Quit Or Reduce Coffee
Caffeine has been referred to as a psychoactive drug.
The American Psychiatric Association has even named four caffeine-related syndromes: caffeine-intoxication, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, caffeine-induced sleep disorder, and caffeine-related disorder not otherwise specified.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can give us a jolt and a burst of energy.
When youre prone to getting anxious or stressed out, the last thing you need is adding a stimulant.
Step 1: If youre used to drinking two or more cups of coffee a day, start by reducing to one cup a day.
Step 2: If you drink one coffee a day, try switching to decaf for a few weeks.
Step 3: Once you get used to decaf, try switching to a delicious herbal, caffeine-free tea.
How To Practice Focused Meditation
Here are six tips to help you practice focused meditation. Based on your availability and interest, these tips may change and evolve. Thats the point: to create a structured practice that caters to your needs.
1. Find a Comfortable Seat
As with any meditation practice, comfort is truly key. The physical body responds to meditation practice by alerting you to whether it is comfortable and supported or stressed out and in pain. This is best observed in practitioners who tend to slouch and lose the tall, supported spine that is essential to meditation practice.
A simple rule in meditative sitting is to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees. Therefore, choosing to sit in a chair instead of on the floor may be a smart decision or perhaps propping yourself up on a cushion. For meditation techniques overall, it does not matter how you sit. All that matters is that you are supported and comfortable sitting for some time.
2. Choose Your Object of Focus
Every meditation training session is going to be different because no single day is the same for any one person. Therefore, experienced meditators know that choosing an object is more about listening to what you need at this time versus following any doctrine or rule.
3. Set Your Desired Time or Go With the Flow
Likewise, if you have the time, you can also listen to your body and come out of your meditation when you feel its right to do so. This is often a beautiful practice of listening and tuning in.
Change What You Drink
What you drink can have both a positive and negative effect on you. And sometimes its more about how much of something you drink.
For example, moderate caffeine intake increases attention and cognitive function. Its even associated with mood elevation. But high doses of caffeine can induce and exacerbate anxiety.
And unfortunately, I need to burst the bubble around alcohol. Its time to STOP using it as your go-to form coping mechanism for stress and anxiety. Im not saying that you cant drink, just that its not a healthy way to de-stress. Abstinence from alcohol is actually associated with a lower risk of depression and anxiety.
Luckily, you can naturally reduce stress and anxiety by drinking certain types of decaffeinated teas. For example:
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Whats Causing So Much Stress
Lets face it: work demands are getting worse. Youre expected to do more and work harder with even tighter deadlines.
And if youre anything like my ambitious clients, you set high standards for yourself .
Additionally, your life is jam-packed with personal obligations that constantly pull at you. This always-on-the-go lifestyle leaves little time for personal renewal.
So, how can you juggle it all yet stay positive and relatively stress-free? What you need are simple, effective strategies that work quickly to naturally reduce stress, get you back on track and keep stress levels low.
Exercise For At Least 20 Minutes Every Day
Exercise is an amazing stress-reliever. It can lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, and give you more energy, according to the American Heart Association.
But you don’t need to go all-out in high-intensity training every day to get the benefits: Even a 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours, says the American Psychological Association . So hit the gym for 30 minutes to work off your stress, or try a new fitness class.
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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
Use These Tips To Relieve Stress Anytime:
- Turn off electronic gadgets and sit quietly, fully appreciating the stillness. Get into the habit of having your phone turned off for several hours at a time.
- Use affirmations for stress reduction to replace negative self talk.
Practice these tips to relieve stress to help you relax:
- Self hypnosis for relaxation is simply a deep relaxation exercise where you move your awareness to each and every part of your body, relaxing and releasing, as you move your awareness from the top of your head all the way down to your toes and back up again. Mind power techniques like this give you a sense of control over mind and body. But some people prefer a guided audio so they can relax more deeply and put their mind to rest. guides you through the exercise.
- Tense and release: If it is hard for you to relax your body, begin by tensing your muscles as hard you can–including the muscles in your face– hold for a few seconds and then release. Continue this process until you are relaxed enough to just focus on the deep relaxation aspect, and follow the process for self hypnosis for relaxation above.
- Positive thinking has now been proven to reduces stress as well. Get tips on how do that here.
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Pay Attention To Your Breathing
Without noticing, most people slip into a shallow breathing rate in the busyness of the day that mimics that of the stress response, explains Hanna. By shifting from unconscious to conscious breathing, you can take control of your stress response.
Awareness of our breathing helps to rebalance body and mind, says Cheryl Jones, Aetnas mindfulness director and a longtime wellness coach. In mindfulness practice, theres no correct way to breathe, no technique. Read more about mindfulness.
Simply notice how it feels to inhale and exhale. Notice where you feel your breath: at your lips or nostrils, in your chest or belly. Your breathing may be deep or shallow, smooth or choppy. Paying attention to the breath has been shown to slow the heartbeat and lower blood pressure, which will help you feel less stressed.
Go Outside For A Few Minutes
Dr. Monique Tello, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that sometimes, getting outside for a quick walk or fresh air is a great option to reduce stress quickly.
If someone is feeling very stressed and they have the chance to change their environment, get fresh air, see nature water, trees they should, Tello told TODAY. Exercise, take a brisk walk.
This strategy is great for people who feel restless or unable to concentrate and there are studies to support its effectiveness, she added.
Were always going to be faced with challenging situations, but they dont always have to stress us out, Tello said.
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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.
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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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
Trigger A Pressure Point
Did you know your body practically has a stress-release button? Theres a spot between the tendonsabout two or three finger widths above the center of your inner wristcalled the pericardium 6 . According to Nada Milosavljevic, MD, medical director of BodyLogicMD, applying pressure to this point has been used to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting and has a therapeutic effect on those dealing with chronic stress and anxiety.
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Communicate To Loved Ones
Stress can be relieved quickly by talking to a friend about your concerns. Using this method is the best way to get rid off stress. When you talk to your loved ones, they can help you sort out your problems even though they can provide you with creative solutions to your mistakes. Talking with a friend or family member can help you to complete tasks more rapidly and effortlessly.
Develop A Positive Self
The way you talk to yourself matters. Harsh self-criticism, self-doubt, and catastrophic predictions aren’t helpful. If you’re constantly thinking things like, “I don’t have time for this,” and “I can’t stand this,” you’ll stress yourself out.
It’s important to learn to talk to yourself in a more realistic, compassionate manner. When you call yourself names or doubt your ability to succeed, reply with a kinder inner dialogue.
Positive self-talk can help you develop a healthier outlook. And an optimistic and compassionate conversation can help you manage your emotions and take positive action.
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How Does It Differ From Other Meditation Styles
All meditation styles and practices overlap and build on each other. Their basic foundation is the same: to bring the practitioner insight and introspection.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate, however, the various types of meditation can enhance particular qualities. Based on your personality and needs, one type of meditation may be more useful to you than the other. The 9 types of meditation are:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Loving kindness meditation
- Visualization meditation
Focused meditation, specifically, is the practice of focusing on one single object for the duration of the practice. How this differs from other meditation styles is that it gives the practitioner something tangible to do: focus. Its almost like giving your mind an action to performlisten to this sound, repeat these words, watch this flame, etc. This is also one of the reasons why this particular meditation style is great for beginners!
One of the biggest challenges in any meditation practice is that the mind gets carried away and we lose ourselves to random thoughts. This obstacle is actually a style of meditation in and of itself called Vipassana. However, in focused meditation, we give the mind something to do so that its not simply left to its own devices. This type of meditation is beneficial for beginners and for practitioners who prefer some structure and guidance to their meditations.
Fight Stress In Your Life Today
We can learn to reduce stress quickly and at the moment as well as preparing ourselves for the day with stress management techniques. Each of these techniques can be related to different ways we are exhibiting stress in our lives.
And so, be mindful of how you are experiencing stress. Is our mood changing? Try breathing, meditation, or yoga. Is our body starting to hurt? Try walking, essential oils, or napping.
As we learn to fight stress in different ways, we will begin to unlock more happiness, calmness, and freedom in our lives.
Previously published on February 23, 2020, with Publishous on Medium
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Quick Stress Relief At Home
Entertaining. Prevent pre-party jitters by playing lively music. Light candles. The flicker and scent will stimulate your senses. Wear clothes that make you feel relaxed and confident.
Kitchen. Ease kitchen stress by breathing in the scent of every ingredient. Delight in the delicate texture of an eggshell. Appreciate the weight of an onion.
Children and relationships. Prevent losing your cool during a spousal spat by squeezing the tips of your thumb and forefinger together. When your toddler has a tantrum, rub lotion into your hands and breathe in the scent.
Sleep. Too stressed to snooze? Try using a white noise machine for background sound or a humidifier with a diffuser for a light scent in the air.
Creating a sanctuary. If clutter is upsetting, spend 10 minutes each day to tidy. Display photos and images that make you feel happy. Throw open the curtains and let in natural light.
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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How To Relieve Stress: Sound It Out
Youve heard the om sound yogis make when they meditate, right? Well, Joshi says using a buzzing sound is another way to use your voice to calm yourself when youre stressed. Bhramari, a humming bee sound, can be done by closing the eyes and making the humming sound like a bee, she says. These sound vibrations calm down the thought waves and relax the entire nervous system. External sound frequency resonates with the internal rhythm of the body and mind, creating peace and tranquility within. Research from India has shown Bhramari to improve cardiovascular patterns. Press your ears closed for an even stronger vibration. Check out these other ways to unwind that dont involve booze.
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.
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How To Relieve Stress: Say Thank You
When stress attacks, it can feel like your whole world is crashing down. Remind yourself whats good in your life with a quick gratitude round-up. Studies show gratitude techniques like counting your blessings can be a significant stress reducer, Serani says. Gratitude research reports that those who utilize daily gratitude reflections have higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism, and lower levels of depression and stress.
Reminding yourself of the good things in life can put stress in perspective. Studies show that cultivating an optimistic mindset can help you maintain a positive mood, Whitaker says. When you are positive and grateful, you are able to handle difficult situations better. Just look out for these stress relievers that actually backfire.
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