Other Types Of Relaxation Techniques
Many de-stressing therapies have common goals. They aim to help you pay attention to your body and focus on aspects of your breathing or other exercises that will lower your blood pressure and increase feelings of well-being. You can try:
- Biofeedback, which measures body functions and helps you learn to control them.
- Self-hypnosis, in which a practitioner teaches you to relax when you hear a phrase or get a nonspoken cue.
- Massage therapy, which can include Swedish, sports, Shiatsu, or other types of massage.
- Music therapy, when a therapist uses music to accomplish health goals.
- Art therapy, which uses art to enhance your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
- Aromatherapy, or using essential oils as a type of treatment.
- Hydrotherapy, which can include soaking, compresses, or even steam baths.
While relaxation practices are mostly safe for heathy people, there have been reports of negative impacts, such as increased stress, bad thoughts, or a fear of losing control. Talk to your doctor about what practice might be best for you, depending on the relaxation technique you want to try and your health.
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.
Satisfy Craving With Healthy Snack
Satisfying my cravings with something healthy is my last resort strategy. I usually dont crave anything in particular, so I typically go for veggies, protein shakes, almonds, or fruit to scratch that itch.
If youre craving something sweet, try eating some fruit. If you have a taste for something crunchy, perhaps carrots dipped in hummus will do the trick if youre longing for a salty snack, veggie chips to the rescue.
No matter what youre craving, there is a healthy option out there to fill that void. It may take some time to find the right thing to replace your go-to snacks, but you will find something if you have an open mind.
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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.
Be Aware Of Negative And Judgmental Self
Are you staying late at the office and missing time with friends because your internal critic is telling you that if you dont get this project done, you are a lazy, underperforming blob of an employee? This type of self-talk is not productive or healthy.
You can overcome this by becoming aware of the story you are telling yourself and the judgment that accompanies it. This is the most important step by far. These stories and criticisms we tell ourselves that keep us working crazy hours and provoke toxic anxiety are the same cockamamie stories that prevent us from taking the time we need to take care of ourselves.
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Quick Stress Relief On The Go
In traffic. Play music or listen to an audiobook. Take a different route to see something new. Do neck-rolls at stoplights. Sing in the car to stay awake and happy.
Public transportation. Take a break from reading, cell conversations, and music to tune into the sights and sounds around you. Try noticing something new, even if youre on the same old bus ride.
Running errands. Wear a special perfume or lotion so you can enjoy it while you rush from place to place. Carry a stress ball in your pocket. Take a mental snapshot or postcard at each destination.
Waiting in lines. Instead of worrying about time slipping away, focus on your breathing. People watch. Chat with the person ahead of you. Chew a stick of minty gum.
Aim For More And More Restful Sleep
A recent poll found that an estimated 70 percent of people who reported feeling stressed in the last month also experienced trouble sleeping. Poor sleep has been linked to lowered immunity, heart problems, and feelings of anxiety and depression. Stop stress in its tracks by practicing these better sleep tips:
- Skip the afternoon coffee. Caffeine stays in your system for at least six hours, so skip your afternoon cup o joe if you want to sleep more soundly.
- Power down. Watching TV or checking your Facebook feed before bed can keep you awake, so turn off the technology when you get in the bedroom. For a restful sleep, media mogul Arianna Huffington told Everyday Health she banishes all LCD screens, including computers, smartphones, and TV, from her bedtime routine.
- Ready your room. Aim to make your room dark, cool, and quiet. This will help lull you into a more restful sleep.
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Helpful Organisations For Money Worries
It is important if you are worried about your finances and debts that you do not try to deal with them alone. There is a lot of help and support available to you through organisations such as Step Change and Citizens Advice.
You should also talk to your GP or a trusted health professional if you are worried about how debt is affecting your mental and physical health.
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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What Happens To My Body When I Experience Stress
People react differently to stress. Some common symptoms of stress include sleeping problems, sweating or a change in appetite.6,7
Symptoms like these are triggered by a rush of stress hormones in your body which, when released, allow you to deal with pressures or threats. This is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response.
Hormones called adrenaline and noradrenaline raise your blood pressure, increase your heart rate and increase the rate at which you perspire. This prepares your body for an emergency response.8 These hormones can also reduce blood flow to your skin and reduce your stomach activity. Cortisol, another stress hormone, releases fat and sugar into your system to boost your energy.9
As a result, you may experience headaches, muscle tension, pain, nausea, indigestion and dizziness. You may also breathe more quickly, have palpitations or suffer from various aches and pains. In the long-term, you may be putting yourself at risk from heart attacks and stroke.10
Muscle Relaxation To Relieve Stress
Your body may respond to stress by tensing up, which can cause pain. If you learn to relax your muscles, you can reduce muscle tension and anxiety. Progressive muscle relaxation is an exercise that can help you do this.
In progressive muscle relaxation, you tense and then relax related groups of muscles. You can use a relaxation tape or CD to help you go through all the muscle groups. Or you can learn the muscle groups and work through them from memory.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be bothered. Be sure you can lie on your back in comfort.
For each muscle group:
Here are the muscle groups:
Hands and arms
Head and neck
- Forehead: Wrinkle it into a deep frown.
- Around the eyes and bridge of the nose: Close your eyes as tightly as possible. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before beginning the exercise.
- Cheeks and jaws: Smile as widely as you can.
- Around the mouth: Press your lips together tightly.
- Back of the neck: Press your head back against the floor or chair.
- Front of the neck: Touch your chin to your chest.
- Chest: Take a deep breath and hold it, then breathe out.
- Back: Arch your back up and away from the floor or chair.
- Stomach: Suck it into a tight knot.
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What Are The Behavioural And Emotional Effects Of Stress
When you are stressed you may experience many different feelings, including anxiety, irritability or low self-esteem, which can lead to becoming withdrawn, indecisive and tearful.13
You may experience periods of constant worry, racing thoughts, or repeatedly go over the same things in your head. You may experience changes in your behaviour. You may lose your temper more easily, act irrationally or become more verbally or physically aggressive.14 These feelings can feed on each other and produce physical symptoms, which can make you feel even worse. For example, extreme anxiety can make you feel so unwell, that you then worry you have a serious physical condition.
Personal Problems That Can Cause Stress
- Your health, especially if you have a chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis
- Emotional problems, such as anger you can’t express, depression, grief, guilt, or low self-esteem
- Your relationships, such as having problems with your relationships or feeling a lack of friendships or support in your life
- Major life changes, such as dealing with the death of a parent or spouse, losing your job, getting married, or moving to a new city
- Stress in your family, such as having a child, teen, or other family member who is under stress, or being a caregiver to a family member who is elderly or who has health problems
- Conflicts with your beliefs and values. For example, you may value family life, but you may not be able to spend as much time with your family as you want.
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Mindfulness And Mantra Meditation
Mindfulness is an ancient form of meditation that promotes awareness of whats happening in the moment.
It encourages you to focus on your body, your thoughts, and whats going on around you.
Mantra meditation, on the other hand, is the opposite of mindfulness. In this practice, you place all your attention on a single target, like a mantra, a candle flame, or a phrase.
In both types of meditations, whenever your mind wanders — and it will Smith says — you simply re-focus.
It’s a brain skill, he says. In that in the first 2 weeks you won’t be able to do it very well. Your mind will constantly chatter and distract, and that’s normal, that happens.
But as you practice, youll get better at it.
What Is Stress Exactly
While stress can raise our blood pressure, make us feel harried or exhausted and can have some damaging physical consequences overtime, “it actually serves an evolutionary purpose,” explains Heather Z. Lyons, Ph.D, a licensed psychologist and the owner of the Baltimore Therapy Group in Towson, Maryland. “Stress is a signal to our bodies to prepare to respond to threats. When we prepare physically for threats our bodies can release stress hormones like adrenaline that cause a variety of responses including narrowing your field of vision, quickening your heartbeat and muscle tension. Once in a while, this stress response can be adaptive.”
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Cut Out Things That Add To Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace.
Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.
Setting A Goal In Three Steps
If you’re ready to reduce stress in your life, setting a goal may help. Try following these three steps:
Examples of how to set goals
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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.
How Stress Affects Your Thoughts And Emotions
You might notice signs of stress in the way you think, act, and feel. You may:
- Feel cranky and unable to deal with even small problems.
- Feel frustrated, lose your temper more often, and yell at others for no reason.
- Feel jumpy or tired all the time.
- Find it hard to focus on tasks.
- Worry too much about small things.
- Feel that you are missing out on things because you can’t act quickly.
- Imagine that bad things are happening or about to happen.
How stress affects you depends on many things, such as:
- Your personality.
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Tips To Manage Stressful Situations
It might surprise you to learn that biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasnt until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress.
Symptoms of stress existed long before Selye, but his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions cope with stress. Weve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.
Act Rather Than React To Combat Stress
“We are stressed when we feel that the situation is out of our control”. That’s stress and activated. If it is chronic, it wears away confidence, focus and well-being. Identify the aspects of the situation that you can control and those that you can’t, ignore them. In general, you control your actions, but not outside forces or someone else’s denial, so, tip number 1 : act instead of react.
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What Causes Mental Stress
Its origin is triggered by a signal from outside stimuli a piece of information of an objective or subjective nature, or both at once. The mental stress develops very slowly at the beginning. We cannot observe its development because of our lack of understanding of mental energy.
The information we receive from the outside , creates a feeling that evolves into a negative emotion . For example, the inability to understand or accept other peoples point of view can cause mental stress.
My Personal Experience with Mental Stress
In my late twenties, I struggled consistently with mental stress. I was happy to work in a global corporation and also excited to be responsible for many projects at once. Despite the work load I had, I was a victim of mobbing because of my keen engagement towards my tasks. I was physically and mentally exhausted because of the many complex purchase orders I had to place for the projects assigned to me. On top of that, there were certain people in the organization giving me hard time because of my desire to strive to improve.
There was an immediate disharmony between me and these people that generated a feeling of intolerance and non-acceptance. This grew into feelings of disappointment and frustration, which ended up creating emotion of anger and anxiety over not performing well or losing my job.