“Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out”
If you relate to the lyrics of this Twenty One Pilots song, then you’re definitely in need of some relaxation. Stress is something we cannot escape or hide from. It is a biological response to demands posed by our environment or sometimes even by ourselves. It is important to note that stress in many situations is helpful and may help us perform better but being under extreme and constant stress can be harmful and may adversely affect our health. According to the National Institute Of Mental Health, “continued strain on your body from routine stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety.” That being said, de-stressing is not something we can do in the snap of a finger. We need to ease our minds and bodies into it. If you’re extremely stressed and are looking for some ways to chill here are some things you can try out.
1. Move Your Body
Studies have found regular physical activity helps increase your overall physical health as well as mental well-being. Regular exercise can lower stress to a large extent and this may be due to the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals produced in our brain that acts as a natural painkiller. There are numerous types of physical activity we can try out based on the preferences we may have like yoga, running, tai chi, or even dance. All that matters is we move our bodies and don’t stay idle all day. When extremely stressed, a brisk ten minute walk can help calm down those nerves to a large extent. Exercising or walking before bed also helps tire us out which in turn improves our sleep patterns.
2. Meditation And Deep Breathing
Sometimes we get stressed because we have over a hundred thoughts rushing through our minds and we attempt to resolve them all at once which is near impossible for most people. Practicing meditation can help calm us down and isolate each thought individually enabling us to focus our energy into resolving one thing at a time. Practicing deep breathing along with meditation can also help reduce stress as it increases supply of oxygen in your body and reminds your body that it is not under threat.
3. Stay Positive
Have a ton of piled up work that’s stressing you out? Remember that staying positive can keep you from getting completely drowned in your stress. Studies have found that thinking positively releases chemicals in the brain that causes a reduction is stress and anxiety. It decreases cortisol levels and increases serotonin production which also allows your brain to function with higher productivity. If you’re in a stressful situation, take a ten minute break and give yourself a pep talk. It can boost your confidence to resolve the issue at hand.
4. Eat Healthy
Felice Jacka, president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research says, “diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety.” Eating healthy when we’re stressed is an extremely difficult task especially since we crave comfort foods during this time. Although occasional snacking is relatively safe, we need to be cautious of the portions we consume. Planning a nutritious diet can go a long way in helping us control our stress levels.
5. Sleep Well
An average adult requires about 8 hours of sleep every day. When we begin to cut out time from this or change our patterns of sleep, it begins to interfere with our daily living thereby causing stress. According to the American Psychological Association. “Sleep is so crucial that even slight sleep deprivation or poor sleep can affect memory, judgment and mood. In addition to feelings of listlessness, chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to health problems, from obesity and high blood pressure to safety risks while driving.” Setting a fixed sleeping schedule, physical activity before bed, not using electronic gadgets before sleeping are some of the things you can do to improve quality of sleep.
6. Take Time Off To Figure Out Why You’re Stressed
Taking time off is not a means of escape from stress but rather a relaxed period of time wherein one can evaluate what might be causing or triggering the stress. Sometimes, we are aware that we are living stressful lifestyles but we don’t do anything to change the repeated pattern. Spending some time alone in quiet, peaceful reflection may help us identify the root cause of our stress and this understanding can help us control the manner in which we respond to it.
7. Pamper Yourself
De-stressing may not be as easy as it sounds and you may not be able to command yourself into doing it. You may need to ease into it slowly and pampering yourself is a great way to go about it. A hot bath or a full body massage may help relax the muscles and release tension from the body.