Everyone experiences stress from time to time. Depending on your surroundings and situation, stress can be a positive force motivating you or a negative one crushing you under its weight. Stress comes in various forms – some are acute while others are chronic.
If left unaddressed, prolonged stress can cause serious damage to your physical, mental and emotional health. Fortunately, with the right strategies and techniques, you can reduce your stress levels and manage its effects for the long term. Here is a list of effective ways to relieve & manage stress:
1. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress and reduce muscle tension. Studies have found that regular exercise can reduce the psychological effects of stress by boosting your mood, reducing anxiety and increasing feelings of relaxation.
The more you exercise, the higher your levels of endorphins (natural painkillers) are released in your brain. This reduces stress levels and boosts your mood, which is why people who exercise regularly tend to have improved mental health and decreased feelings of stress.
If you have never considered regular exercise as a means to relieve stress, now is the time to start. Not only will you lower your stress levels and reduce muscle tension, you will also reap numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, weight management and even brain function.
This also does not mean you need to walk or run a mile a day to see results. Stress can be brought down by doing more subtle exercises such as yoga, pilates, or even swimming.
2. Mindful Breathing
We are what we breathe. Sounds cliche, but it’s true! When we are under stress, our breathing becomes much more shallow and also more rapid. When this happens, we are unconsciously breathing out built-in tension.
If you notice that you are breathing out tension when you are under stress, consciously breathe in again. This will reduce your stress level and bring you back to a more relaxed state. Many people find it helpful to focus on their inhale (take a breath in) and exhale (breathe out tension) while they are under stress.
This can help you to reduce your stress level and re-direct your energy. Several breathing exercises have been proven effective for stress reduction and managing anxiety, including the 4-7-8 breathing technique and diaphragmatic breathing.
Many people also count to 10, which is often taught to young children as well. You can count to 10 while deep breathing to have more mindful breaths and reduce your immediate stress.
3. Take a Break
We often feel the most creative ideas when we are under stress. A break from work, school or other stress-inducing activities can help you to relax and regain your creative spirit. When you are taking a break, write down your feelings and thoughts so you can process them.
This can be especially helpful if you are experiencing anger towards someone else or if you feel depressed. In addition, spending time outdoors, taking a bath or taking a walk can help you to calm down and relax.
4. Visualize Your Desired Outcome
When you are stressed, your brain often goes into overdrive. It is critical to de-clutter your brain, which is why visualizing your desired outcome is so important.
When you are stressed, make a mental note of what you want to accomplish. For example, if you want to lose weight and get in better shape, make a note of it. This will help you to stay focused and prevent you from going down the wrong path.
5. Talk to Someone You Trust
Talking things out is an effective way to relieve stress and build trust with others. Choose someone you trust and open up about your feelings and thoughts. This can help you to process your feelings and release built-in stress as well.
Talking to a friend or therapist can also help you to vent and release stress. You may find that you are able to process your thoughts and emotions more thoroughly once you release the stress from talking. Many therapists also use somatic therapy techniques which are wonderful for coping with stress.
6. Nourish Your Body
When you are under stress, your body is in survival mode. This means that it is likely not receiving the nourishment that it needs. If you are feeling stressed, try to take some time to relax.
This can be as simple as sitting in silence or taking a hot bath. If you are feeling stressed, try to relax your body by focusing on your breath. This can help to lower your body’s stress response, slow down your heart rate and increase your levels of serotonin – a happy hormone that makes you feel relaxed and calm.
Also eat healthy whole foods, so you don’t feel sluggish throughout the day which can also contribute to stress.
7. Connect with Others
Socializing has been shown to relieve stress, improve your health and improve your immune system. When you are under stress, it is important to take care of your mental and physical health by connecting with others. You can use this time to get together with friends, family or a romantic partner. Or you can volunteer or participate in community service.
8. Re-evaluate Your Life Goals
Are you happy with your life? Have you checked in with yourself recently and asked yourself these questions? If you have been feeling particularly stressed, take some time to re-evaluate your life goals and see if there are any that need to be re-evaluated. Once you have done this, you can begin stress-free re-evaluating your life goals to see if there are any that need to be re-evaluated.
You do not need to feel stuck and overwhelmed by being in stressful situations. With the right strategies and techniques, you can reduce your stress levels and feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin. While it is important to take steps to relieve stress, it is also vital that you learn how to manage it for the long term.