Stress. We all deal with it. Whether it be our jobs, family life, drama with friends, a relationship problem, or finances, stress is there. While a little stress is probably good for you, it's the excess that does the harm. Rather than letting your stress take over your life, try some methods of stress-management and you'll be relaxing in no time.
Accept your stress.
It may seem counterintuitive to accept your stress, but accepting your stressor means that you’re aware of what is causing your stress and what you need to avoid. Accepting does not mean ignoring, but rather that you understand the origin of your anxiety. Realize that your stress is a healthy response to overwhelming stimuli, and that it can be dealt with in an equally healthy fashion.
A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
“Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,”
Laugh Out Loud
A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally. It lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
Eat a healthy diet.
Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, reduce your caffeine and sugar intake, and cut back on alcohol and nicotine.
Get plenty of sleep.
Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool by getting a good night’s sleep.
Cuddle up more often.
If you are in a healthy relationship, try going to your partner for a bit of physical touch. Studies have shown that regular cuddling, kissing, and sex all release oxytocin - a hormone that produces happiness and reduces stress. That’s right - some of your favorite activities actually improve your mental well-being. Do these on a regular basis to keep your hormone levels up in general, making it less likely that you’ll get stressed out in the first place.
If you might have noticed, stress is the best time to make or listen to music. This is the time when you don't listen to music to enjoy it, but listen to feel it relieve you. Try to listen to your favorite tracks or watch your favorite clips. For office workers, croon your favorite song or your favorite lines from a song, using your deep notes. It'll give you relief, and you'll obtain balance in your mood once again.
Write out your problems, to organize your thoughts.
When your thoughts are not organized, you can't think clearly, which leads to confusion and stress. To solve your problem, find some possible ways to solve it, and then select the best one. If you have trouble deciding between two solutions, make a two column pros and cons list (for and against), such as dividing a sheet of paper down the center to compare two ways to handle that situation.
Relax. You deserve it, it's good for you, and it takes less time than you think.