will help you to build the foundations of a daily routine to help manage stress. If you are looking to start your self-care practice, contact us at or call on 9325 6999.