3 Tips to Reduce Stress from Speakeasy

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We are dedicated to creating a positive, encouraging and inspiring workplace here at ModernWell, but sometimes life is just plain hard – we admit it. Every personal or professional chapter in life brings its own expectations, responsibilities and challenges that throw a bunch of emotions our way.

Instead of turning inward when times get tough, we hope to provide a community of resources so you feel heard, loved, and supported during those not-so-great times, which is why we are thrilled about some of our newest members from Speakeasy!

Our friends at Speakeasy are doing some incredible work at ModernWell and the larger Twin Cities area worth recognizing as we celebrate World Mental Health Day this Thursday. Speakeasy’s professionals, National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coaches (NBC-HWC), offer an easy and affordable way to talk face-to-face with a professional about life’s messy moments. They use practical and down-to-earth, tools, techniques, and good ol’ listening to help you clarify what you’re feeling, gain new perspective, and move forward.

We wanted you to hear from the experts about a challenging yet important topic surrounding mental health: stress. Want to learn more about how stress effects our bodies and three simple ways to combat that feeling we know all too well? Keep reading to learn from Speakeasy professional, Leah Martinson!


We’ve all experienced stress in some capacity and felt the effects on our minds and bodies. In small doses, stress can be helpful in springing us into action. But when stress becomes chronic, it activates a cascade of negative effects that have a significant impact on well-being. A rapidly growing body of research shows us that chronic stress is highly correlated with symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns.

Scientists have identified that the earliest response to stress happens in the brain. At the onset of stress, neurotransmitters such as serotonin and adrenaline are released, followed by stress hormones. The surge of stress hormones has a particularly significant impact on the area of the brain responsible for memory and regulating emotions. Continuous or chronic stress changes how well these systems can control the stress response. The diminished capacity to control the stress response often leads to symptoms consistent with anxiety and depression. Developing tools and skills for mitigating the effects of stress can have a profound positive impact on mental and emotional well-being. Here are a few tips and tricks to try the next time you feel the stress taking over:

  1. Breathe – One of the physiological functions impacted by the release of stress hormones is breathing rate. We can counter this effect by intentionally slowing down our breathing. This will also slow down heart rate and help you to become more focused. For simple guided breathing techniques, click here.
  2. Move – You have probably heard somewhere along the way that exercise is good for you. The benefits of exercise on our mental health is undeniable. Studies have shown that just 30 minutes of high intensity physical activity, five times a week, dramatically decreases the stress response and alleviates symptoms of stress and anxiety. If you don’t have 30 minutes, that’s okay! Shorter periods of time are effective as well. Start with what you have and build from there. Even if it’s only five minutes. For a super quick workout, try this Tabata workout (it’s only four minutes)!
  3. Sleep – Our bodies need seven-nine hours of sleep each night to restore and repair the wear and tear of the day. Shorting ourselves on sleep to get things done because we are stressed actually magnifies the stress rather than reducing it. Resist the temptation to stay up late working or catching up on Netflix and feel the positive effects of a good night’s rest. If you are having trouble with sleep because of stress or insomnia, read more here on sleep hygiene. You can also try a sleep meditation through the Insight Timer App.

The list of self-care techniques for reducing stress is endless and is unique to each individual. Test out different techniques and find one that works for YOU! As many things in life, finding the blend of self-care tools and techniques is a process of experimentation to find the ones that feel well suited to your needs and lifestyle.

Ironically for some, myself included, simply thinking about all the options or having to do something new can make us feel a little stressed. If so, just remember to come back to the breath. This is the simplest, quickest and cheapest intervention that if practiced will be effective. If you need a partner in action on the journey into well-being and stress busting, the coaches with Speakeasy are well equipped to journey with you!


Want to experience Speakeasy at ModernWell?

To celebrate World Mental Health Day, Speakeasy coach Barbara Powell is offering 50% off coaching sessions: one-on-one 40-minute emotional wellbeing sessions along with hands-on activities for mental and emotional wellbeing (appointment times available Thursday, Oct. 10 from 10am-4pm). Email to set up an appointment!

At 12:00pm, Barbara will also lead a Mindfulness Walk. Disconnect from the tech and engage with your senses. This walk is open to all, so bring a friend!

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