About John Nonmaker

John is an engineer and blogger living in the Netherlands. He writes to help left-brained thinkers and young professionals find moments of mindfulness amid the hustle and bustle of an active career. Connect with him and get more insight at www.johnnonemaker.com.

5 Easy Natural Ways to Reduce Stress

“It's all about finding the calm in the chaos.” ~Donna Karan Like my grandfather, I have always been a weather geek. I check the weather news daily and, for as long as I can remember, thunderstorms, warm/cold fronts, and clouds have fascinated me. Close friends of mine will be the first to tell you that I have the bad habit of stopping someone mid-sentence to point out cirrus clouds, or a storm on the horizon. But it’s more than just a nerdy interest. Looking at thunderstorms and clouds has always had a calming effect on me. A few years ago I spent a summer in Edmonton, Canada, on my first extended work assignment abroad. It started well, but after a month I began receiving negative feedback from my client on the quality of work that I was submitting. Looking back, I realize there were power struggles going on in the background, and I was the scapegoat stuck in the middle. But at the time it caused me a lot of stress, and each negative comment made me feel more and more like a failure. At the end of one rough day in particular, I received another critical email from my client. On the drive home from the office I could feel my heart accelerating and hammers bashing on my forehead, signaling the onset of a stress-induced migraine. My apartment sat high on a hill, and when I arrived home I happened to catch a glimpse of the outside view from the corner of my eye. An enormous thunderstorm dominated the horizon; turbulent masses of air and water billowed high into the sky. The sunset was hitting the tops of the clouds at an angle that made the storm look like it was on fire. Hues of orange, red, and deep gray swirled into each other. I was intrigued and stepped outside on my balcony to take a better look. I sat down on a chair and stayed there for at least an hour, watching churning clouds climb through the atmosphere and streaks of lightning flash through the flaming vapors. As I sat there, with my eyes fixed on the spectacle before me, my heart rate and breathing slowed down, and the pounding in my head abated. I knew that everything I was going through would pass and I felt at peace. We all experience stress at one point. And because we have busy lives, we don’t always have the time to go running, or do yoga, or watch a funny movie to get rid of it. Practicing mindfulness can be an effective alternative though. This pulls us into the present moment and can reduce our stress with minimal time and effort. Five ways we can use our surroundings to do this are to: 1. Sit quietly by a body of water. Since mankind first came into existence, humans have used the calming effects of water to find peace. If you are stressed, find a river, [...]

2018-04-17T05:27:37+00:00 By |