By: Duncan Guignet
Stress has been known to cause virtually every problem in existence. When people are under stress, health conditions arise, the mind if hazed, and poor actions are taken guided by the tension. When feeling this way, it is important to know that the temporary perceptions to experience and the decision you make are not fully real – that is, they would be different had the stress not come into your life.
There are many ways to cope with stress and reduce it’s effects on the mind and body. Here are 7 helpful ways.
If you’re having a particularly stressful day, taking a moment to stop and breathe can help provide some relief and direction. When you take a deep, even breaths, a message is sent to your brain to relax your nervous system. Deep breathing also oxygenates your blood and increases circulation to your extremities. These things help relieve muscle tension and calm your mind.
Research suggests focusing on how you breathe at a time when you’re already relaxed, and trying to duplicate that pattern during stressful situations. If this doesn’t prove effective, practice different breathing exercises known to help relieve stress.
For a multitude of reason, exercise rocks as a stress reliever. However, some people don’t realize that “relieving stress through exercise” does not mean killing yourself in the gym. A brisk walk is all it takes, so get out there!
In addition to releasing endorphins, for many the simple act of moving helps focus their mind. Recall that over the past 50 years, obesity in the United States has jumped from just over 10% to more than 35% in 2010 – and that’s just what the CDC actually reports. This increasingly sedentary lifestyle has lent to some Americans never being exposed to calming and invigorating effects of exercise.
A personal fan-favorite of yours truly, yoga combines focused breathing and stretching that not only help to de-stress, but also to improve balance, circulation, and – here’s a bonus – it’s great for the whole family.
Yoga has been around in some capacity for literally thousands of years. Generally focused on spiritually well-being, it can be a great source of relieve who suffer from chronic stress. In addition to the very real and measurable results outlined above, yoga also helps greatly improve discipline. For some, it might be hard to schedule time to work out every day. Not for yoga! It’s so quick and easy anyone can incorporate it into a daily routine.
4. Eat Right
Ever heard of MSG? You might want to look into it before your next trip to China Garden. What about added sugar? The fact is, we are what we eat. Most people don’t realize how greatly sugars, hormones, excitotoxins, and other harmful chemicals can affect your brain and blood chemistry.
First step – break the cycle. Try replacing one snack per day with a healthful, GMO free vegetable like broccoli, carrots, or celery. Additionally, try replacing one sugary drink per day with two glasses of water.
We call it your Happy Place for a reason, people. When you feel overloaded with stress, try to visualize a place in your mind where you feel at ease. But don’t take the name too literally! In addition to visual representations of calm, try to call forth sensations from all your senses. Relaxing scents, sounds, and even textures have been shown to help people de-stress the brain. When coupled with the breathing exercises mentioned above, going to your ‘happy place’ can provide a type of oasis from the stimuli around you in a world where such relaxing environments can be challenging to find in real life.
6. Outside, the Other Inside
Do not be as quick as some to discount the benefits of fresh air. Ask yourself, “How often do I spend more than one hour outside?” The answer might surprise you.
Even if you’re not exercising, getting out and experiencing nature can have a profound effect on the mind. Leave the tech behind too! No smartphones or tablets or laptops, just you and trusty Mother Nature. Go to a park, take a walk by a nearby body of water, visit a botanical garden, the options are endless. With all the technological stimuli around us we sometimes easily lose focus on the serenity and beauty of the natural world.