With busy lifestyles and increasing responsibilities at home and work, most people find that getting stressed out is inevitable. Chronic stress affects both physical and mental health and that’s why you need to find ways to manage the condition and stay relaxed. Here are a few simple strategies to ease stress:
- Stretching and walking are great stress relievers as they burn off stress. These activities relax tense muscles, help fight illness, boost your energy and mood and improve your concentration. Set a time for doing simple stretching exercises each day. Walk whenever you can especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle. Keep track of the minutes your walk and add a few more each day. Try yoga and meditation to calm the mind.
- Get restful sleep at night. If you have trouble getting to sleep, try some relaxation techniques. People who don’t sleep properly have less energy to perform their routine and other activities during the day, which would increase stress. Sleep deprivation also prevents a person from thinking clearly. So sleep well and recharge fully – it will help you cope with the stressful situations you encounter.
- Call a friend: If you feel something is weighing down on you, try talking it over with a loved one. Talking about your problem to someone whom you trust and whom you feel can understand you, helps. A reassuring voice can help calm you down.
- Talk to yourself: Think calmly about your problem and how you can solve it, rather than worrying about it. Many things become easier to handle when you put them in the proper perspective.
- Listen to soothing music! You can even sing along which will improve your mood, possibly lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, the hormone linked to stress.
- Smile and laugh: Get together with friends and smile and laugh. Putting yourself in a happy mood will ease the stress on your face and relieve some of the tension. Laughing reduces the levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Watch your favorite comedy or catch up with close friends and talk about funny memories. When oxygen flows to your organs and blood flow increases, it will automatically reduce stress.
- Make healthy choices: Stress can impact the way you eat – you may end up eating too much or too little or choosing unhealthy snacks. Make sure you make nutritious choices that will boost your energy or keep you healthy. Try drinking green tea instead of coffee or other energy drinks. It is rich in healthy antioxidants and theanine which has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system.
If you are stressed because of a busy schedule, take time off and enjoy the simple pleasures that life has to offer. Spend time with your kids, your loved ones and your pets. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a new study which says that washing dishes can effectively provide relief from stress! The argument is that the activity encourages “mindfulness” because one tends to focus on the task. The researchers found that focusing attention and thoughts on the activity decreased stress levels and had a calming effect on the mind.