Short term stress is a natural component of survival, but the chronic stress that many Americans experience prevents you from entering recovery mode. This sets up your body for serious problems. Relieving stress ensures that you are able to sleep, digest your food, have a proper balance of hormones, and maintain a positive mood. There are many easy ways to help relieve your stress that I will cover in my blog.
Exercise and Movement
Moving your body can be one of the best ways to relieve stress. It releases endorphins, lowers cortisol, and brings blood to all your working tissue. Using your body during the day can promote a more sound sleep schedule, further reducing stress and anxiety. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience stress in the first place. Some great examples of exercise include activities such as: going to the gym, yoga, rock climbing, swimming, gardening, jogging, walking, parkour, and dance.
Essential Oils and Candles
Aromatherapy has become more mainstream as alternative medicine. Essential oils can be applied dermally (on the skin) with a carrier oil like avocado oil or released into the air via a diffuser. Candles can have the same calming effects by using herbal scents or smells that elicit positive memories.
There are specific essential oils that can help with depression, anxiety, and stress such as:
● Ylang Ylang
● Sweet Orange
● Roman Chamomile
Caffeine is a stimulant commonly used to help people wake up or boost anaerobic workout performance. It is found in workout drinks, tea, coffee, and even chocolate. Everyone has a different threshold when it comes to caffeine intake. If you notice you are jittery, overly energetic, or have a hard time falling asleep, you may want to cut back on your caffeine.
An improper diet can lead to a lack of energy and leave you feeling lethargic. Emotional eating, most often “stress eating,” feels good in the moment but tends to leave you feeling worse in the future. A long term healthy diet can help you combat stress and anxiety and set you up for better physical health as well.
A great laugh can help melt the stress away. Laughing can help lower the stress chemical cortisol while also releasing endorphins, boosting your mood. Even a forced fake laugh can produce results and create positive changes. Spend time with friends who make you smile, watch a funny movie, tell jokes, or attend a comedy show.
Individuals who are stressed and anxious can also experience a decrease in sleep quality and duration. This is often because your brain is thinking about all the things it still has to do, but sleep is the brain and body’s chance to recharge. By taking steps to have a good night’s sleep, you can experience a boost in productivity, mood, and energy. Good rules for a quality night sleep are: no screens an hour before bed, use dimmer lights in the evening to help the release of the body’s melatonin, a consistent sleep schedule, and listening to soothing music. Taking a 30 minute nap midday is a fantastic tool for stress relief, calming your mind and giving you a little boost of energy.
Set boundaries and learn to say no
Stressors can often come from worrying about others, not just yourself. You may sometimes feel like you have to do everything and assist anyone who asks for help. This can often lead to you feeling stressed and overwhelmed as you stockpile more responsibilities. If you say no, you can lighten your load and focus on what you need. Remember that you can’t help others if you don’t first care for yourself.
Cuddling and hugs
Physical touch has a lot of benefits including releasing oxytocin, slowing the heart beat and lowering blood pressure, and decreasing cortisol. This can come in the form of cuddling, hugs, and sex.
Massage therapy has been shown to help the body enter a relaxed state. Just like physical touch it helps decrease cortisol, blood pressure, and lower the heart beat. There are other benefits such as pain relief, and improved physical performance which can further decrease stress and improve your mood.
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Spending Time with Pets
Having a pet can provide a variety of benefits. Pets can build a sense of purpose, companionship, and unconditional love in your daily life. Spending time with a pet can help release oxytocin, the brain chemical that helps promote an upbeat mood.
Stress can easily seem overwhelming in our daily lives and something we just need to learn to live with. However if we pay attention to the signs and take little steps we can slowly remove unnecessary stress from our life.