People are overscheduled, overcommitted and generally exhausted. Stress creates a chemical cascade in your body that increases inflammation and can lead to every disease you can think of.
It’s important for your mental and physical well-being to reduce your stress levels. Stress is related to the classic “fight or flight response” back when if people didn’t run when they saw the saber-toothed tiger, they risked their lives.
Most of today’s stress revolves around less life threatening situations. When you put things in perspective, it helps.
Here are Top Stress Relief Techniques to Help You Find Sanity
Breathing exercises – You can use this low tech tool anywhere and you never forget it at home. If you feel your blood pressure rising, focus on breathing deeply.
Inhale as deeply as you can and exhale slowly. Do this at least three times (more if you’re really peeved). When you practice slow and deep breathing, you’re sending a signal to your body that you’re alive and it’s ok. A soothing breath reduces your blood pressure so you feel calmer.
Meditation – Many people think of meditation as sitting on a cushion at the top of a mountain unmoving for days but you can practice meditation simply by being “in the moment”. If you’re standing in line at Macy’s to buy armloads of gifts, practice paying attention to your breath instead of getting annoyed at how long it’s taking. That’s meditation in your daily life.
Yoga – There are many types of yoga. Whether you lean toward a vigorous Vinyasa practice or a Gentle yoga, spending an hour or so stretching and focusing on your breath and your body does wonders for your mind and body.
Lots of Physical Exercise – If yoga isn’t for you, any type of physical exercise will reduce stress. Take a walk, ride a bike, find a kickboxing class on YouTube and follow along. Most of us don’t get enough exercise but it holds loads of stress reducing benefits.
Acupuncture – Traditional Chinese Medicine holds that “chi” or life energy gets blocked at different points in our bodies. This causes aches and pains as well as stress. The acupuncture needles release those blockages so you feel better, more rested and energetic.
Chiropractic Care – Chiropractic adjustments also release blockages in your body. They do it through a series of spinal manipulations rather than needle pricks yet it can work in tandem with acupuncture to reduce your stress wonderfully.
Unplug – Studies show reducing your screen time an hour or two before bed will help you sleep better. Plus, if you’re up late answering emails or other work, you’ll have a hard time turning off your brain so you can sleep well. Make it a point to turn off the work (and electronics) earlier. Lay on the floor and do some gentle stretches instead.
Try to take a day off every week too from electronics. Not being constantly attuned for the “dings” of FB and email notifications will give your brain a respite.
Humor – Laugh. You’ve heard of the healing power of humor? It’s true. When you laugh, you let down your guard — in other words you aren’t stressed.
Downtime to recharge is essential to good health. Don’t overstuff your schedule so much that you can barely find time to see a friend or sit down to a meal with your family.
It’s ok to relax. Pick two or three of these stress relief techniques and see if you don’t start feeling less frazzled. You’ll do your health good!