How to Relieve Stress
Are you stressed? The American Psychological Association warns that Americans are stressed, and that chronic stress is creating a public health crisis. In fact, 44 percent of Americans report an increase in stress levels over the past five years. If you are feeling stressed, learning how to relieve stress will help you bring your body back in balance as you seek a healthier lifestyle.
Natural Stress Relievers At Home
When you return to your home after a busy, potentially stressful day, having a routine in place that you can use to truly unwind is essential. These strategies can be simple to implement in your home each day:
Meditation can be a great way to learn how to relieve stress and anxiety. Daily meditation alters the neural pathways in the brain, so you are better able to resist stress. To meditate, sit in a chair with your back straight and both of your feet on the floor. Close your eyes, then recite a positive thought, such as “I am at peace.” Remove any distracting thoughts by visualizing them floating away on the clouds. Slow and steady your breathing during this practice.
- Deep Breathing
Taking deep, cleansing breaths can significantly reduce stress levels, even without the discipline of meditation. Stop whatever you are doing for five minutes and focus on breathing. Place your hand on your belly while seated in a chair, close your eyes and inhale, breathing through your nose. Continue to inhale as long as possible, visualizing the breath filling your body. Then, release the breath slowly through your mouth. Repeat a few times.
- Use Lavender
Lavender and lavender essential oils provide a soothing scent that can lower blood pressure and heart rate, helping you enjoy a less-stressful outlook on life. Use dried lavender to decorate your home, or consider using lavender essential oils in moderation on your skin.
- Indulge in a Bath
Soaking in warm water helps release stress-fighting hormones and removes tension from your muscles. You can add relaxing essential oils to the bath or simply fill the tub and soak. Taking a bath also forces you to rest for a little while.
Natural Stress Relievers At Work
At work you can’t stop to take a bath or indulge in a period of meditation. Yet you can implement natural stress relievers in the workplace. Here are some strategies to try:
- Take a Walk
Pack a lunch you can eat quickly, then take a walk during your lunch break. The exercise will be a powerful stress reliever, and you will notice that you have more energy, better focus and a better mood when you head back into the office.
- Find Someone to Listen
Talking through your problems face to face can make them much easier to bear. Keep in mind that you do need to be cautious about sharing work troubles with co-workers, but try to establish some connections so you have a recourse when you need to discuss something.
Natural Stress Relievers In the Car
Do you spend a lot of time in the car? Make that time profitable as you work to fight stress. Here are some ways to help:
- Give Yourself Time
Driving is often stressful because we don’t give ourselves enough time. If you have a 20-minute drive and leave 20 minutes before you have to be somewhere, you will likely end up stuck in traffic. Instead, give yourself a buffer of extra time so that traffic jams and red lights do not add to your stress.
- Stretch Your Neck
Stretching may not be the best activity in the car, but stretching your neck at a stoplight can greatly relieve tension and help limit problems with headaches. To do this, simply bend your neck so your ear touches your shoulder, and hold the stretch for a count of 10. Repeat on the other side. At the next stoplight, do some shoulder rolls to relieve stress in your upper back.
- Choose the Right Tunes
Classical music helps stabilize blood pressure and calm the body. Modern tunes can have the opposite effect. Load your iPod with classical music to help melt stress as you drive home.
Stress is something that is impossible to escape. In some situations, it can be beneficial, but too much stress has a damaging effect on your health and well-being. Take the time to learn how to let go of your stress, and add an occasional appointment for massage therapy, and you can limit stress and enjoy a relaxed body, mind and soul.