By Courtney Shober
The state of the mind and the state of the body are unmistakably intertwined. The attitude we choose to possess as scenarios of life unfold correlates with how often we get sick, how fast we heal, and how we maintain wellness. Prolonged periods of heightened stress and anxiety make daily life more difficult and less enjoyable by muddling clarity of thought and diverting attention away from the things that really matter. If we don’t take steps to regulate stress it can also greatly increase chances for developing or worsening chronic diseases.
It’s become commonplace for a single thought to throw us into a tailspin of wild panic when typically, we’re in no real danger. Though we can’t always control our circumstances, or the emotions attached to them, we do possess the power to choose how to respond in any given situation. The key to command this frenzied sensation is to discover methods to reclaim mental composure. Curating a personalized set of tools (for both immediate aid and preventative maintenance) to quiet the chatter of worry or regret swirling around in your overstimulated mind is essential to well-being. Prioritizing time daily to strengthen this practice is necessary to make it an integrative part of a healthy lifestyle.
I called on the Downtown Wellness Berks community to see what their go-to stress management tools were. Here’s how some of the group’s affiliates calm their thoughts and become present in the moment:
“I step away from all electronics and go for a run.” — Melissa Hummel, I-Form Fitness Studio
“I turn to daily Qigong practice. My body reacts very well to the gentle stretching motions and breathing techniques.” — Barb Dietrich, Oley Valley Organics
“Getting in motion…going for a walk or a run any time of year can put me at ease.” — Danielle Nuhfer, Teaching Well
“I journal about whatever has me stressed out. Once the thoughts are out of my head and onto the paper, I can usually see things clearer.” — Cori White, Our Whole Living Project, LLC
“Getting out in nature… Taking a walk in the park with my dog gives me a sense of peace and the exercise helps relieve tight muscles and brain fog.” — Sherri L. Mathews, Wellness Potential
“Taking a walk outdoors through the woods or park – as secluded as possible. This really helps to wash away my stress and gives me an energizing boost.” — Monica Dech, Betula’s Botanica
“Going to the barn and being with the animals instantly relieves stress.” — Pam Ellenberger, Bent Limb Farm
“Breathing techniques reconnect me with my inner Self and sooth the nervous system.” — Henriette Alban, Living in Balance
“With a regular meditation each morning I can always bring myself back to that peaceful place of power.” — Crystal Kulpcavage, A Sense of Purpose
“Meditating and journaling. Recognizing all the good in the world helps me a lot.” — Sydney Mallatratt, LMT, Summit Massage LLC
“Closing my eyes, breathing very slowly and very deeply and saying a prayer of gratitude.” — Martie Samuel, Farmhouse Kitchen
“I wake up every morning thankful to be alive and embrace the day ahead… At night, I reflect on my day with gratitude and spend time in prayer.” — Joel Moceri, Good Life Organics
“I rely on my morning practice to get me started each day [stretch, gratitude journal, get some fresh air] … I’ve found that waking up a little earlier to fit in my morning practice really sets my day up for success.” — Jenny Dillow, Awakened Aloha Health Coaching
Bio: Courtney Shober is a Certified Integrative Health Coach (CourtneyShober.com), program chair of Downtown Wellness Berks (downtownwellnessberks.com), Education Coordinator at Farmhouse Kitchen (thefarmhouse-kitchen.com), Penn Street Market Manager (pennstmarket.org), and Ag Project Coordinator at B.A.R.N (berksag.net). She is based in Reading, PA.