Before anything else, to mitigate and minimize stress, you need to focus on health.
When you're healthy, stress automatically reduces. You're automatically happier. You automatically feel better.
Anyone who has transitioned from poor health to vibrant health (through real food, sleep, fitness, and mindfulness) can attest to this — find health, and you find yourself, and you find yourself happier and less stressed automatically.
So how do we get healthy, and therefore mitigate and minimize stress?
1. Eat Real Food
Eat real food, whatever that means to you. Which means avoiding processed food!
The best foods to eat, depending on your dietary restrictions, include animal meats, nutrient-dense vegetables, traditional fats, and natural sources of carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and fruit.
The food that you eat should nurture self-sufficiency. This is our term for metabolic flexibility and fat burning. This means being strategic with carbs — ensuring they’re always from real food sources and in moderate amounts.
And finally, don't snack or graze all day. Nurture space and periods of not eating so the body can burn its own body fat for fuel.
2. Prioritize Sleep
Are you waking up in the morning feeling groggier than usual? It’s okay to hit the snooze button on your 5 AM workout once in a while. Sleep is a priority over working out. Instead, consider reusing your commute time for a workout in the afternoon during this time of uncertainty.
You won't live more than a few days without sleep. Sleep is where all the magic happens. We rebuild our immune system, reset our stress hormones, detoxify, cleanse, heal, and repair. Again, anyone who has figured out sleep can attest — when you get good sleep, you show up differently.
A minimum you should allow for is at least seven hours of sleep at bedtime. In the morning, try to get some sun first thing and get some natural brightness into your eyes so your body recognizes it’s time to start the day. Sunlight triggers energy production; when the sun goes down, it triggers melatonin secretion.
In the evening, two hours before bed OR when the sun goes down, make a conscious effort to get off your phone, TV, and other electronics. Minimize your stimulus. Your body will thank you.
3. Practice Presence
Our default is constant thinking. We think from the time we get up to the time we go to bed. And, for most, these thoughts are repetitive and defeating.
Practicing presence interrupts the habitual thinking and gives you a chance to work with thoughts that aren't serving you. It cultivates the skill of "noticing what's happening."
When you notice yourself thinking, you can decide to be present through listening, feeling your body, or focusing on your breath. And you can reframe your thinking by asking, "What do I want? What do I want instead? What can I do now?"
Practicing presence is as simple as focusing on what's in front of you. Step outside, look around, listen, and feel things like the sun and wind. When sitting in a chair, feel yourself sitting. Feel your feet on the ground. This is presence, and when you're doing this, you're not thinking.
Also, sit for at least five minutes every day practicing presence. Notice yourself thinking or talking to yourself. Then come back to presence. This is "practice" for noticing yourself thinking during the day.
To help you out, we have guided meditations on our website (superhumantransformation.com), and our YouTube channel. You can also use apps for meditation such as Headspace, Calm, Waking Up, 10% Happier, and Insight Timer.
During the rest of your day, as you notice yourself stressed, triggered, or thinking about anything that doesn't serve you — NOTICE! Come back to presence and ask yourself, “What do I want? What can I do now?”
4. Move Naturally
Do the things your body was meant to do. We recommend going for two walks each day — a solitary walk in the morning to have some "own mind time," and a walk in the evening after dinner to reflect on the day.
Take breaks every 45 minutes and step outside, get some sun and fresh air, and do 10 squats, followed by a little stretching. To up the intensity, do 5 burpees followed by some stretching.
To help you out, we are offering FREE Zoom workouts for anyone interested! Monday through Friday, 6am, 8am, 12pm, and 4:30pm.
The key is this: find health and you’ll find yourself. Focus on getting as healthy as you can, and you will naturally mitigate and minimize stress.
From there, you can practice presence through meditation and use your skill of "noticing" to notice yourself stressed. When you notice you’re stressed, you aren't stressed anymore! And then you can work with it.
Paul C. Tijerina | BS MFT CPT NLP
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Performance, & Life Coach
As a passionate, driven, U.S Military Academy West Point Grad, Army Master Fitness Trainer, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified Health Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner, Performance, and Life Coach, Paul C. Tijerina’s goal is to EDUCATE and EMPOWER PEOPLE on real food principles and lifestyle factors crucial for optimal health.