Snag 15 Minutes To Yourself Every Single Day
When youre dealing with coworkers, friends, a partner, and kids all day, every day, it can be helpful for your stress to just take a few minutes to yourself each day. Set aside 15 to 20 minutes of me-time every day, the AHA suggests, and do whatever you want. You can simply sit in your car and breathe deeply or listen to music before you go inside for the night or spend that time on your porch with a cup of coffee in the morninganything that helps you relax.
Tip : Recognize When Youre Stressed
It might seem obvious that youd know when youre stressed, but many of us spend so much time in a frazzled state that weve forgotten what it feels like when our nervous systems are in balance: when were calm yet still alert and focused. If this is you, you can recognize when youre stressed by listening to your body. When youre tired, your eyes feel heavy and you might rest your head on your hand. When youre happy, you laugh easily. And when youre stressed, your body lets you know that, too. Get in the habit of paying attention to your bodys clues.
Observe your muscles and insides. Are your muscles tense or sore? Is your stomach tight, cramped, or aching? Are your hands or jaw clenched?
Observe your breath. Is your breathing shallow? Place one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. Watch your hands rise and fall with each breath. Notice when you breathe fully or when you forget to breathe.
Use Essential Oils Or Scented Candles
The refreshing scent of essential oils and scented candles can have a relaxing effect on your mind, stimulating the smell receptors in your nose and sending positive signals to your brain!
Functioning as forms of aromatherapy, certain scents and essential oils may have compounds that help release stress and calm nerves.
One such example is lavender oil, which can help target the limbic system, the part of your brain that controls emotions.
Now that you know these handy tips on how to release stress, its time to start practicing them in your daily life! However, if you still cant seem to get a handle on your stress levels, getting some mental health advice could help.
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Tip : Identify The Sources Of Stress In Your Life
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isnt as straightforward as it sounds. While its easy to identify major stressors such as changing jobs, moving, or going through a divorce, pinpointing the sources of chronic stress can be more complicated. Its all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels.
Sure, you may know that youre constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe its your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
- Do you explain away stress as temporary even though you cant remember the last time you took a breather?
- Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life or as a part of your personality ?
- Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
Start a stress journal
A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal or use a stress tracker on your phone. Keeping a daily log will enable you to see patterns and common themes. Write down:
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.
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Effects Of Too Much Stress
“If constantly under stress, most of us will eventually start to function less well,” says Malaika Stoll, M.D., chief medical officer of SutterSelect. Multiple studies link chronic stress to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, weight gain, memory loss and even premature death, so “it’s important to recognize the warning signals,” she says.
Talk to your doctor about ways to manage stress if youre experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Prolonged periods of poor sleep
- Regular, severe headaches
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Feelings of isolation, withdrawal or worthlessness
- Constant anger and irritability
- Loss of interest in activities
- Constant worrying or obsessive thinking
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Inability to concentrate
How To Reduce Stress Anxiety And Depression
Too much stress can result in chronic anxiety and depression. Yet, it does not mean that we cannot control them anymore. Of course, stress can be normal or destructive. So, we do not want stress to rule over your life. In this sense, we provide you with the top seven tips to reduce or relieve these disturbances.
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What To Do When Youre Going Through A Stressful Time
Some stressors get resolved relatively quickly and go away . Other stressors are ones you have to cope with for long stretches of time, such as going through a divorce or breakup, managing a difficult health diagnosis, or looking for a new job. It could even be something exciting say if youre preparing for an upcoming move or planning a wedding.
Anything that puts high demands on you can be stressful even positive things, Dr. Schiff says. On these occasions, sticking to your usual routines can be helpful.
There is some reassurance in knowing whats going to happen and when, not to mention that routines promote positive physical and mental health, Schiff says. When faced with events that are scary and largely out of our control, its important to realize what you can control.
Its also important to acknowledge the extra stress youre feeling and perhaps take your stress management up a notch.
Its also a good idea to lean on your social circle in times like these. Spending time with family or friends who make you feel good, or finding a community with whom you share interests or spiritual beliefs, reduces stress, says Alka Gupta, MD, an internal medicine and integrative medicine doctor in private practice in Washington, DC.
Calm Your Nervous System With The Relaxation Response
The relaxation response directly counteracts reactions that increase distress, tension and pain. To get there, try diaphragmatic breathing or other yoga-based breathing exercises, like this one. Guided relaxation helps to deeply calm the mind and body. Doing it is simpler than you think: you can download an audiofile onto your smartphone, put in your headphones, close your eyes and follow along on a journey to a peaceful state.
Guided relaxations calm the nervous system by decreasing blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension while increasing blood flow. When your mind is in a state of stress from pain or anxiety, your breathing becomes tense and shallow. But research shows that when you consciously change your breathing, you can quickly change how you feel as well. In doing so, the mind is lulled into a state of peaceful relaxation. When the physiological attack signals are silenced, mind and body enter a state that signals trust and safety, which promotes physical and mental wellbeing.
In our research with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with trauma, we found that one week of intensive breathing practices normalized anxietyand the results were maintained one month and one year later. Theres more to the expression take a deep breath than we think.
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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.
Go Ahead And Stress Bake
Baking checks so many stress-reduction boxes: It can be a sensory experience it is a project that requires planning, concentration, and mindfulness, which activates your brain and if you enjoy it, its fun. Kate Merker, Good Housekeepings Chief Food Director, loves this amazing blueberry sweet roll recipe, but if youve had enough sugar, move on to a healthy pizza recipe. It feels comforting and you can literally put anything on top of pizza dough, she says. My kids help shape the dough, which is just fun, and they get a kick out of me twirling it in the air. And if youre stressed by the fact that no eats the same thing in your house? Everyone can pick and choose their own topping, Merker adds.
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Spend Time With Friends And Family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.
Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.
One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called tend and befriend, and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response .
Keep in mind that both men and women benefit from friendship.
Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety .
Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.
Its hard to feel anxious when youre laughing. Its good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted (
Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.
One way to do this may be to say no more often.
Find Your Pause Button
After experiencing times of great change, high demand, or significant loss, its essential to press pause and rest. Often creating time and space for rest means saying no to invitations and requests for help, at least temporarily, says Callahan. Consider spending quiet time daily: contemplation, reflection, and breathing fosters resilience and calm.
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Do Something To Make Yourself Laugh
Think back to the last time you laughedand I mean laughed . You probably felt way less stressed in that moment, right?
There’s a reason: People often hold a lot of their stress in their face, and laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension, according to the APA.
That’s why Chapman says scheduling time to interact with friends and family on FaceTime or by playing virtual games on apps like Houseparty, should be a regular events during physical distancing. Talking to and laughing with family and friends will get rid of those not-so-positive thoughts that can come with feeling isolated.
Impacts Of Stress On Your Life
Stress can have a big impact on our lives even when we dont realize that its happening. There are many short and long-term impacts of stress. Some of these are fatigue, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tension/aches, headaches, sleep problems, loss of sex drive, and memory difficulties. Left untreated chronic stress can lead to serious medical conditions. These diseases are such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and gastrointestinal problems.
Understanding the impacts of stress on your life is important. It is in order to avoid being overwhelmed by it. Once you understand how stress is impacting your life, you can begin to develop strategies for reducing it. Then you can live a more fulfilling life.
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Practice Good Time Management
Perhaps youre stressed because you feel like you always have an overwhelming amount of tasks to deal with, whether at home or at work.
Could it be time to go back to the drawing board and reassess how youre managing your time? You may not notice it, but it could be poor time management thats leading to you feeling so overwhelmed.
Proper time management and properly sorting your tasks out could help you get a better hold on what needs to be done, giving you more time for rest, relaxation and the other fun things that you deserve to help take the edge off.
Here are some time management tips that you can start applying in your daily life:
- Prioritise tasks based on importance and urgency
- Set a time limit for tasks
- Use a to-do list
- Dont multitask
Point Your Brain At A Problem
If the stress is more mental than physical and you feel your mind looping around itself, give yourself a discrete task, such as organizing your shoes or doing a word puzzle. When youre stressed, your brain may be saying, weve got a problem to solve so it keeps spinning. Thats a good time to engage your mind, says Kissen. If you give it a task to focus on, youll feel calmer and be better able to deal with whats actually stressing you out.
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Quick Ways To Reduce Stress
Taking care of your long-term mental and physical health is an important part of stress management. However, there isnt always time to take a nap, hike a fourteener, or read a novel. Thus, here are 25 ways to reduce stress in five minutes or less. From eating chocolate to meditating, there is a quick stress-relieving tactic for everyone.
1. BreatheSlow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate. Try pranayama breathing, a yogic method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. The technique is supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body.
2. Listen to Music No matter what the song, sometimes belting out the lyrics to a favorite tune makes everything seem all right. If youre in a public place, just listening to music can be a quick fix for a bad mood. Classical music can be especially relaxing right before bedtime.
3. Take a Quick Walk When youre feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick stroll around the block. Youll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts.
4. Find the Sun If its a sunny day, head outside for an easy way to lift your spirits. Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can even cheer up otherwise healthy people.
8. Rub Your Feet Over a Golf Ball You can get an impromptu, relaxing foot massage by rubbing your feet back and forth over a golf ball.
12. Be Alone
Ways To Relieve Stress
For our ancestors, stress was a survival skill during brief, life threatening situations. Once the danger passed, their stress levels lowered. However, in todays world, we are constantly bombarded by stressors, such as work deadlines, traffic, and family obligations. We rarely get a break long enough to relax and relieve the stress. The over-activation of our stress hormones have been linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, lower immunity, depression, anxiety, and more.
So how can you relieve stress? Here are five easy stress relievers to get you started.
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Turn On Some Ariana Grande
Many people use music as a means of dealing with emotionsthey listen when they’re sad, when they’re angry, or when they want to get energizedso it makes sense to use music as a way to chill the eff out.
While some will claim that certain types of music are better than others for stress-relief, its most important that youre specifically listening to music in order to relax, according to a 2015 study from the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. Think about it: If youre turning on the radio because you are deliberately attempting to chill out, youre likely paying more attention and really trying to de-stress. Do it with intention.