Modern technology allows us to stay in touch, increase productivity and have access to instant entertainment. With smart phones, tablets, laptop computers, WIFI and other technology, are interconnected more than ever before. However, it’s also easy to subtly increase our stress levels from being “wired” all the time.
Excess stress gradually takes a toll on mental and physical well being; chronic stress raises our risk for a multitude of health problems. Some signs of excess stress include:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Digestive problems
- Loss of appetite/excess appetite
- Weakened immune system
- Muscle tension
- Irritability, anxiety and depression
It’s important to try to maintain a healthy balance in our lives to keep stress levels under control. Here are some tips for banishing excess stress:
Unplug at night
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for good health and managing day to day stress. Turning off TVs, smart phones, computers, etc. at least an hour before bedtime will help you wind down and allow your body and mind to go into “rest and restore” mode. Some research shows that sleeping near an active smart phone interferes with zzzzz’s, so even if you don’t turn it off, you can put your phone in “airplane” mode to help prevent smart phone-related sleep issues.
Avoid the night time blues
The blue light emitted by TVs, smart phones and tablets suppresses your body’s release of melatonin and may interfere with sleep. Even a little blue light at nighttime can negatively affect sleep. In addition to turning off devices, you can purchase removable screen covers that filter out blue light in the evening.
In the age of smart phone technology, it’s easy to lose sight of the meaning of the moment. Putting a phone or tablet down when we’re spending time with family, eating meals, walking etc. is important both for cultivating good relationships as well as safety.
Stay active outdoors
Spending time outdoors is particularly beneficial for helping to release our natural “feel good” hormones that counteract the effects of stress. Walking, hiking, swimming, and biking are all simple, inexpensive ways to enjoy the restorative effects of Mother Nature.
Cultivate the relaxation response
The “relaxation response” is a term researchers have coined for the physical and mental state that is the opposite of the “fight or flight” stress response—blood pressure decreases, stress hormones decline, heart rate is lowered, and the brain goes into a peaceful state. The relaxation response can be learned and cultivated and there are a number of different ways to make conscious relaxation part of your daily life. For example, tai chi, yoga, and Yoga Sound Meditation are all proven ways to induce the relaxation response.