It only takes a few deep breaths to immediately relieve some pressure. To get the maximum benefits from deep breathing, start by sitting in a comfortable position with your hands in your lap and your feet on the floor (you can also lie down). Close your eyes and picture yourself in a relaxing place like a garden or beach. Slowly take deep breaths in and out for five to 10 minutes. A still mind is a stress-free mind, so if you learn to quiet your thoughts you’ll feel your stress leave your body.
Working out on a regular basis is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. Almost any form of exercise, from yoga to spin class to a jog around the neighborhood, can act as a stress reliever, even if you think you’re out of shape. Exercise will improve your mood. As an added bonus, regular exercise has many benefits in addition to stress relief: it can increase self-confidence, lower the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, and improve your sleep.
It’s a simple fact: if you eat a regular, well-balanced diet, you’ll feel better. This means your meals should be full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein for energy. And remember, skipping meals isn’t good for you and can, in fact, increase your stress.
Talk About Your Problems
If something is bothering you, try talking about it. Talking to almost anyone will help: family members, friends, a religious figure, a doctor, or a therapist. You could even try self-talk (your inner conversations).
Find Time for Hobbies
Go out of your way to make time for things you enjoy. As little as 15 to 20 minutes a day for something that makes you feel good will help relieve your stress. If you’re not sure where to begin, consider reading, gardening, yoga, drawing, listening to music, playing cards – the options are endless.
People say it all the time: laughter is the best medicine. Do something that makes you laugh every day, whether that’s telling a joke, spending time with a funny friend, watching a comedy on TV, or something else.
Relax Your Muscles
Our muscles tend to get tense when we’re feeling stressed. Try stretching, taking a hot bath or shower, and getting a good night’s sleep. And a massage never hurts either!
Eliminate Your Triggers
Spend some time thinking about what causes the most stress in your life and then actively work to do away with those things. Does work stress you out? School? Your active social life? Once you identify your triggers you can start working on eliminating (or reducing) them.
If you have a hard time determining your biggest stressor, consider keeping a journal. Taking notes when you feel stressed will help you find any patterns that exist.
Give Yourself A Break
This might be the hardest of all. No one is perfect, no matter how hard we try, and we can’t control everything that happens. Accepting these two simple facts will make a world of difference.
If you’re feeling stressed remember, everyone feels stressed from time to time. When left unchecked, stress can lead to a number of health problems, from depression to insomnia to chest pain. There’s no better time than National Stress Awareness Month to start working on ways to diminish the amount of stress in your life.
Do you need more help managing your stress?