Humans are naturally stressed. However, too much stress can affect your weight, your health and your quality of life. The first steps in keeping stress down are to regularly exercise, eat healthy, keep caffeine and alcohol intake low and get enough sleep.
Try the following steps and find which works for you to help reduce your stress.
If you’re stressing out at work, make sure you take your breaks. This gets you away from your stressful activity and talking to others. Make sure you do not discuss your job while you’re on break.
2. Easy exercises.
Some exercises will help alleviate a little tension, so try a few. Stretches will help muscles relax. Learn a few stretches to do at your desk or in your car. Check out classes in your area or obtain a DVD to help with stretching exercises — pilates and yoga are a couple exercises you can try.
In addition to stretches, there are some self-massage techniques you can use on various parts of your body. You can even get a full-body massage from a professional to help you relax and reduce your stress level.
3. Avoid negative.
Have you felt yourself tensing up as you listen to someone complaining? Some people can’t seem to stop. Ask nicely, but if that doesn’t work, avoid them. You don’t need to share their stress. This also goes for arguing and fighting as well.
4. Positive focus.
Make a list of all the good things in your life. When you’re feeling stressed, review one or more items on your list that make you feel good. You can also focus on something you want to do with your life. Imagine not having to worry about money, getting the promotion you want, holding your first grandchild, etc. Practice visualizing your positives.
5. Walk away.
A walk takes you away from your stress. Physical activity will help break up your day and the natural endorphins will help calm you. Try walking fast to start with and slow down as you reach your destination. Does this help slow you down and release tension?
6. Run or ride.
Need more than a walk? Get away with a run or a ride. Make sure you’re away from whatever is stressing you out long enough to stop thinking about it so you can go back to your activity without the high stress level. If riding a bike isn’t enough, try driving. Many people find driving relaxing, usually along roads with scenery to enjoy.
7. Hot bath.
Put in salts, bubble bath or whatever you like. Make sure no one bothers you while you’re soaking. In addition, try scented candles for light instead of harsh bulbs. Perhaps add some soft music to help keep your mind relaxed. When you are done, ask yourself if you feel more relaxed.
Some music pumps you up. Some helps you relax. Listen to some of your favorite music and explore which music helps you fell better. Make yourself a mix on a CD or a group of selections on your computer or MP3 player. Sit, relax and focus on the music when you play it.
Escape from your normal, stressful life into someone else’s life with fiction. You can also try fan fiction online. If you find comfort in the Bible, pull it out. Of course, many people enjoy non-fiction as well. Discover which books help you relax and keep one nearby.
If you don’t feel like reading a book, how about writing one? Create a journal to put down your thoughts, feelings and what is happening in your life right now.
Meditation isn’t a quick fix. You’ll need to practice it for it to be effective. Try meditation every day for two weeks and notice that not only does it get easier, but your stress level decreases.
Find a quiet place and time when you know that you will not be disturbed. If you have no place inside, go outside. Give yourself permission to relax and take time for yourself. Sit upright, hands on knees and close your eyes. Breathe deeply into your stomach. Count 20 breaths. Continue to breathe and relax.
Even if you don’t have time to meditate, just taking deep breaths and clearing your mind can help reduce stress. If you find you enjoy meditation, explore it in more depth.
11. Other activities.
Add leisure activities you enjoy to this list. Every time you do something you enjoy, you relax and it takes your mind off what is stressing you. Leisure activities may include being creative with arts and crafts, watching a movie or television show, participating in hobbies or even just spending time with your kids and / or pets. If you’re still stressed, look into longer term activities such as a weekend getaway for a vacation. You may find that just one method doesn’t work. You may need to do a variety of techniques depending on the situation and location you are in at the time.
12. Medical help.
Sometimes you have to get help to relax. This explains the use of drugs and alcohol for many people. Try a natural supplement or see your doctor to determine if you need a prescription. While you may not want to take a prescription drug, you may find a different world taking it.
NOTE: I ended up taking this route and, while I only took medication for a short time, realized that life was a lot different when I wasn’t stressed out. Growing up in an abusive home, I had never known what living without stress was. Now, I know the feeling I’m attempting to achieve with the other stress reducing activities and succeed a lot more.
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