Stressful situations happen regularly, so it would be unwise to avoid learning to deal with them. Over half of Americans report feeling stress daily and are concerned about their stress levels. Stress is as much a physical concern as it is a mental and emotional one. Listed below are ten of the best ways to relieve the stresses of the everyday:
People who exercise experience less anxiety than those who don’t. Sleep quality and confidence can improve with regular exercise. More specifically, exercises that concentrate on repetitive movements of large muscle groups (e.g. the leg muscles) are the most stress relieving (e.g. dancing or jogging).
Certain scents can be particularly soothing and improve one’s mood:
Aromatherapy decreases anxiety and improves sleep. Essential oils can be substituted for scented candles.
During meditation, the goal is to clear the mind of everything that preoccupies it. Meditation can help one establish a sense of peace that can continue for the remainder of the day. Namely, meditating benefits emotional health:
Positive physical contact can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Hugging, kissing, cuddling, and having sex helps relieve stress by lowering cortisol (a stress hormone) and releasing oxytocin (commonly referred to as the love hormone).
Deep breathing is focused breathing; the goal is to fully expand the lungs by taking slow and deep breaths. As a result, heart rate decreases (which, in turn, decreases stress on the body). Another goal of deep breathing is to decrease mental stress (which causes a lot of physical stress).
Massage not only helps relieve the physical tensions of the body, but some studies have found that it can reduce stress by significantly lowering the heart rate. This study also recorded significantly decreased cortisol levels (i.e. stress hormones) after five minutes of massage.
People can relieve stress through writing down those things that are so stressful. Additionally, and generally more stress-relieving, writing down the positive things in life can shift the focus from the negative to positive.
Laughter can reduce anxiety and relieve stress physically by:
Regular laughter can improve the immune system and mood. Watching comedic films or
television shows and hanging out with funny people provide a few opportunities for laughter.
Chewing gum is a good quick fix for relieving stress. Relieving stress in this way is greatest when people chew strongly. There are two main theories on why gum chewing is so relaxing. First, chewing gum may manipulate the brain waves and make them appear like
those of more relaxed people. Second, chewing gum promotes blood flow to the brain.
Procrastination is a regular habit for the stressed. Waiting until the deadline can lead to scrambling which increases stress. Creating and following a to-do list can help with managing priorities and, in turn, decreasing stress.
While these are some great ways to relieve stress, there are other stress relief practices that are as beneficial: taking a nap, practicing yoga, listening to music, drinking black tea, caring for a pet, taking a walk, reducing caffeine intake, and practicing mindfulness. Every activity may not work for everyone, so it is important to find what works best so there will always be a method to fall back on when life becomes overwhelming.
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