What is stress?
Depending on your personality type, coping style, and genetics you might be more or less likely to become stressed than others, and that’s completely normal. Millions of adults in the United States struggle with stress or anxiety daily.
Even though it’s hard to believe, stress can sometimes be useful too. It can help us push through fear or pain so we can deliver a speech, run a marathon or even perform on stage. The good thing is, stress doesn’t have any lasting effects, meaning once the stressful situation is over, we feel comfortable and calm.
Then there is the other kind of stress, the one that follows us around all the time. Chronic stress can have a big impact on one’s overall health. It increases the risk of heart disease, depression, and anxiety disorders.
Here are four of our favorite ways to reduce stress:
- Practice Relaxation Techniques
According to Harvard Health Publishing‘s article about relaxation techniques by Julie Corliss, you should try practicing the below-mentioned techniques for 20 minutes a day.
- Breath focus – Take long, slow, deep breaths to calm your mind and move away from distracting thoughts. (This technique is not appropriate for people with health problems such as respiratory ailments or heart failure)
- Body scan – After a few minutes of deep breathing, focus on one part of your body and start mentally releasing any tension you may feel. It’s a great way to boost your awareness of the mind-body connection.
- Guided imagery – It’s all about finding your happy place. Think about calm scenes, places or memories in your mind to help you relax and focus.
- Mindfulness meditation – There are lots of apps, websites and Youtube channels with guided mindfulness meditations.
- Yoga, tai chi, and qigong – These are ancient arts that combine rhythmic breathing with flowing movements. Depending on what you prefer, you can practice them at home or join a class in your neighborhood. Not only can these practices help distract your thoughts, but also enhance your balance and flexibility.
2. Reduce triggers of stress and don’t be afraid to say no
Knowing what causes the most stress in your life can help you find a better solution to cope with it. The most common stress triggers come from work, financial problems, and family issues. Learn to appreciate your value and don’t be afraid to say no to unnecessary things. Is your friend calling you to help them move some furniture around and you’re not feeling up to it? It’s okay to say no.
3. Exercise regularly
Physical activity can improve your quality of both mental and physical life. Exercise also promotes your brain’s production of endorphins, which are the ”feel-good” neurotransmitters.
Here are some ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine:
- Walk your dog (if you have one)
- Do at-home workouts
- Take swimming lessons
- Take dancing lessons
- Ride a bicycle and explore the nature
- Walk to work/store/school instead of driving
Cuddling with someone you love releases a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the ”love hormone” which makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Studies have shown that oxytocin lowers stress and anxiety.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite blanket, put on some relaxing music, and cuddle the stress away.
What are your favorite ways to deal with stress? Let us know in the comments down below.