Stress. It’s something that we all have yet none of us enjoy. It’s a natural part of life that everyone experiences at some point or another, and we all know how hard it is to get rid of once it hits. However, I’m here to give you some tips to make it easier to lower stress levels once it inevitably hits you.
We already know that stress isn’t great for your health, but how do we avoid it? In today’s world, stress is much more prominent. With technology that keeps everybody connected at all times, it sometimes feels like you can’t escape the stresses that life throws at you. This especially has an effect on your mental health. High stress levels can lead to disorders such as depression and anxiety, which is why it’s extremely important to find ways to lower your stress levels every day.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of easy ways to do this:
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and also get in great shape! Science has proven that exercise works out both the body and mind, and is extremely effective in reducing the levels of stress experienced by people on a day to day basis. When you exercise, your body releases something called endorphins. These endorphins naturally boost your mood, and play a huge part in reducing your stress levels.
Exercising also helps in the sense of physical aspects. While many think that stress is purely caused by mentality, physicality also plays a large role. One way this takes effect is by reducing fatigue. By utilizing regular exercise, it reduces daily fatigue levels. Fatigue levels of course play a large factor is stress – the more drained you feel the more stressed you become.
Of course, there’s also the fact that exercise boosts your own self-worth. If you keep a regular exercise schedule, you’re going to see results over time. As you start looking in the mirror and seeing your body transform into what you want it to look like – your self-worth is going to increase. When this happens it boosts things such as your mood and confidence – something that directly correlates with stress.
Doctors recommend AT LEAST 30 minutes of physical activity every day – so get out there and exercise!
Like exercise, healthy eating plays on the fact that a healthy body correlates to a healthy mind. The brain is just another body part. If you don’t take care of your body, then your brain is going to be effected. For example, stress increases glucose levels. Therefore, if you’ve had a stressful day, you should avoid sugary foods as it will increase those glucose levels even more. This chain of events will only lead to more stress for you.
Like exercise, how your body feels greatly effects your state of mind as well. By eating healthy, you’re naturally going to feel healthier. When you feel good, your stress levels are going to lower. Therefore, why not skip over the quick McDonald’s lunch today, and bring a homemade lunch to work?
Of course, eating healthy can be difficult. Today’s world is very on-the-go, and it’s a lot easier to stop in that fast-food restaurant really quick to grab a bite. However, there are many foods that are effective at reducing stress as well as quick to eat:
Berries – Berries are rich in vitamin C which is shown to be helpful in fighting stress. Antioxidants levels such as what are found in blueberries also increase sharpness in cognition. Pack some berries tomorrow for work!
Cashew – Cashews are a great snack. They’re filling, salty and crunchy – fit for almost any craving you have during the day. They’re also full of zinc, which is something that low levels of have been linked to anxiety and depression. So grab a handful of these and go nuts!
Dark Chocolate – Who doesn’t love chocolate? Dark chocolate is actually rare where it’s a treat that is actually good for you. The main stress-combatant of dark chocolate is that it lowers blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure can produce a feeling of calmness, helping eliminate stress. So dig into to a dark chocolate bar!
There’s a reason why we associate meditation with peace. Meditation is a fantastic way to de-stress, and it only takes a view minutes a day. Meditation isn’t just a strictly Buddhist practice – it can be done by anyone. It is said that meditating only a few minutes a day can greatly relieve stress. Find a quiet place to do it, and for a few minutes a day do the following.
- Sit comfortably
- Clear your mind of all thoughts and focus on the moment.
- Take deep, heavy breaths. This is what will calm you.
- Maintain for 2 – 3 minutes.
By doing this everyday you can not only reduce stress, but also increase attention span and cognition. Meditation has been around for thousands of years, and people of all religions and cultures have been participating in. There’s a reason why – it is effective.
This is something we all secretly do. You’re cleaning the house, listening to music when all of the sudden your favorite song comes on. It’s okay to admit that you’ve secretly danced while you were home alone. There’s a reason we do it, because no matter who you are or what kind of music you listen to – dancing makes you happy.
Dancing releases stress because it allows us to shake out all the negative thoughts. It’s also great for releasing endorphins into your system, boosting your mood. Your expressing your emotion through dance, so if you’ve had a bad day – dance to an angry song. It will make you feel better.
Dancing has no genre. No matter what kind of music you listen to, you can dance to it. If you listen to electro, dance like you’re in a club. If you listen to hard-rock dance like you’re in a mosh pit (mind your furniture however). Dance as much as you want, whenever you want. It really helps in stress reduction, and can make you happier.
Organizing your life will have more an effect on stress levels than you think. Think about it – when you walk into a room that is full of mess, and you can’t find anything you’re looking for, you can literally feel your blood pressure rise. This is because a mix of not being able to find things as well as a very cluttered and claustrophobic feeling that comes with being around a mess.
The first step to fixing this is to get rid of the clutter that you don’t need. By clearing out a room of items that you don’t use, not only are you clearing the mess presently, but also making it cleaner for the future. By throwing away items you don’t use, you’re ensuring that it’s never the cause for a mess again, meaning one less thing to clean up.
Next, make sure you have a place for everything. For example, make sure you organize items in a categorized way, so that when you use something you know exactly where to put it back. While this may seem complicated, once you have a system in place you’ll have an easier time keeping things organized, which will make you much less stressed.
Lastly, make up a schedule. Life is so much more stressful when you have no idea what’s going on day-to-day. If you make a schedule – or even just write plans on a calendar – you’ll always have an idea of what’s going on. By keeping yourself organized you’ll never have the stress of double-booking, or forgetting about plans. Everything will be organized for the times you need a reminder of what you’re doing this week.
To Sum Up
No matter what we do, stress is always going to be a factor in our lives. No matter what you do, where you live or what your hobbies are, stress is always going to catch up to you at some point. The important thing, is that you know how to manage and lower it. Having control over your stress means good mental health. All it takes is a few minutes a day to manage your stress, with great results!
Read more about mental health at https://holycrossservices.org/about/holy-cross-counseling/