Today is National Stress Awareness Day! And if there’s one thing we definitely all know about… it’s stress. So I’ve gathered a few simple, easy steps you can take in order to reduce the irritating little stress monster you may find hard to shake off of your back. So relax… and enjoy!
1. Listen To Some Calming Music
Life is hectic and overwhelming, so why not take some time out to put your headphones in and block the noise of the world out? Playing calming music can have a positive effect on both the brain and the body; it can lower your blood pressure and reduce that pesky hormone linked to stress, cortisol.
2. Call Up A Friend!
It seems like nobody ever talks on the phone anymore, which seems crazy when good relationships with friends and family are so important to achieving a healthy lifestyle! Especially when you’re feeling bogged down by stress. So pick up that phone of yours and call your pal. Hearing a reassuring voice, if only for a minute, can do wonders with putting things in perspective.
3. Big Yourself Up And Talk Yourself Through It!
People are busy, so sometimes talking to a friend is just not an option. That’s okay though, cause you can talk calmly to yourself instead… its the next best thing! And don’t worry about feeling crazy, we’re all a little crazy… just talk about why it is your feeling stressed and ways in which you can tackle the task at hand. The most important thing to remember is; everything will be okay!
4. Get You Some Greens And Eat Right!
I know I know, when you’re stressed all you want to do is suck down an entire tub of ice cream and have a Big Mac for breakfast. Unfortunately, stress levels and a proper diet are very closely related… so you’re gonna wanna be snacking on some fresh fruit and veggies if you want to get those symptoms of stress reduced. Fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids will also get the job done!
Laughter is THE BEST! And people don’t do enough of it. Laughter releases endorphins into the body which improve your mood and decrease those pesky stress-causing hormones and adrenaline. It also tricks your nervous system into thinking you’re happy… so go ahead, laugh it up!
6. Drink That Tea Up Darling
Okay, so I love coffee. Totally addicted to it. But a large dose of caffeine can actually cause a short term spike in blood pressure… which isn’t great. It may also cause your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to go into overdrive… which isn’t great either. So instead of that coffee your craving, or those sugary energy drinks, try green tea! It has less than half the caffeine of coffee and it also contains lovely, healthy antioxidants, along with theanine, which is an amino acid that actually has a calming effect on the nervous system.
7. Be “Mindful”
Most of the things I’ve suggested so far provide immediate relief. There are, however, many different lifestyle changes you can do which can help you out in the long run too. Being “mindful” and “mindfulness” is a large part of a meditative approach to soothing your mental health and has recently become super popular in modern psychotherapy. Yoga, tai chi, meditation, Pilates… these are all things you can do to prevent stress from becoming a problem. So what are you waiting for… go join a glass!
8. Exercise (No Please, Hear Me Out)
Look I’m not talking about joining a big fancy gym and committing to 13 classes a month, even a minute of exercise a day can do wonders for your body and your mental health. A short stroll around the office, stretching in your bedroom or lifting a large can of peas in the kitchen can offer you immediate relief in stressful situations. Just get your blood flowing around your body, get those endorphins released and watch as your mood improves almost instantaneously.
9. GET. MORE. SLEEP.
Easier said than done, right? I can’t remember the last time I had a decent nights sleep. Stress causes you to lose sleep, and sleep is a key cause of stress. It’s a vicious cycle that completely throws your brain and body out of whack, and it only gets worse with time. So in other words…. get your freakin’ recommended 8 hours of sleep! I’m serious. Turn your TV off, put your phone away, dim your lights and get to bed. You’ll thank me!
10. Inhale… Exhale… Breathe…
It might seem like a bad cliche to tell someone “Take a deep breath”, but when it comes to stress, there’s no denying the positives. For an easy 3-to-5 minute exercise, sit up straight in your chair, put your feet flat on the floor and put your hands on top of your knees. Then its as easy as breathing in and out slowly and deeply. Concentrate on your lungs as they fully expand in your chest. This will help oxygenate your blood and not only helps center your body, but will also clear your mind! Magic!