In recent times, we have experienced many shortages—shortages of toilet paper, baby formula, and tampons to name a few. But there seems to be one thing that we are never short on: stress.
Stress is categorized as “any intrinsic or extrinsic stimulus that evokes a biological response.”  Stress, whether caused by work, family life, or mental health issues can be damaging to the mind and body. Stress-induced complications range anywhere from memory difficulties to gastrointestinal complications or cardiovascular problems, to name a few. 
How to Reduce Stress
1. Physical Exercise
Studies have shown that regular exercise can lead to a reduction in adrenaline and cortisol, and an increase in endorphins.  This is just a fancy way of saying that exercise kicks the “stress hormones” out of the party and invites the “happy hormones” in.
2. Breathing Exercises
A study conducted by the research team at Yale University concluded that “different emotions are associated with different forms of breathing, and so changing how we breathe can change how we feel.”  Navy SEALs use a technique called “box breathing.”
Box breathing goes a little something like this:
1. Breathe in for 4 counts.
2. Hold your breath for 4 counts.
3. Exhale for 4 counts.
4. Hold your exhale for 4 counts.
Our smartphones and social make us feel connected to the rest of the world from the comfort of our living rooms. But they also deliver bad news, after-hours work calls, and allow us to judge ourselves mercilessly against others who “seemingly” have it better or are doing a better job than we are.
Jeff Cain’s study on mental health issues associated with smartphones and social media concluded, “The “always-on” culture has created unreasonable expectations that users’ time, attention, and mental energy constantly be attuned to digital connections.” 
Our brains certainly cannot operate at full function when if it never has time to rest, and the solution may be as easy as setting time limits and parameters on our smartphones and social media apps.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself—you deserve it!
1. Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on Body function: A review. EXCLI journal. The Impact of Stress on Body Function/ A Review. Published July 21, 2017. Accessed July 8, 2022.
2. Exercising to Relax. Harvard Health publishing. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax. Published July 7, 2020. Accessed July 8, 2022.
3. Research: Why breathing is so effective at reducing stress. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/09/research-why-breathing-is-so-effective-at-reducing-stress. Published September 17, 2021. Accessed July 8, 2022. https://hbr.org/2020/09/research-why-breathing-is-so-effective-at-reducing-stress
Photo credit: Big Stock
4. Kaputk. Box breathing benefits and techniques. Cleveland Clinic. Box Breathing Benefits /Published August 16, 2021. Accessed July 8, 2022.
5. Cain J. It’s Time to Confront Student Mental Health Issues Associated with Smartphones and Social Media American journal of pharmaceutical education. Published September 2018. Accessed July 8, 2022.