Simple Ways to Reduce Stress
Stress is one of the harshest realities of today’s modern life. Research has clearly linked stress to a multitude of health problems both mental and physical (see imaCredit: http://www.heartmath.com/infographics/how-stress-effects-the-body.htmlge on right from heartmath.com for more information). Although most people are aware of the dangers of stress, many struggle to find time, money, and commitment to combat this difficult foe. Often the changes needed to reduce stress such as job changes, relationship improvement, or health modifications are viewed as too large and difficult to tackle. Often learning about the dangers of stress just increases anxiety and feelings of hopelessness.
This article aims to give you five easy and quick ways to de-stress your life. Large lifestyle changes may still be recommended to reduce baseline stress; however, basic stress reduction can be achieved by incorporating these simple techniques. Learning healthy habits can make lowering your stress level is achievable even without major life change. Have just five minutes a day? Try this simple five step process to reduce stress. When feeling particularly stressed begin by:
- Put on some uplifting music
Music has the power to drastically affect our mood. Listening to uplifting or positive music can help you regain perspective and experience more joy. Create a positive mood play list on iTunes or Spotify and keep a link to it on your desktop or phone.
The next step is to stand up and move around. You can just walk in place or do some basic stretching. Moving around helps increase blood flow and mood enhancing hormones. If you are in private space feel free to do some jumping jacks or dance. This movement will help you stay in tune with your body while also helping it create mood-boosting neurochemicals. Try to move for at least two minutes.
The old adage that laughter is the best medicine still rings true. Thanks to modern technology, we are always one search away from the latest hilarious viral video. One of the quickest ways to laugh is to use YouTube to watch funny videos. Keep a bookmarked list of your favorites to return to when you are short on time and really feeling down. One of my personal favorites is included below.
Return to a seated position and spend thirty seconds practicing deep breathing. The goal of this breathing is to inflate your stomach as you breathe in and to deflate it as you breathe out. Practicing this type of deep breathing reduces the stress hormone production in the brain. It also increases your oxygen levels which can increase alertness and a sense of well-being.
- Identify one action step.
Set a time for one minute and write down the one thing that is stressing you the most today. Then write one simple action you can take to reduce this problem. Clearly you may not be able to fix the entirety of the problem, but some positive movement will help. For example, a pending deadline has you feeling anxious; write down one task you will accomplish towards that goal. Another example: If money is a source of stress, commit to spending a dollar less at lunch today. Every little bit helps. Make sure to make this action step specific, measurable, and something you can easily accomplish today. Writing down even small goals can increase feelings of accomplishment and reduce feelings of stress.
By implementing this simple five-minute de-stressing routine, you can quickly lower your stress level and increase you feelings of positivity and hope.
Drink a glass of water. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of fatigue, headaches, and irritability. Staying hydrated can improve overall feelings of well-being and health which will reduce stress.