Whether it’s related to an issue at work, a fight with a friend, or problems with family, everyone feels stressed sometimes. Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. In fact, 54 percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their daily lives as stress poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being.
Stress can affect how you feel, think, behave and how your body works. When you are in stress, the blood pressure rises, rate rises, digestive system slows down, heart immune system goes down, muscles become tense and proper sleep is nor at all possible.
Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. If you are in stress, there are ways to minimize stress factors and stay healthy.
Here is a list of top 14 ways to relieve stress.
- Listen to Music: Music has a soothing impact on your mind and soul and hence music is considered as an extremely effective stress management tool. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by a stressful situation, take a break and listen to some kind of soft and soothing music. Such kind of music will have a positive effect on the brain and body and help to reduce cortisol, a hormone that causes stress. At the same time music will divert your attention from the stressful situation and will transfer your soul to a peaceful world.
- Call a Friend: When you are stressed, your friends can help you a lot to come out of the situation. Talk about your problems with your friend and soon the reassuring voice can help you to relax. This is one reason why it is highly recommended to make a list of the people you can turn to for support and a friendly conversation whenever there is a need.
- Talk Yourself Through It: In case you do not feel like talking with others, then you can try talking calmly to yourself. This is a great way to find out why you are stressed out and what can be done to get out of the situation. While self talking you need to keep a positive approach towards the situation or else you end up feeling negative about your life.
- Eat Right: There is a close connection between stress levels and a proper diet plan. So, you need to choose sensible food items to control stress. During times of stress, you must take low-fat, high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods increase the energy level and give the body the nutrients to boost the immune system. At the same time you need to avoid high-fat foods, caffeine and too much sugar as such foods can make you lethargic and you will not be able to handle the situation.
- Take Deep Breaths: Whenever you are in stress, take deep breaths for a few minutes and you will notice your body and mind is having a relaxing. To enjoy deep breaths, first sit up straight, close your eyes and put a hand on your belly. Now 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 breaths will slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure and thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks.
- Laugh out Loudly: Few minutes of laughing is another simple trick to reduce stress. Laughter releases endorphins that are known to improve you mood. It also reduce stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. When you are in stress take a break and enjoy some cartoon show or some kind of laughter show. A few minutes of laughing session will make you feel happy from within.
- Drink Green Tea: A cup of green tea will also help a lot in reducing the stress level. Green tea has less than half the caffeine of coffee and contains healthy antioxidants, as well as theanine, an amino acid that has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system. At the same time regular consumption of green tea has many healthy benefits also.
- Exercise: Many studies show that physical activity can help ease stress and anxiety. To keep stress at bay you must incorporate at least half an hour of physical exercise daily. Exercise doesn’t mean power lifting at the gym or training for a marathon. A short walk around the park, some light yoga exercises, cycling, swimming, taking the stairs instead of using the lift, taking your dog to the park and so on can help a lot. Physical exercise gets your blood moving that help to release endorphins which in turn improves your mood.
- Sleep Better: It is true that stress can cause you to lose sleep, but lack of sleep can also cause stress. When you sleep, the body gets time to repair and the body and mind become calm. So, make it a point to get about seven to eight hours of sleep every day. When you sleep better you feel more relaxed and refreshed. This helps you to handle stressful situations in a much better manner.
- Pray: Prayer is communication with God, a way to develop a relationship. Irrespective of what religion you follow, you need to pray to God and thank him for all the things he has given you. Praying to God also helps to reduce negative thoughts and worries and help you to see the stressful situation in a positive and better way.
- Meditate: A few minutes of meditation daily can help ease anxiety. Several research works suggest that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress. The meditation process can be simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes and pay attention on reciting a positive mantra like “I feel at peace” for few minutes. The silence that goes along with meditation will have positive effects on your life.
- Journal your Thoughts. Use a journal to reflect, share and recognize the positive and negative things in your life. In fact, you need to make a conscious effort to write down the positives, as it will help a lot to loosen the grip of daily stress. Find a quiet place and spend a few minutes daily writing about what’s nagging at you. This simple process of writing will make your relaxed.
- Go for a Holiday: It is important to take regular breaks from your busy schedule and plan for a holiday so that you get quality time to spend with your family members and close friends. It has also been found that a change of place helps to lower stress levels. Once in six months time you need to plan for a holiday. Depending upon your budget and preference level, you can choose to visit a far away location or opt for a nearby weekend destination.
- Indulge in Hobbies: Do something just for fun at least once a week. Movies, fishing, time with the friends, date night, the zoo, gardening or anything else that you love to do. These activities help a lot to distract you from the stressful situation. Also these activities will give you pleasure and make you happy. When you are in a happy mode, stress will automatically get reduced.
Following these simple tips will open doors of opportunity for you to reduce stress and lead a healthy life.