Tense And Relax Your Muscles
One of Dr. Saltzs favorite de-stressing techniques actually involve tensing your muscles, holding them in that tense position for 5 to 10 seconds and then releasing, creating a near instant feeling of relaxation. This practice reduces stress through the mind-body connectionwhen we’re feeling very stressed, we tense up our bodies, says Dr. Saltz. And when we tense up our bodies, it reinforces the message to your mind to be stressed. It’s a signal of physiological arousal. Doing what you can to relax your body helps relax your mind.
Allow The Brain A Break
If you have a very overwhelming daily work schedule, you could greatly benefit from taking some breaks to allow your brain to rest for a couple of minutes. Instead of thinking of your day as a big chunk, break it up into smaller pieces, and allow yourself to take some breaks in between.
The key to making this system work is learning to prioritize your tasks. Start your day with high-priority tasks and move your way down to less-stressful tasks. That way, you wont feel guilty about taking a break if you know that the most overwhelming and stressful part of your workload is checked-off your list.
You can even use these breaks to do something productive, like:
- Doing breathing exercises
These and other mindfulness activities will help you feel more energized when you return to your tasks and make you more productive.
There are many ways to do this, including taking a break after completing x amount of tasks or after x amount of hours. The breaks dont have to be too long even five to ten minutes can do wonders to your mental health. The point is to break down your day into smaller chunks to help you avoid feeling burnt out by the end of the day.
Tend To Your Plant Babies
We cant think of anything quite as relaxing as gardening. Dont worry. Gardening can be done indoors or outdoors.
Seeing your plant babies grow from seeds, flourish and beautify your space is humbling, peaceful and enjoyable.
Research different plants, grow your own herbs, or make unique flower pots for your new additions to live in.
Youll be pleasantly surprised by how soothing a regular schedule of watering, cutting, and maintaining of a garden can be. It doesnt matter if its in you backyard or on your window sill.
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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.
Immerse Yourself In A Creative Outlet
Doing something creative that you enjoy, like cooking, baking, coloring with colored pencils or doodling, or taking pictures, can give you a break in a stressful situation. For example, cooking or baking requires focus, concentration, and physical activityespecially if you’re making bread or rolling out dough.
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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
Quick Stress Relief At Work
Meetings. During stressful sessions, stay connected to your breath. Massage the tips of your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Sip coffee.
On the phone. Inhale something energizing, like lemon, ginger, peppermint. While talking, stand up or pace back and forth to burn off excess energy, or take calls outside when possible.
On the computer. Work standing up. Do knee-bends in 10-minute intervals. Suck on a peppermint. Sip tea.
Lunch breaks. Take a walk around the block or in the parking lot. Listen to soothing music while eating. Chat with a colleague.
Your workspace. Place family photos on your desk or mementos that remind you of your life outside the office.
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Can Stress Be Positive
Research has shown that stress can sometimes be positive. It can make you more alert and help you perform better in certain situations.2 However, stress has only been found to be beneficial if it is short-lived.
Excessive or prolonged stress can contribute to illness such as heart disease3 and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.4
Tip : Identify Your Stress Response
Internally, we all respond the same way to the fight-or-flight stress response: your blood pressure rises, your heart pumps faster, and your muscles constrict. Your body works hard and drains your immune system. Externally, however, people respond to stress in different ways.
The best way to quickly relieve stress often relates to your specific stress response:
Overexcited stress response: If you tend to become angry, agitated, overly emotional, or keyed up under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down.
Underexcited stress response: If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and energizing.
The immobilization or frozen stress response
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Releasing Stress Through The Power Of Music
Music can have a profound effect on both the emotions and the body. Faster music can make you feel more alert and concentrate better. Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management.
Research confirms these personal experiences with music. Current findings indicate that music around 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat causing alpha brainwaves . This alpha brainwave is what is present when we are relaxed and conscious. To induce sleep , a person may need to devote at least 45 minutes, in a relaxed position, listening to calming music. Researchers at Stanford University have said that “listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication.” They noted that music is something that almost anybody can access and makes it an easy stress reduction tool.
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.
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Pay Attention To Sleep
Some people have a hard time going to sleep even at night, because of too much stress or worry. Sometimes, such worry or stress leads to sleep disorders. On the other hand, a sleep disorder may come first, and result in anxiety in the long run. Having said that, research has found out that sleep deprivation may contribute to the aggravations of anxiety.
Moreover, a lack of sleep also increases your risk of developing heart disease or heart failure. Some may also increase their risk of having high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and irregular heartbeat. These are just some of the reasons why you should pay attention to your sleep pattern.
On a much deeper view, disrupted sleep is almost present in other mental health issues like depression, affecting your daily living. For instance, it can negatively impact your work performance, academic performance, cognitive ability, and increases the risk of physical injury. Surely, these health problems that may arise in the future may create additional worries. Therefore, it is better to take care of your sleeping pattern as early as possible.
Tips For Managing Chronic Stress
Successful management of chronic stress can vary from person to person what works for you may not for someone else. Here are some stress-busting tips may help you cope with stress:
- Get active. Physical activity can positively affect your mood and reduce stress. Walking is a great way to start, but if you want something more invigorating, try a heart-pumping aerobic activity like jogging, dance, or swimming. Just make sure you check with your doctor first.
- Try tai-chi or other relaxation exercises. Activities like tai-chi, yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises may take you out of your comfort zone, but they can be a worthwhile experience for many people. For example, one study among older individuals published in The Journals of Gerontology found that tai chi helped reduce participants stressful feelings while increasing positive emotions.
- Prioritize your sleep. Getting enough sleep is important for many areas of your health and wellbeing, and its benefits on stress management are no different. When you sleep, your brain unpacks much of the days activities and stressors during the various phases of sleep, including rapid-eye-movement. These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help train your brain to sleep longer and better for optimal health benefits.
- Avoid self-isolation. Surround yourself with a support network of people who care about your wellbeing, and use that network when you need it.
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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.
What Is The Stress Cycle
The stress cycle is what happens to your body as you go through this process:
- Something happens to make you feel stressed e.g. sitting an exam
- Your body goes tense, you go on high alert, your heart starts beating faster, your breathing is shallow plus any other number of symptoms
- The stress dissipates
In their book, Burnout: The Secret to solving the stress cycle authors and sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski, describe 7 scientifically validated ways to break your stress cycle. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. .
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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.
Here Are Some Stress Relievers:
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Procrastination And Emotional Regulation
Research suggests that procrastination often relates to your mood and emotional mindset.
In other words, procrastination doesnt happen because youre lazy and unproductive or dont know how to do something . It happens because you dread the emotional distress you foresee.
Maybe you already experienced this irritation and frustration firsthand and dont want a repeat. But you could also have some preconceived ideas about how awful and difficult that chore or assignment will turn out to be.
Either way, you set the task aside, promising yourself to handle it later when you feel better able to manage those feelings.
Sometimes, its easy to see where the distress comes from:
- You put off a quick phone call to schedule your dental check-up, because youre certain you have a cavity or two and feel anxious about facing an afternoon of drilling.
- You avoid calling your sister after an argument, because you know you need to admit you were wrong and apologize.
You might have a harder time pinning down other sources of emotional distress, especially when they relate to ongoing or deeper-seated sources of emotional turmoil.
Fun Activities That Help Relieve Stress
By Daniela McVickers | Published 3/22/2019 0
Stresscan take over your life. No matter where it comes from, its always necessary to eliminate it from your life as soon as it starts to become a problem.
Sometimes stress comes and goes itll appear and perhaps push you to meet your deadline or encourage you to work harder. You might be one of those I work better under stress type of people, in fact, stress is an instinct, giving us the fight or flight response.
However, chronic stress can be detrimental to your life. Giving you sleeping problems, headaches, a weakened immune system, and constant tense muscles.
Here are some activities you can try out for yourself, hopefully, theyll take some of the stress away and help you to regain balance in your life.
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How To Set Yourself Up To Deal With Stress
Regular self-care practices and behavior modifications can help keep stress from overwhelming you and scale your stress response in proportion to the stressor.
Its important to understand that when it comes to stress and its impact on health, you may want to think about trying longer-term strategies and changes in lifestyle, says Michelle Dossett, MD, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an assistant physician and clinical researcher at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
A healthy lifestyle eating well, getting high-quality sleep, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly can buffer you against the wear and tear of stress, says Holly Schiff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist with Jewish Family Services of Greenwich in Greenwich, Connecticut. These steps don’t eliminate the challenge. But they will ensure your strongest, calmest, most rational self shows up to meet whatever obstacle youre facing.
BMC Medical EducationFrontiers in Physiology
As far as exercise goes, just make sure its something you enjoy. Exercise doesnt have to be intense, and you dont have to join a gym, Dr. Haythe says. I tell my patients to buy a pair of sneakers and start walking for 15 to 20 minutes a day.
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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Offer Yourself Forgiveness And Compassion
Just like the forgiveness you might offer someone who wronged you, self-forgiveness allows you to let go of past events and move forward.
So, instead of giving yourself a hard time, tell yourself its all right:
Waiting to do that project didnt turn out so well, but its OK to make mistakes. Now I know what not to do next time.
Self-compassion can also go a long way toward easing the harsh criticism and self-blame that tend to trail in procrastinations wake.
Instead of focusing on how you messed up , offer yourself some words of comfort.
If it helps, consider what you might say to a friend:
- It sounds like youre struggling right now, but I can tell youre doing your best.
- That assignment sounds really stressful. I know you want to do the best work possible, but its just a first draft, right? You can always improve on it later if your team has any suggestions.
Dont you deserve that same kindness?