Limits Of Music As A Mood Booster
Matching music to your current mood can feel validating, but it can also keep you stuck in a negative emotional state â if you let it.
You can still listen to a sad song when youâre upset or let out your anger to some heavy metal. Just be mindful of where itâs taking you and shift into something different if you feel yourself getting stuck.
Itâs also important to consider that while music can be a powerful tool for regulating and shifting your emotions, it’s not a substitute for mental health treatment. If you have distressing emotional experiences that interfere with your ability to function, consider talking to a licensed mental health professional.
Reflecting On Your Stress
Why Quick Natural Stress Reduction Strategies Are So Important
It seems as though most Americans are high on stress these days. Unfortunately, the data backs up this feeling.
According to a 2014 study conducted by the American Psychological Association, 77% of adults in the United States regularly experience physical symptoms of stress and 73% encounter psychological symptoms caused by stress.
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Learn To Recognise The Signs That You Are Becoming Stressed
There are a wide range of possible signs and symptoms that may be associated with stress. These include headaches, stomach upsets and indigestion, and sleep problems. Many people also find they become very emotional and have trouble regulating their emotions.
Unfortunately, most of these signs are fairly non-specific: that is, they may be associated with many different illnesses and conditions. It can therefore be hard to identify when your symptoms are the result of stress. You should always consult a doctor if these symptoms last any length of time.
It is a good idea to learn to recognise the signs that you are becoming stressed, so that you can take action early on.
There is more about this in our page on What is Stress?
Meditation Can Change Your Brains Stress Patterns
Meditation is a powerful tool for awakening new neural connections and even transforming regions of the brain. As researchers have found, meditation can even change the brains structure in ways that decrease habitual stress patterns and promote calm.
For example, research conducted by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that after only eight weeks of meditation, participants experienced beneficial growth in the brain areas associated with memory, learning, empathy, self-awareness, and stress regulation . In addition, the meditators reported decreased feelings of anxiety and greater feelings of calm.
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Take Action: Get Active
Regular physical activity can help prevent and manage stress. It can also help relax your muscles and improve your mood. So get active:
- Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity try going for a bike ride or taking a walk
- Do strengthening activities like push-ups or lifting weights at least 2 days a week
Remember, any amount of physical activity is better than none!
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Guided Imagery Or Visualization
Imagine yourself lying on a sandy beach with a soft breeze gently stirring the warm air. Use your senses to smell the saltwater and feel the sun as you transport yourself there. Thats guided imagery or visualization.
It uses the power of your mind to change your focus to a peaceful time or event.
If were in a stressful situation, you know, just shifting our mind and focusing on a time when we were really, really relaxed is an effective way to calm down, Brown says.
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Go On A Cleaning Binge
Giving the inside of your pantry a good wipe-down or really getting into the sofa cushions with a vacuum attachment has multiple stress reducing benefits on top of fewer visits from icky vermin: its a project that requires a little planning, but some physical activityboth of which Kissen says can reduce stressand is likely to result in a sense of achievement that lifts your mood. And working mindfully at it can reduce stress even more: one study found that folks who were told to stay gently focused on what they were doing while washing dishes boosted their effect
Practice The Relaxation Response
To perform the Relaxation Response:
Practice this at least once or twice each day. When you are more experienced, you can do a 15-second version to help you de-stress in the middle of stressful events, says Dr. Sinha.
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Feel Better And Knock Out That Stress With These Tips
If there are high levels of emotion attached to a life event, stress can surely follow. Once you feel strained, you can dwell on that strain and it can increase the stress you feel in your life. By following these tips, you can stop the stress cycle.
You should avoid thinking about your stress as such. When you constantly tell yourself that you are something, before long it becomes true and this covers stress as well. Saying or thinking this word can make you to feel it, so call it another name.
Write About Your Stress
Writing about your stress and how you feel is therapeutic. And it helps you to organize your thoughts and how theyre affecting you so that you can better understand whats going on inside your mind.
Moreover, your increased awareness will help you to identify the most effective, healthy solutions.
To de-stress using this method, start by setting a timer for at least 5 minutes . Get a journal or piece of paper out and begin writing.
Write about whats going on, your feelings and the beliefs you have around your situation. Get curious about how you could be exacerbating your stress. Ask what you want to do about the situation and write about that.
Once your timer goes off, make a choice to let go.
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Why We Should Think Of Our Brains As A Muscle That Needs Training
We understand what its like to go to the gym a few times a week and look after our physical bodies, but we need to start looking after our minds theyve never been under this much strain, where the world is quicker than ever.”
Just like our body, our mind needs regular exercise and daily attention, says Jamie. “To be able to manage your mind is a skill like any other skill and weve forgotten that. Why wait until you feel terrible to do it?
Our mind needs regular exercise and daily attention. To be able to manage your mind is a skill.
The goal of exercising your mind is not to find happiness, which Jamie describes as a transient emotion. “All of our emotions are transient. Theres no such thing as a bad emotion,” she says. “When we dont feel happy we panic, but its about accepting that we are always in different stages but knowing that it will pass. Happiness is not perfect it doesnt exist when you get that job or the house or the car were always putting happiness off because were always in this rat race to get there.
By taking a time out each day to perform some brain training exercises, Jamies hope is that the simple process will help you accept when thing arent perfect and give you a different metric for success .
Good Daytime Habits For Relieving Nighttime Stress
In addition to relaxation techniques, there are steps you can take during the day to relieve stress at night. A common aid is to exercise during the day. In addition to other health benefits, daytime exercise has been linked to better sleep in patients with generalized anxiety disorders. Exercise can also assist with issues such as insomnia. Another strategy for sleep hygiene overall is to wake up at a regular time. Even on the weekends, research shows that consistent wake times are an important component of sleep hygiene.
Keep in mind there is no exact schedule for how quickly youll be able to feel less stressed and anxious before going to sleep. However, consistent practice of relaxing techniques can help long-term. If you have questions or concerns about which strategy or strategies are right for you, consult your physician.
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Top Ways To Reduce Stress
Stress. We all experience it, and everyone can benefit from reducing it. Stress can wreak havoc on your health – including your heart health. And reducing stress can go a long way to helping you prevent and maybe even reverse conditions that can lead to heart disease. So, what can you do to reduce your stress and save your heart?
Here are some tips for reducing stress that can have the added benefit of improving your heart health.
Stress Stinks What Can You Do About It
- Stress is a fact of life. A 2017 American Psychological Association survey found that a whopping 80% of respondents reported experiencing at least one symptom of stress over the past month.1 Does this describe you?
- Sometimes we stress over good things, like a long line at a brunch spot, a new job, an upcoming wedding, or a new baby. And other times its over not-so-good things like being sick, working too much, or family drama.
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Tips To Use Music To Improve Your Well
Music therapists can help you find ways to use music for your mental health. This type of therapist learns how to use music-making and listening to help people understand and process their emotions. Like traditional mental health counseling, music therapy is customized to the needs of the client.
But you don’t necessarily need a therapist. You can also use music on your own to improve your mental well-being:
Listen to relaxing music. The best music for stress reduction is the kind that works for you. If youâre not sure where to start, look for music that plays at about 60 beats per minute. Researchers say that this tempo is best for encouraging the alpha brainwaves that signal a relaxed and conscious mind.
Most streaming services have meditation tracks set at this tempo. Many people also find that Celtic, Native American, and Indian string or flute music tends to have a calming effect.
Express yourself with a beat. You donât need to be a trained musician to make music. Anyone can grab a rhythm instrument like a drum or rain stick and create beats that are mournful, angry, joyful, or excited.
Try this music therapy technique: By yourself or with a few friends, get some rhythm instruments and create the sounds of a storm. Let the storm become more and less intense, raging for a while and then backing down to a calmer state. Create rhythms that express emotions youâve been feeling. If youâd like you can talk about those feelings after the improvised storm has passed.
Laughing And Having Fun
It is hard to feel stressed when having a good time, so finding time to have fun can also lower a persons cortisol levels. One study showed cortisol levels decreasing in response to laughter.
Being happy and having a positive outlook appear to be related to lower cortisol levels, and happiness has other benefits too, such as lower blood pressure and a stronger immune system.
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What Can Prolonged Stress Lead To
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36 or mental health problems such as depression.3 This means it is important to manage your stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to your body and mind.
Best Tips For Relieving Nighttime Stress
There are numerous strategies for relieving nighttime stress and anxiety before bedtime. If youre feeling too stressed to sleep, these approaches can help you relax. Some sleepers use only one or two of these relaxation strategies while others practice a combination of them. If stress and sleep are a chronic concern, your physician can help you determine what the best approach is for you.
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Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.
Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal to join your body and mind.
Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have examined yogas effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety .
However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.
In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.
Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Years of research have found PMR helps reduce anxiety and calm breathing. Lie down and relax, and then tighten, hold and then release each muscle in your body, one at a time, starting with your toes and moving up to the crown of your head. Do this slowly and methodically, and dont forget the muscles of your face. It may be more relaxing to listen to someone else walk you through the exercise. Visit this link to find audio, video, and scripts that you can record and then playback to yourself.
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Natural Ways To Lower Cortisol
If the communication between the brain and the adrenal gland is functioning correctly, the body should be able to increase and reduce cortisol production as necessary.
However, levels of cortisol can sometimes remain high even after the resolution of a stressful situation. This can have a negative impact on health.
The following simple tips may help to moderate cortisol levels:
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
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Listen To Soothing Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too .
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why theyre often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.