From traffic jams in the morning to looming deadlines at work, stress is something we all have to deal with on a daily basis. While we may never be able to rid ourselves of stress and the negative symptoms that come along with it, there are many things we can do to keep stress levels under control and lessen its impact on our physical, mental, and emotional health. If you or someone you know struggles with stress management, take a look at these seven simple ways to reduce stress and get back to being a happier, healthier you.
We can’t say enough good things about the stress-reducing benefits of exercise. It doesn’t matter what exercise you do or how many calories you burn, just do something you truly enjoy. Exercise relieves stress by boosting endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters that improve your mood and regulate your emotions.
Do something you enjoy:
Whether it’s watching TV, jogging, cooking, or shopping, we all have activities that make us happy. You owe it to yourself to do one of these enjoyable activities, especially after a stressful day. The key here is to actually make time for leisurely activities and allow yourself the break even when it feels like there is no time to break.
Sometimes, all you need is a good laugh to brighten your day and relieve stress. The physical act of laughing stimulates the organs, increases your intake of oxygen, and releases endorphins in the brain. A good chuckle can also increase your heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in a relaxed, soothing feeling. If you’re in need of a good laugh, throw on a comedy, call up an old friend, or check out the funnies section of your newspaper.
If you’ve ever gone a night without sleep, then you know how much sleep deprivation can affect your mood and stress level. Sleep is vital to proper brain function and mental performance, and when these functions become impaired, your stress levels rise. One of the best ways to reduce stress and keep it from ruining your day is to get adequate sleep. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night, and be sure to practice relaxing bedtime routines, like reading or listening to soothing music.
Whenever you feel stress creeping up, stop what you’re doing and meditate. There are many different types of meditation and relaxation techniques you can do virtually anywhere. Whether you close your eyes and imagine yourself laying on a beach underneath the stars, or pause to take deep breaths while repeating a mantra in your head, spending even just a few minutes in meditation can do wonders for reducing your stress and achieving inner peace.
Reduce caffeine and sugar intake:
As hard as it is to give up your morning cup of Joe or sugary snack after dinner, it may be the best thing you can do to reduce your stress. Although caffeine may give you a productive jolt, too much of the stuff can cause a rapid heartbeat and increase in blood pressure. The energizing effects of caffeine can also keep you up at night and interfere with sleep. Sugary foods can also produce a temporary “high,” but as soon as you crash, irritability, poor concentration, and tiredness tend to follow.
Keep a stress journal:
In order to eliminate certain stressors in your life, you have to identify the sources first. If you’re unsure of what exactly is causing you to stress, keep a stress journal and document your emotions every day. By doing so, you’ll be able to see stress patterns and become more aware of the causes of your stress. Once you know this information, you can better address the problem and develop healthy coping methods.
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