How To Relieve Stress: 10 Simple Ways
How To Relieve Stress: 10 Simple Ways
Stress is your body’s natural, automatic response to any type of experience, whether it is good or bad. When something happens that makes you stressed your body reacts by releasing different chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine into the blood stream to prepare you for physical action.
These chemicals cause a number of different reactions, from diverting blood to the muscles to shutting down unnecessary functions like the digestive system.
All of this is to give you more strength and increase energy levels preparing you to “fight or flight”, and in the case of real physical danger this system is very efficient. But, when the stress is related to an emotional problem there is no way to get rid of that extra strength and energy which can cause long term health problems.
Some common sources of stress include
Survival Stress (fight of flight) – is a reaction to something or someone that may injure you, your body responds with increased strength in case you have to fight and more energy in case you have to flight (run).
Internal Stress – Simply put this is when you worry about things that you have no control over, or worry for no reason at all. This type of stress can evolve into a cycle of worrying – increasing stress – Then worrying about the increasing stress – increasing stress.
Some people can actually become addicted to a hectic, rushed lifestyle and may even look for situations that will elevate their stress levels.
Environmental Stress – This is a stress reaction to things in your life such as large crowds, noise, work problems or family issues.
Fatigue and Overwork – This stress builds up over a period of time and can have serious effects on your health, it is caused by working too long, too hard or too much. Maybe in your job or studies or in the home.
Whether your stress is work related, emotional, or caused by problems at home, there are many simple steps you can take to reduce your stress levels fast.
1. Progressive Relaxation
Tense and relax each muscle group from the toes – feet – lower legs – thighs – buttocks – stomach – chest – shoulders – upper arms – forearms – neck – face. Use slow deep breathing and on the out breath mentally say the word “relax” and physically relax each muscle group. Relaxing the body in this way will also relax and clear your mind.
This is a very powerful stress reliever and is used by most professionals. #REF and it only takes around 20 minutes.
2. Light Yoga
If you don’t want to do progressive relaxation try some yoga, the deep breathing techniques and different body poses will give you a similar effect to progressive relaxation and you will gain the added benefits of socializing, which in itself is a great stress reliever.
3. Deep Breathing (meditation)
Now I am not talking about slipping on an orange robe, sitting in a comfy position and chanting for 5 hours. When you are at work, or at home, or in the park; just slow down, take a couple of deep breaths and as you breath out say the word relax to yourself and physically relax your whole body – just let it go loose and floppy.
The fact that you are thinking relax, and mixing your thought pattern with physically relaxing your body will give you the added benefit of clearing your mind and increasing concentration. #REF Do this a couple of times and you will be amazed how fast your stress levels will drop.
Aroma therapy has a solid history as a great tool for stress relief. The best aromas to burn for stress are lavender, jasmine, chamomile, bergamot, rose, clary sage, neroli, sandalwood, ylang ylang and vanilla. #REF
6. Listen to music.
There has been a lot of research done on the physical and emotional effects of music. It can soothe your nerves, change your moods and energize your life.
If you are feeling down don’t listen to music which will keep you down, put on something fun, something uplifting; grab someone and have a dance.
Laughter is a very potent medicine, it can bring people together triggering healthy physiological and emotional changes, it boosts your mood, helps reduce pain, strengthens your immune system and fights against stress. So invite your friends around and have a good old cackle, everyone will feel better for it. #REF
8. Drink tea
We all love a quick caffeine fix and in times of crisis, or any social occasion we are drawn to a nice hot cuppa. Now we understand that this is a good thing as there is research showing caffeine protects us against the effects of stress.
In a study mice were subjected to a constant bombardment of different stressors. Over a period of time they suffered memory problems, lost their appetite and became very anxious, but adding caffeine to their diet before putting them under stress stopped most of the symptoms from occurring. #REF
Exercise improves your physical condition and helps fight disease, it is also a vital step in maintaining good mental health and is a great stress reliever.
Many studies show that exercise reduces fatigue, improves alertness, is great for concentration and enhances your overall cognitive function.
Exercise is a great tool to use if you have depleted energy and a lowered ability to concentrate due to stress. #REF
10. Try visualization
This is great when used with aroma therapy, deep breathing and listening to music.
• You get home and put some mellow, soothing music on
• You grab a stick of Jasmine and fire it up
• You make yourself comfortable, you might lie down or just sit in a comfortable position
• You take slow deep breaths relaxing more and more on every out breath and slowly let your eyes close
• When you are feeling very relaxed you can then visualize yourself in any situation that makes you very calm and relaxed, draw on a memory when you were totally relaxed and feeling great.