Stress is a big problem for many of us these days. It impacts our health, both mentally and physically. But what can we do about it? Are there simple ways to relieve stress? The answer is yes! In this post we cover five simple ways to deal with stress and find relief.
Our lives are so busy, sometimes it can feel hard to breathe. We spend our days running around multi-tasking, doing endless errands, cooking and cleaning, working and taking care of our families and the household.
Doing all the things all the time without a break in sight can take a toll on both your mental wellbeing. You may find yourself more emotional, irritable, or depressed and you may struggle to stay focused.
Health-wise, stress can trigger chemical reactions in your body and constant stress can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. This can ultimately lead to illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Learning how to manage stress can help alleviate symptoms and prevent illness.
Here are 5 simple habits you can start practicing today to feel less stressed:
There are so many good things we can be grateful for, but when our lives feel chaotic, it becomes hard to see them. Learning to make gratitude a practice rather than a response can help relieve daily stress.
Tip: Every morning think about one thing you find remarkable or beautiful such as the bright blue sky or a stunning sunrise. During the day pick one way to express gratitude such as smiling at someone or letting someone get in front of you in line. At the end of the day choose one thing you are thankful for such as a kiss from your partner or the five minutes you spent connecting with your child.
Sweat It Out
Physical activity can increase the production of endorphins which are your brain's feel-good chemicals.
In their article, Exercising to Relax, Harvard Medical School suggests:
“The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner's high” and for the feelings of relaxation and optimism that accompany many hard workouts — or, at least, the hot shower after your exercise is over.”
The benefits of exercise are multifaceted, to be sure!
Tip: Try a yoga session. It's the perfect way to de-stress and work out the same time.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress. When you breathe deeply, you signal your brain to become calm and relax.
Tip: Try this morning breathing technique. Start in a standing position and bend forward at the waist, letting your arms dangle freely. Inhale slowly and deeply as you return to standing, rolling up one vertebra at a time. Breathe all the air out. Repeat a total of 5 times.
Similar to exercise, laughter bumps up the release of endorphins in your body and promotes a general sense of well-being. It also decreases stress hormones and strengthens your immunity.
Tip: If you're feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to look up a joke to share with a friend.
Eat (and Drink) Minerals
Foods rich in minerals such as zinc and magnesium can reduce anxiety and irritability. Eating foods like nuts and seeds regularly can provide these essential nutrients.
Tip: Flax and chia seeds or almonds and cashews are great additions to a healthy diet. Try eating them with yogurt or oatmeal.
Incorporating these 5 simple habits into your routine can help you relieve stress and improve your health and wellbeing. Pick one to try today.
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What do you do to relieve stress? Let me know in the comments.