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Understanding Stress: Tips and Tricks from Oura



This article was based on data from Oura. The Oura ring is a biotracking device that uses sensors to measure your respiratory rate, heart rate, HRV, blood oxygen levels, and body temperature. I personally use mine for the fertility tracking, but as you can see the ring can give you so many insights as to what is happening in your body, including stress.


Stress isn’t just in your head — it can also affect your physical health. Chronic stress is linked to conditions such as heart disease, obesity and metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis. It can also lead to other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, stress can also interfere with your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and experience restorative deep sleep. It also disrupts the normal progression of sleep stages, particularly REM sleep.


To better understand what types of strategies help Oura members feel more calm and relaxed, they asked members, "Which habits or activities have helped you lower your Daytime Stress levels?"


Over 60% of the Oura members who responded referenced at least one of these stress-relieving habits. 


Top 3 Stress-Reducing Techniques Among Oura Members


Deep Breathing

  • "Engaging in a meditation or breathing session using the Oura App."

  • "Utilizing breathing to activate the vagus nerve."

  • "5-minute breathing meditation between meetings."

Why it's Effective: Slowing down your breathing is a rapid and effective method to lower your heart rate. Rapid shallow breathing and a fast heartbeat are common stress responses, preparing your body for a 'fight or flight' situation. Deep breathing counteracts this by reducing your heart rate and suppressing the sympathetic nervous system. Studies indicate that practicing deep breathing for just five minutes daily can reduce stress and anxiety while enhancing mood.


Walking

  • "Walking during breaks or lunchtime."

  • "Mid-day movement."

Why it's Effective: Even a brief 10-minute walk can elevate your mood and reduce stress. Physical movement boosts oxygen delivery to the brain, prompting the release of mood-enhancing chemicals like endorphins and serotonin. Walking outdoors offers additional benefits, as taking in natural surroundings can reduce amygdala activity, which is responsible for emotional processing and stress.Member Tip: Oura sends reminders to take short walks after 50 minutes of inactivity. Utilize these breaks to reset and refresh.


Meditation

  • "10-minute post-lunch meditation."

  • "Transcendental meditation."

  • "Headspace meditations recommended by Oura App."

Why it's Effective: Meditation aims to calm the body and mind, reducing stress arousal and activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This form of 'deep rest' has been shown to modify brain activity, particularly in areas related to emotional regulation and stress.


Pursue Joyful Activities

  • "Taking a tea break."

  • "Spending time with pets."

  • "Resting for a few minutes."

Why it's Effective: Regular short breaks can reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels, restoring your body to a relaxed state and increasing resilience to stress.Member Tip: The Oura App highlights when your body enters a 'Restorative Time' or 'Restored' mode.


Engage in Creative Hobbies

  • "Coloring."

  • "Crafting."

  • "Journaling."

  • "Listening to music."

Why it's Effective: Creative activities like coloring, crafting, and journaling focus your attention, activating the brain's reward system. These activities release dopamine, lower cortisol, and create feelings of safety and relaxation.


Read or Listen to Books

  • "Reading novels."

  • "Immersing in flow state at work through reading."

  • "Morning reading routine."

Why it's Effective: Engaging with a captivating book signals to your body and brain that you're safe, reducing the 'fight or flight' response and promoting relaxation.


Limit Caffeine Intake

  • "Completely quitting coffee."

  • "Reducing coffee consumption."

  • "Limiting caffeine."

Why it's Effective: Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system by blocking adenosine and increasing cortisol and adrenaline. While it can combat fatigue, excessive caffeine intake triggers stress symptoms like jitters, anxiety, and increased heart rate.Member Tip: Use Oura's Tags feature to monitor how caffeine affects your HRV and Daytime Stress levels.


Engage in Low-Intensity Exercise

  • "Low-intensity steady-state cardio."

  • "Yoga."

  • "Cycling."

Why it's Effective: While exercise is a commonly recommended stress-reliever, the type and intensity matter. Low-intensity exercises like yoga and cycling boost blood flow and promote deep breathing, effectively managing stress.


Try Stress-Relief Supplements

  • "Magnesium and tart cherry juice mocktail."

  • "Kava root."

  • "CBDA."

  • "CBD."

  • "Ashwagandha and Rhodiola."

Why it's Effective: Some Oura members find relief from stress through supplements like Ashwagandha, CBD, and magnesium. However, the efficacy and safety of these supplements vary, so consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.


Connect with Your Partner

  • "Orgasms."

  • "Increased intimacy."

Why it's Effective: Intimate moments with a loved one release endorphins and oxytocin, fostering relaxation and social bonding, thereby reducing stress.


Get Sunlight Exposure

  • "Soaking up sunlight."

  • "Stepping outside for sunshine."

Why it's Effective: Sun exposure triggers the synthesis of vitamin D and the release of serotonin, both of which have stress-relieving properties.


Reduce Screen Time

  • "Limiting screen exposure."

  • "Reduced social media usage."

Why it's Effective: Prolonged screen time can induce stress due to information overload and blue light exposure. Taking breaks from screens throughout the day and avoiding screens before bedtime can lead to a more peaceful evening and reduced stress.

By incorporating these evidence-based techniques into your daily routine, you can effectively manage and reduce stress levels, promoting overall well-being and health.


If you found this article helpful, please share it with a friend.


Send me an email at rxfitnezz@gmail.com if you have ideas for future blog posts.


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