Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people.
In fact, 70% of adults in the US say they feel stress or anxiety daily.
As your life changes and evolves, it may be easier to take a deep breath and appreciate all that you have built in your life so far—and to consider all the wonderful adventures still ahead.
On the other hand, if you’ve spent the bulk of your life stressed out, relaxing may be tougher than you thought.
Learning how to slow down a bit and relax can decrease your blood pressure, make it easier to sleep, unwind any muscle tension, and even improve your digestion.
More than that, it can help you feel happier, healthier and more centered and grounded.
Ready to release some stress? Here are a few things to experiment with…
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. That “high” runners get after they’ve sprinted a few laps is a rush of endorphins, the brain’s natural mood boosting chemicals. Exercise offers natural stress relief by raising levels of feel-good chemicals while lowering cortisol and other stress hormones.
To get that high, and the stress relief that comes with it, it doesn’t require the intensity of a run. Any type of cardio (walking, swimming, dancing) should get those brain chemicals pumping.
Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. When we’re overwhelmed, we often forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up.
Try to avoid sugary snacks and plan ahead. Make sure that you're eating foods rich in antioxidants such as fruits, vegetables, seeds and fish.
Supplementing an antioxidant formula containing vitamin C, lipoic acid, and selenium can also help.
When you’re under stress, cortisol is released into your bloodstream. Heartbeat and respiration increase, along with a host of other reactions that can make you feel nervous or unsettled.
Consciously slowing your breath can slow or halt these reactions.
A quiet, stroll in the outside can do wonders for stress relief. No need to rush; take whatever pace feels most natural, consciously slowing your breath can slow or halt these reactions. You can even put in some relaxing music to help take your mind off the issue.
One way to handle stress is to write things down.
While recording what you’re stressed about is one approach, another is jotting down what you’re grateful for.
What qualities in yourself are you thankful for? What attributes? What features? What hard-earned wisdom have you discovered? Write these down.
If you have a morning routine, this is an easy thing to add. And if you don’t, it’s an easy moment to take—after you wake up but before you get out of bed.
Even during the best of times, watching 24-hour news or constantly scrolling through social media can leave you feeling unsettled.
You needn’t completely avoid the news. Instead take conscious breaks and set reasonable limits for yourself.
Try setting a timer for social media scrolling or news watching. When the timer goes off, be conscious of how you feel. If time on social media or the news tends to stress you out, it might be worth taking a longer sabbatical—say, a few days or more—to reset and relax.
Stress is often caused by the “what ifs” we conjure in our minds. Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment.
A simple, regular meditation or yoga practice can reduce stress, control anxiety, lower blood pressure and improve sleep.
Everyone knows stress can cause you to lose sleep. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes the brain and body to get out of whack and only gets worse with time.
Make sure to get the doctor-recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Turn the TV off earlier, dim the lights, and give yourself time to relax before going to bed. It may be the most effective stress buster on our list.
When you’re feeling stressed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle.
They’re especially important when you're under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.
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