Ways To Relieve Stress
Stress is a dangerous killer that often gets overlooked. It's become such a common problem! It's time to relieve it before it wrecks havoc in our bodies and minds.
Take A Time Out
This is difficult to do, but it’s perhaps the most effective step you can take: hit the pause button on life. It involves calling into work sick, asking a friend to take notes in class for you, giving yourself permission to skip your workout class, and essentially breaking off all other commitments for an entire day.
And the reason it’s so hard is because we’ve become conditioned to be as responsible as we can possibly be. Cancelling everything so we can watch Netflix, take a bath, and eat a little junk food for a change sounds like the opposite of responsibility.
But in reality, taking a time out to give yourself some much needed rest and relaxation is responsible. Without addressing it, you’re only working at half capacity on everything else in life. Nothing gets your very best. Never be afraid to give yourself a break when you need it.
No, it’s not just for the hippies and the yoga obsessed. Meditation is something anyone and everyone can do. Not to mention, it’s super helpful when you just need to quiet your anxious thoughts.
Contrary to popular belief, the entire point of meditation is to sit or lie down, be very still, and then try to be as blank minded as possible. You don’t need special bells, or a special pretzel-style way of seating.
And your mind will wander, because that’s just the way things go at first. Over time, with practice, your mind will reach silence. Until then, just bring your thoughts back to center, back to blank, once you catch yourself wandering.
Even just 10 minutes a day can make a world of difference in terms of giving yourself some personal space and time to realign the world around you.
It’s not just a way to slim down, or tone up, or feel better about downing that burger. Exercise has been proven to help with things like stress. And the benefits are strongest when you incorporate it into your daily life.
Here’s why: exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones, like cortisol, and it improves your sleep quality because of it. The added benefit of it all? Improved confidence, because you’re likely to shed some weight, or tone up, and you’ll be feeling far, far happier with your appearance.
So, join a spin class, take up Zumba, go kick boxing, or just try to incorporate some weekly hiking into your routine. Something as simple as going for a walk around the neighborhood everyday can help!
Change Up Your Diet
That’s right, change up your diet. Not for weight this time, but for stress relief. For instance, reducing your caffeine intake may seem terrible, but there’s a stimulant in coffee, tea and chocolate that increases anxiety. Instead, opt for more fatty fish in your diet, which is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to reduce anxiety by 20% in most adults.
Green tea is something else to consider, as it increases serotonin levels. Or green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, since they actually produce dopamine, the pleasure-chemical release in the brain that normally happens during sex.
Other foods for stress relief include but aren’t limited to oatmeal, yogurt, turkey breast, blueberries, pistachios, milk, avocado and cashews.
Change Up Your Sleep Habits
It always gets mentioned, and it always gets overlooked, largely because most people assume that your sleep habits can afford to suffer a bit. Everyone assumes that what you do while awake counts for more than when you’re gone to dreamland.
But the opposite is true. When you don’t sleep well, when you stay up late because you want to watch one more episode, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. The human body deserves to rest. It’s the only time it has to conduct maintenance, to check on your brain cells, to ensure your sexual organs are functioning properly, and even to take out the trash. According to scientists, REM sleep is when your brain clears out information you don’t need.
In other words, when you don’t sleep enough, when you don’t adhere to a sleeping schedule that you can uphold, then you’re going to stress more. Everything will seem harder than it is, and you’ll be cloudy or foggy for the better part of the day.
Eliminate the Stress Inducers
If all else fails, if all the steps you take toward managing stress just aren’t enough, then it’s time to tackle the problem in such a way as to eliminate anything that isn’t absolutely necessary.
In other words, if work is causing you the most stress, think about your mental health for a second. Is this the way you want to live the rest of your life? With this much stress? Is it time for a career change, maybe?
If you can’t change it, or don’t want to change it, then you’re going to need to cut out stress from somewhere else. Maybe you’re currently in a toxic relationship, or you are dealing with one-sided friendships. Whomever is inflicting more pain than they’re worth needs to go, because they’re obviously not right with themselves, or the world, and all they’re doing is bringing negativity into your life.
There will always be some level of stress in your life, because that’s normal. Stress itself isn’t a major issue, because it’s your body’s way of alerting you to the fact that you have work to do. It’s when you don’t listen to those signals, and you let things pile up that it becomes dangerous.
Do yourself a favor and listen to the clues. Next time your body is yelling at you, telling you that you’re hanging out with the wrong people, or dating the wrong person, listen loud and clear. Next time your very being tells you not to go to work, give yourself a day to think about why that might be. There’s always a reason why you’re feeling like something other than yourself, and there’s always time to figure out what that reason might be.