Stress is somewhat of a normal part of life. Although commonplace and pretty much universal, failure to manage it could lead to a host of unwelcome problems. Stress can have unwanted physical, mental, and emotional effects. Some physical effects of stress include tension headaches and migraines, and other musculoskeletal conditions. It also contributes significantly to other numerous disorders like anxiety, panic attacks, and phobia. For a higher quality of life, it is essential to find ways to blow off steam and deal with stress before it morphs into something direr. Here are some easy and proven strategies to destress and relax:
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to fight off stress. It may seem ironic since it involves putting physical strain on your body for the most part. However, the benefits of regular exercise are hard to ignore. See, exercise lowers the stress hormone cortisol and releases endorphins. Endorphins are the feel-good hormones that improve your mood. When you exercise, you get to have better sleep quality and get time to recharge before starting your days. You also are more confident when you feel that your body is in excellent shape. And that promotes wellbeing.
Remember, exercise does not necessarily have to be powerlifting at the gym and running marathons. A simple walk around the park or taking stairs instead of the elevator can provide relief from stress. So, when you are stressed, try to get up and move around!
Stress and poor diet go hand in hand. Most people resort to emotional eating and binge eating in reaction to stress in their lives. In most cases, you are likely to forget to reach out for healthy food options when feeling overwhelmed. Those sugary and fatty foods tend to spike up the blood sugar level, which in turn causes more stress and anxiety. Opt for healthy food options that favour energy balance and mood regulation.
Aromatherapy involves using essential oils for therapeutic benefits. Aromatherapy is known to aid in stress relief. You get to feel more relaxed and present. Research suggests that some scents usually change brain wave activity and consequently reduce stress hormones. When you are feeling stressed, light up a scented candle. Some calming scents that you can use to soothe yourself are rose, lavender, vetiver, neroli, bergamot, sandalwood, or frankincense. It doesn’t have to be a candle. If you do not fancy candles, you could use body products or diffusers to incorporate a little aromatherapy into your day.
Yoga is a stress relief method that has grown in popularity due to its effectiveness in combating stress. Yoga increases body and breath awareness which in turn leads to stress reduction. Studies continue to show that yoga enhances mood and is an excellent way to treat depression and anxiety. Yoga’s effect on the nervous system and stress response make it beneficial for dealing with stress and anxiety. You can even go on an adventure to a yoga retreat center with friends! Yes, it is one way to blend the effect of nature and yoga to relax your mind and muscles.
Get social support
Aristotle famously noted that humans are social animals. Feelings of isolation will increase stress and anxiety. Spend time with your friends and family when feelings of stress creep up on you. Social support gives a sense of belonging and self-worth that you may need to get over a stressful situation.
Laugh it off
Laughter is the best medicine, even against stress. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins which improve your mood. They also reduce the levels of cortisol and adrenaline. Essentially, it tricks your nervous system into making you happy and relaxed. Laughter also relieves tension by relaxing the muscles. The next time you feel stressed, try watching a TV show that makes you laugh or hang out with friends that get the laughter out of you.
Stress can stem from having too many things on your plate. To take control of your life, try being on top of your duties and priorities. When you procrastinate, you leave a mountain of tasks that need your attention, and the scramble to catch up can be overwhelming, leading to stress. Stress could then affect your health and quality of sleep. To avoid that domino effect, you need to get in the habit of completing tasks in time. Have a to-do list in order of priority and set realistic deadlines to complete the tasks. Focus on things with more urgency and avoid switching between tasks as that too can be stressful.
Mindfulness involves being fully present in the current moment and acknowledging where you are and what you are feeling. It ensures that you do not get too reactive or overly overwhelmed. Mindfulness anchors you in the present moment. It helps to deal with the stress-inducing effects of negative thinking. There are several ways for practising mindfulness, like meditation and Pilates. This meditative and somatic angle to mental health has become popular owing to its effectiveness in waning off stress.
Listen to music
The sound of music has a relaxing effect on the body. Soothing instrumental music induces relaxation by lowering the heart rate and blood pressure. It also reduces stress hormones. You can listen to classical or Celtic music, which is particularly soothing to calm your nerves when feeling overwhelmed. Listening to any other kind of music that you enjoy is also effective. Nature sounds like birds chirping, and trees swaying can also be very calming.
Practice deep breathing
When stressed, your boy tends to go into fight-or-flight mode. In this mode, your body releases stress hormones, and you may notice physical symptoms like a faster heartbeat and quicker breathing. Deep breathing exercises help tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of the relaxation response. Learn the different deep breathing techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, belly breathing, or paced breathing to find one that works best for you. Deep breathing focuses your awareness on your breath and helps to slow down the heart rate. With a slower heart rate, you feel more peaceful.
We all know that prevention is better than cure. Start by identifying what triggers your stress. While you cannot eliminate all stress triggers in your life, you can fight off a few that you can control. Finding ways to eliminate stress triggers and using the tips above will help you lead a better life.