8 Stress-Busting Tips

After you’ve gone to work, finished your errands, picked the kids up from sports, made dinner, returned phone calls to family, household chores, gotten your kids to bed, many are simply too tired to think about themselves so they watch mindless television or mess around on social media then go to bed feeling frazzled and anxious. Not surprisingly, they start off the next day feeling the same. It’s a vicious cycle, but turning stress management into a habit and a priority easily breaks it.

8 Ways to Stress Relief

1. Exercise
Exercise releases endorphins that have an antidepressant-like effect on your brain while also helping to reduce muscle tension. Exercise also helps reduce the adverse physical effects of stress. During periods of high stress, those who exercised less frequently had 37% more physical symptoms than those who exercised more often.

2. Spend Time in Nature
Going outdoors helps to relieve your stress naturally, with research showing levels of the stress hormone cortisol lower in those who live in areas with the most green space, as are their self-reported feelings of stress. Even five minutes in nature can help reduce stress and boost your mood. Combine #1 & 2 - go for a hike!

3. Focus on Your Breathing
Learning to breathe mindfully can improve your stress levels drastically. These changes are in large part due to oxygenating your body properly. Ideally you should be breathing primarily through your nose; learning what I call “yoga breathing” can help you restore normal and beneficial breathing patterns. It also helps massage the adrenal glands which are responsible for stress hormones by fully expanding the diaphragm.

4. Participate in Activities You Enjoy
Engaging in a hobby gives you crucial time to simply enjoy me-time. A hobby can take your mind off of stress and adds more much-needed fun to your life.

5. Eat Right
Schedule time to eat without rushing, and make sure to maintain optimal gut health by regularly consuming fermented foods, such as fermented vegetables, or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement. Scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the friendly bacteria within fermented foods or probiotics is extremely important for proper brain function, including psychological well-being and mood control. This is mainly due to serotonin being released in the gut - if there is a reduction in the amount of serotonin you produce there is a greater tendency toward aggressive behavior. Other mood alterations include - irritability, impulsivity, aggression, disordered eating and sleeping irregularies.

6. Stay Positive
This is a technique that takes some time to learn it can lead to a more joyful life and better health, as those who are optimistic have an easier time dealing with stress. Try keeping a list of all that you’re grateful for and make a commitment to stop any negative self-talk. Treat yourself the way you would like others to treat you.

7. Stay Connected
Loneliness can be a major source of stress, so make a point to stay connected with loved ones, co-workers, and friends. You can also become more social - work your way up to volunteering, attending community events, meeting acquaintances for coffee or taking a class to meet others with like interests.

8. Take a Break or Meditate
Taking even 10 minutes to sit quietly and shut out the chaos. Unplug! Meditiating during your breaks can help you to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety even more. When people think of mediation they believe you need to be alone in a quiet room with candles and chanting - meditation can be what you make it. It can be a break to just step outside of a busy day at work or a walk alone where you are focused on your breathing.

Conclusion 

You don’t need to devote hours to stress relief every day. Instead, you’ll find that activities you already do can work wonders for calming your nerves, especially if you make a commitment to doing them on most days of the week.

Author
Dr. Lori Nuzzi

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