Stress comes in many different forms and it can creep in without you even realizing it. It may be that you are physically exhausted and feeling lethargic and don't understand why. It could be that you see physical changes such as loss of weight, weight gain, signs of aging, loss of appetite, etc. The point is that stress affects each of us differently resulting in different outcomes, consequences, symptoms, behaviors and more. But the one common denominator is that stress is destructive. It can cause negative effects to our health, our relationships our job and really every aspect of your lives.
Since there are many levels and degrees of stress and since we all operate differently, there isn't one sure solution for everyone. Here are three potential ways to reduce stress.
Lavender Oils and Scents
Lavender has many healing properties and its use is as old as man. Lavender has been used to calm anxiety and reduce stress for thousands of years. Depending on your level of stress, applying lavender in one or many forms could be beneficial to mild stress. Maybe you had a rough day at work or a stressful drive home in traffic and just need to relax.
Lavender oils can be used on your skin or in bath water. Lavender aromas are great if you prefer not to put oils directly on your skin; use a lavender scented spray or candle and settle in with a book or a relaxing bath. There are also lavender scented dryer sheets. Maybe you want the calming scent of lavender to remain with you on your clothes during the day or perhaps just on your sheets for a peaceful rest. There are many different uses for lavender and it comes in many forms. Specialty grocery stores are great about carrying oils, soaps, organic candles in lavender scent.
It's hard to deny the fact that good old fashioned exercise is a great stress reliever. Exercise has been scientifically proven to reduce stress by increasing the production of endorphins and reducing the body's level of stress hormones.
Exercise is something different to everyone. Mind and body classes are very calming to some while a hard core run releases stress for others. The key is to find something that you like but also something that is somewhat challenging for you. For example, if you get on the treadmill to walk and find that your mind keeps going back to whatever it is that is stressing to your life, maybe you need to kick it up a notch and find something more invigorating or something that requires more concentration. If you have to concentrate on the exercise, you are less likely to allow your mind to wander. Sometimes you need to think about your stresses in life and if that's the case then maybe a run will allow you that time to think. Decrease you stress. Get moving!
Mind over Matter
Controlling your mind or thoughts is a difficult task that many people spend their whole life practicing and perfecting. Meditation for example is a great practice but it isn't easy for everyone. Meditation has many forms and you have to find the right one for you. If you have never practiced meditation, a quick online search will give you tips on how to go about meditating. Don't set a crazy goal on your first round. Maybe start with 15 - 30 minutes and see how you go and you can always build from there.
Knowing your body and your triggers is also a mind over matter trick. If you become aware of the things that stress you out, then you might be better able to control or defuse it before it gets to the stressful point. For example, if a crowed grocery store with long lines is stressful for you, then you might try shopping at times when most people aren't at the store, maybe later in the evening or really early in the morning. There's no need to be stressed over something that could have been avoided with some simple planning.
Breathing is also a very good exercise that helps with stress. Not only does it give you something to focus on, it also filters new oxygen through your lungs to re-energize your mind and body.