Reducing Stress the Simple Way
In today's fast paced world, everything from work pressures to everyday life demands can feel stressful in our lives. Unfortunately, living in a constant state of stress has become the norm for most. While stress can sometimes be helpful in ensuring things get accomplished in a timely fashion, chronic stress may lead to all sorts of health woes. Learning how to take moments to hit pause, slow down, de-stress and reset positively impact your overall well-being. Put these stress busters to work for a happier and healthier day to day!
Compile a daily list of things that absolutely must get done and things that would be nice (but not necessary) to accomplish. Start with the most important and give yourself permission to get to the “nice, but not necessary” items whenever you have the time.
Exercise is an immediate way to relieve feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. Take a short jog, hit the gym, go to a yoga class, dance in your living room–do whatever makes you want to move. Just remember to get physician clearance before beginning a new workout regimen.
Stress hormones can make you want to overindulge with ice cream by the spoonfuls—when what your body really needs is nourishing foods like fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals. Pressed for time? Don’t skip meals: Odds are you’ll end up overeating at your next meal or reach for snacky foods like chips and pastries.
Laugh out loud.
A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally, it activates your body’s stress response by stimulating circulation, easing digestion increasing oxygen intake and releasing feel-good endorphins. Tune in to your favorite TV show, read the comics or spend some time with someone who makes you smile.
Stretch it out.
Our bodies naturally stiffen up from sitting in a car or at a desk all day long, which in turn takes a toll on your body and mind. Take time throughout the day to stretch and breathe slowly. This combination is a winning way to relieve tension.
Don’t cope alone and let stress build. Research shows that a good social support system is one of the most important resources for dealing with stress – in or out of the workplace. In addition to letting off steam, talking to others is a great way to brainstorm ideas for improving a stressful situation.
Learn to say no.
If an activity or “ask” from someone looks like it’s going to be another source of stress in your life (especially for the long-term), take a pass. There’s no need to make up excuses. Simply state that your plate is too full now, but you appreciate the opportunity.
Take time off.
If you are like a lot of employees, you don’t use all your vacation time; yet we know all work and no play isn’t a good thing. Get creative and weave in long weekends throughout the year and head out of town. On a daily basis, relieve pressure by taking short breaks to go on a quick walk or simply step outside for fresh air.
A few minutes – five to fifteen – spent in quiet reflection can alleviate anxiety. You can sit quietly, listen to soothing music, relax and let your mind go blank (or think of pleasant things that don’t stress you out). No one meditates perfectly, there’s no such thing. Simply carve out some time each day to just be and over time, you’ll reap the benefits of your version of meditation.