Life is not always in a rewarding mood. There come times when it throws unexpected challenges at us. This is when we find ourselves on the receiving end. Many people give in to the pressures of daily life and the stress that is a by-product of the persistent challenges. The utility bills won’t stop coming, you are not going to get another hour in the day to run all the pending errands, your responsibilities towards family and career will forever be demanding. With all those stresses on your shoulders, you still have a positive energy that lets you believe things will get better. In fact, just simple self-realization that you are in charge of your life is the base of stress management.
Managing and preventing stress starts with your mind. It’s all about taking charge and control of your mind: taking control of your thought process, your daily life schedule, your emotions, your surroundings, and the way you deal with your problems. The ultimate objective is to have a balanced life, with an ample amount of time for relationships, fun, work, and relaxation – along with the flexibility to work under pressure and meet targets head-on.
Here are 10 simple ways to prevent and relieve stress.
1. Release Your Nervous Energy through Exercise
Hands downs combating your stress through exercise and workout is one of the best things you can gift yourself. It may sound contradictory to you, but giving physical stress to your body through a workout, exercise, and other physical activities can contribute a lot in relieving your mental stress.
There are great advantages when you exercise on a regular basis. People who have a habit of exercising daily are less likely to experience stress than those who don’t work out at all.
Few good reasons behind this:
- Sleep: Exercise helps a lot in improving the quality of your sleep, which most likely is adversely affected by anxiety and stress.
- Stress hormones: A regular dose of exercise lessens the stress hormones in the body, such as cortisol. These hormones release endorphin, which is a chemical that works as a natural painkiller and also helps in improving your mood.
- Confidence: When you incorporate exercise and workout in your daily routine, you feel more confident and competent which contributes to mental wellbeing.
Look for an activity like dancing, yoga or rock climbing. Other physical activities — such as jogging and walking — that engage most of the body muscles also help in getting rid of stress.
2. Consider Supplements
Various supplements contribute to a reduction in anxiety and stress levels in the human body. Following is an overview of the most common ones:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: A few research studies showed that a group of medical students received Omega-3 supplements. They experienced a 20% decrease in their anxiety symptoms.
- Ashwagandha: It is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine which works well in treating anxiety and stress. A few studies tell that they are effective.
- Green tea: This supplement contains many antioxidants which are beneficial for health. It may reduce anxiety and stress by increasing the levels of serotonin in a body.
- Valerian: This is a good sleeping aid because of its tranquilizing effect. Valerian has valerenic acid, which helps in lowering stress and anxiety.
- Kava kava: This particular supplement is from the pepper family and mostly used as a sedative in some parts of South Pacific. It is widely used in the U.S. and Europe to treat slight anxiety and stress.
Some of these supplements may react to medicines or have side effects, therefore always consult your physician before trying them.
3. Light a candle
Making use of essential oils or burning a scented candle can also minimize the feelings of anxiety and stress.
Following are some of the most soothing and calming scents:
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
- Orange or orange blossom
Treating your mood by using scents and soothing candles is known as aromatherapy. Various studies and research show that aromatherapy helps a lot in improving sleep and decreasing anxiety.
4. Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine is basically a stimulant which is largely found in tea, chocolate, coffee, and energy drinks. It can trigger anxiety if consumed in high amount. High doses can increase anxiety. Everyone has different thresholds when it comes to tolerating caffeine. If you notice, when you cut down your caffeine intake, it makes you jittery. Although a few studies suggest that consuming coffee in moderation is healthy, but not for everyone. In general, 3-4 cups of caffeine in the form of tea of coffee per day is considered a moderate amount.
5. Write down your thoughts
Another good way of preventing yourself from stress is by writing down your thoughts. While filming and recording yourself about the things you are stressed about is one method while another is to jot down the things you are thankful for. Gratitude helps a lot in relieving anxiety and stress because it diverts your thoughts about the positive things you have in life.
6. Listen to soothing music
They say music is the food for the soul. So when you listen to music, you are actually feeding your soul. Listening to any form of music leaves a very soothing and relaxing impact on your body. Soft instrumental music relaxes your mind which helps lowers heart rate besides stabilizing blood pressure and stress hormones levels. Different types of Celtic, Native American, classical, and Indian music can be extremely soothing, but just listening to the genre you like the most is helpful too. The sound of nature is very soothing and calming too. This is one of the reasons why the sound of nature is usually incorporated into meditation and relaxation music.
7. Spend quality time with family members and friends
Having social support from family and friends is by far the best way to get rid of stress and anxiety. Being part of a support groups of like-minded people and friend network gives you a pleasant feeling of self-worth, which works like life-support during tough times. A study shows people who spend time with children and friends release oxytocin, which happens to be a natural stress reliever. Both women and men benefit from the goodness of friendship. Another research found that women and men with limited social circle suffered more from anxiety and depression.
They say a good laugh heals a lot of hurts so laugh your heart out because it’s good for health. Laughing helps in relieving stress in the following two ways:
- Laughing relieves your response to stress
- It relieves tension by relaxing your muscles
Along with that, laughing also helps in improving your mood and immune system. So spend some time watching hilarious stand-up comedy series or TV shows for a good laugh.
9. Learn the art of saying no
Do yourself a favor. Learn the art of saying no to things that are beyond your capacity. Take charge over matters of your life. Change all those factors that are causing stress in your life and one way to initiate that change is by saying no more often. Being selective to what you agree to and refusing the tasks that unnecessarily increase your load — can minimize your stress levels.
10. Avoid procrastination
Another useful way of taking charge of your stress levels is by setting your priorities and staying on top of it by avoiding procrastination. Procrastination causes stress, which adversely disturbs your quality of sleep and overall health. Organize yourself by making a checklist of work that needs to be done on a priority basis. Give yourself approachable deadlines and finish your work in a timely fashion. Avoid multitasking as it can trigger stress and anxiety too.
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