In the first two parts of this Stress In The Modern Age series I went over four of the major stressors that are causing a large number of other stressors ranging from discomfort to completely unmanaegable. Now we get to go into the solutions. Some of these solutions are inconvenient but not as inconvenient as suffering from the spectrum of physical and emotional illnesses that result from excess stress.
There are as many ways to offset stress as there are stressors so be creative. Look at your specific environment and see how stress has found its way in, then chip away at it. It takes time but implement self care that does not involve chemicals to relax. It's never good to use a chemical stressor to remove stress as it keeps the cycle going.
The solution to EMF - Nature & Removal
I often talk about the importance of shutting off Wifi, hard-wiring your tech (ethernet cables for Internet), getting rid of your smart meter, and turning breakers off while you sleep. These are all important and the more unnatural EMF you can remove, the better you will feel. The solution to stress beyond tech removal is nature. I live near the beach and drive past it every day. It is so easy to see the nature around us from our cars. If you want to remove stress from your life you have to make nature a priority. Time spent in water or in the presence of trees is beneficial to stress reduction. The more actual time you can spend the better you will feel. At different times in my life I have found places that are nature-rich and population sparse. I have had some of my best thoughts and realizations in these places. I say this to you as well as myself. Look at how much time you really spend in nature vs indoors in front of a screen. Be honest with yourself and increase the nature time each day.
Replace artificial LED lights which are excitatory and pulse the brain and body's stress levels up. Replace them with more natural light: fire light and candles or even salt lamps are way better than what most people are using. The flicker effect mixed with the limited frequency bandwidth of light from screens and LEDs spike the brain and tells alert and awake, aka fight or flight mode. This aids consumerism as it induces a subconscious "need" for things and promotes people to make more purchases (there's a reason screens and lights in stores are blue-excitatory as opposed to orange-calming). I have done talks on light as well as this Light Calibration Blog. Look towards the sunlight (not directly at it) for 5 min, 5 times a day and when the sun goes down, limit your light exposure as much as possible. There is a reason why campfires and candle light create an atmosphere of relaxation, peace, and romance. Those are all things that happen more when you aren't stressed. Florescent/ LED lighting and screens also change the way you process carbs, lowering testosterone (know anyone with low testosterone levels?) in men and disrupts sleep and hormone balance.
Get off all forms of caffeine for 60 days
All forms: coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, energy drinks and everything in between. Why? Caffeine is related to stress as alcohol is related to intoxication. If you are concerned about stress in your life then taking a drug that induces a stress is a bad idea. I have written a few posts on this:
Coffee In the Modern Age and even started a FB Group called: Caffeine-Free Support Group.
Our society is stressed, sleep deprived, and heavily caffeinated. Unfortunately so few people are 100% caffeine-free that it is difficult to get any kind of realistic measure of the real effects of caffeine on larger scales. Since I have quit this drug I have been amazed to see just how prevalent it is and how much "health" people promote it. If I told you I want to sell you a toxic stimulant that will reduce the blood flow to your brain, spike stress hormones, and ruin your sleep there is no way you would think it would make you "bullet proof." No one with anxiety should be on caffeine and one cup (which is the size of a tea cup not a 16oz) is enough to cause major problems. I didn't know the seriousness of it until I got off. Try it, you can always go back.
Quit the gym and switch to lower intensity and more restorative motion in nature especially if you are over the age of 35. I'm all for being strong but going to an LED lit/ Wifi room jacked on caffeine to over train is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Whatever you do, at the very least do it outside in natural sunlight.
As a society we are far too concerned with the appearance of things. It would be far better for you to move in nature and not be shredded than to constantly injure yourself or even worse inject testosterone or other growth hormone steroids just to give the illusion of health. Let your nervous system heal and be healthy. Get in the sun and breathe. I think doing workouts in nature will give you very different results and improve your health. I have been that guy at the gym doing everything wrong just to build muscle and look the part. I feel much better not constantly tearing my body down as much as I can just so I can go tear it down again the next day.
Here are some practical tips beside the ones mentioned above that I have found to be helpful.
Take magnesium baths - Stress and caffeine deplete magnesium at rapid rates so be sure to build your relaxation reserves back up by taking magnesium baths 2-3x a week. Turn on some relaxing music and enjoy.
Take cat naps - In my own life getting off caffeine and reducing stress has caused me to embrace the quick power nap. It is amazing how important it is to take 10 minutes and let yourself rest mid day. If you do go caffeine-free, your nervous system is healing and repairing, so support it.
Eat real, clean food - In the past I have been so focused on extremes which in part was due to my inability to sit still and relax. So instead of doing extreme cleansing or being too focused on my weight, I have been trying to stick to a clean but satisfying diet that lets me have food that isn't processed and will support my system and repair process.
Listen to relaxing music - I was a punk rocker when I was younger. I still love so many of the old bands but if I want to stay in a calm and relaxed place I have to make sure the music I'm listening to matches the head space I want to be in. I have found classical good for this or even no music at all and instead enjoy tuning into the sounds in nature: birds, wind, neighborhood dogs barking, the stream down the street, ect.
Last but not least.....Don't take on other people's stress and drama
Life can be boring. Having just had a birthday I see how life goes by fast. People are often bored and stressed. The combination often results in stories and drama that exist in the mind as a form of entertainment. The goal of drama is often to validate its creation by getting others to participate in it.
Do not do this. Let others be as stressed as they want to be. Let people feel any way they want. Stay true to you. Even though drama might be appealing to engage excitatory systems that make people frantic and entertained, it often results in a destructive crash. The more you embrace the calm and remove stress from your life the more others will try to pull you back into it.
Stress in the modern age can be destructive. Make stress removal a priority today.
Rob Alexander is on a journey to learn not just about health but everything else.
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