Simple Stress Relief

By Karen Karsten

Are you running in a stress-fueled emergency mode a lot? Along with career and economic stresses, life events such as marriage, divorce, moving, births and deaths in the family are stressors, too. The body reacts to stress by perceiving whatever it is as a threat and prepares you by kicking your defenses into high gear.  For some people, stress is so prevalent in their life, they no longer notice it—they are in a “stress rut.”

Even if you are “successfully” ignoring stress, it still exacts a price from your health. These ruts create a neuro-physiological wound that gets harder and harder to heal. Stress reduction can’t wait until tomorrow. How do you create some kind of balance with all the stressors in your life? Do you know what they are?

The first step is to actually admit and identify your stress. Here is a great site that has a checklist of stressors and their effect on the body.

Things you can do to reduce stress in your life


Bonding activities, like spending time with friends or colleagues activate several neurotransmitters that reduce stress. Sometimes, we need a time-out to “cocoon” and be alone, but extended isolation increases stress levels.


Humor is a wonderful release—go to a comedy club, watch a funny movie, read jokes (even bad ones). Humor gets your brain thinking in a different way. The distraction is an immediate destressor.


Light from the sun triggers neurotransmitters in our brains that are calming. Get at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day, without sunglasses.* A walk outdoors is a double win, as exercise also reduces stress.


Exercise helps burn off excess chemicals created by stress. Build up of these chemicals lingers in the body when you are inactive and continue to damage your body. Getting more physically fit is a bonus.


Keeping a journal is a great destressor. It doesn’t have to be a “must do” every day, just taking a few minutes regularly can make a huge difference in your stress level. Research has proven that journals are a great benefit for stress relief, problem solving and bringing clarity to your life.


I know, I know. Everyone says that. Meditation doesn’t have to be a big deal either. Simply paying attention to your breathing for a minute or so is very calming. Kind of like a micro-meditation. Another easy one is the body scan. Just sit quietly and notice your body, starting at the top of your head. Slowly move along, noticing and acknowledging any tension or pain. The awareness of how your body is actually feeling is very relaxing. Here are a couple of the many fun things on the My Inner World website that I have found quite delightful and relaxing. Make a wish, listen to a short meditation—be enchanted for a minute or two.

Make a wish at the wishing well

Pick a word of the day

And there is still time to join the Be Inspired Challenge, a daily dose of creative inspiration.

Further reading:  Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky

*Of course you should protect your eyes from longer exposure and not look directly at the sun.


About Karen

Karen Karsten, CPCC, CAC, has had several business careers, in government, finance, retail and publishing. Each career was a building block that helped her create the life she has now as a coach, writer and executive director of Rich Chicks and Creative Principle of Think You Can LLC.

Her companies, Think You Can ( and Rich Chicks ( both explore the magic of prosperity and creating clarity about life values. Karen has total faith in the magic of belief. Notice how that works either way: belief of magic, magic of belief. Magic is there—in you, too. Take a moment right now and honor the magic in you.

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