Stress happens when you perceive and overthink the demands that are placed on you. Many times the source of stress is work, school, family expectations and relationships with others. Of course, some may argue that stress can actually be beneficial at times, as it can sometimes give us a boost of energy to get through exams or deadlines. However, chronic stress can also result in health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.
By trying to find a positive and healthy way to manage your stress as it comes, many of the negative consequences can be reduced. Since everyone is different, there are countless ways that many people can manage their stress. For many, stress relief can come from one's hobbies, while others prefer to take part in solitary activities. Regardless, here are five healthy techniques that psychological research has shown to help reduce stress.
Take A Break From The Stressor. Although it is difficult to escape the presence of that big project, crying children, or your bills that are piling up, still try to allow yourself to step away from it. Let your body have some time o do something else, which can allow you to have a new perspective to feel less overwhelmed. Don’t avoid your stress entirely, but even taking 15-20 minutes for yourself can be helpful.
Exercise. As research into stress relief increases, exercise has been proven to benefit your mind just as well as your body. We all hear about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine, but even taking a 20-minute walk, run, or swim session during a stressful time can have an immediate effect on your well-being.
Smile and Laugh. Our brains are connected with our emotions and facial expressions. Often times when people are stressed, they hold a lot of the stress in their faces. Because of this, laughing or smiling (even if it’s fake) can help relieve some of the tension and help your situation.
Get Social Support. If you’re feeling stressed, call a friend and reach out to someone. When you share your stress or concerns with a family member or a friend, it actually does help alleviate stress. Make sure you’re always speaking to someone you can trust and who you feel would understand you. For example, if it is your family who is one of the causes of your stress, it may not help if you share your work stress with them.
Meditate. Meditation can actually help the mind and body to relax and focus. Being mindful of your surroundings can help you see your situation from new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. While practicing mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress. This works in the same way as exercise. Even meditating briefly has shown to have immediate benefits.
You'd never guess that I ... Was a whitewater rafting guide for a summer. I didn't shave my legs and had a killer Teva tan.
Someday I'll retire to ... A cabin with a garden, a library, and a sunny yoga room.
Favorite quote ... "And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." -John Steinbeck
The one thing I can't live without ... veggie burritos.
In another life ... I was a mermaid.