Stress and anxiety are some of the worst illnesses afflicting our modern times. Not only do they reduce our happiness and ability to enjoy our lives and our loved ones, but they are also the leading causes of many types of diseases and afflictions of the body, as well as the mind.
So it is of paramount importance that we are all familiar with ways to reduce our overall, or momentary, stress. Here are 20 great and easy ways to reduce your stress and start feeling a whole lot better!
1. Take a deep breath. As simple as that sounds, deep breaths reduce the amount of cortisol, which can help release stress and anxiety. So next time you feel overwhelmed, take some deep breaths.
2. Meditation: The best thing about meditation is that it allows the brain to relax for a bit and so decreases the overthinking we do and the stress that comes with it. Give your mind a well needed break.
3. Retreat to your imagination: Imagine a peaceful scene, and let calm wash over you. If it doesn't work, imagine a happy memory of a time when you felt at ease.
4. Exercise: Not only does physical activity gives a well needed release for your anger and frustration, the endorphins that are released after that activity help to drastically reduce the anxiety, as well as making you feel more powerful and in control.
5. Have sexual relations: Research shows that having sexual relations reduces the symptoms of stress and anxiety in a significant way.
6. Music: Studies show that listening to music can elevate stress by activating bio-chemical mechanisms in the brain responsible for controlling the amount of stress we feel.
7. Yoga: We'll say it again - yoga is great. The combination of breathing techniques and physical activity makes yoga one heck of a soldier in the fight against anxiety.
8. Walking: A quiet walk, especially at night, can do wonders for stress.
9. Talk to a loved one: Some people need to 'get it off their chest', and who better to talk to than someone who is on your side. Maybe it's a partner, a great friend or a relative, but the interaction and closeness can do wonders.
10. Take a break: Take yourselves out of a stressing situation from time to time, don't slog it. The little times off will help you come back with renewed energy. Remember, you are not a machine, you need these little breaks.
11. Scented candles: Studies show that aromatherapy can be very effective against stress, and lavender scents have been directly linked to a decrease in overall stress.
12. A long, pampering massage: There's nothing like a good massage to take away all the combined stress in your muscles and let it go. Studies have shown that a 40 minute massage can do a lot to reduce stress in the body as well as improving our self image. Ask your partner to massage you or pamper yourselves with a professional massage.
13. Get a pet: Statistics show that people who own pets are less stressed. One theory is that pets take us outside of the human world and the stress it creates, and make us forget about it for a while. After all, the world of a cat or a dog is a much nicer, calmer world, where licking and treats are much more important...
14. Write a diary: Writing a diary is a well known therapy for alleviating stress and anxiety. Pick a time of day to sit down and write about whatever you are feeling and going through. Let the stress flow out with the ink (or virtual ink if you are using a computer).
15. Take a nap: A nap, usually around noon, is a great way to let your body balance its hormones and release stress.
16. Drink tea: Studies show that drinking tea balances the amount of the cortisol hormone released after stress and makes us feel more relaxed. So maybe the English are on to something here...
17. Chew gum: Chewing gum has a similar effect to drinking tea. The ongoing activity will also give you something to focus on other than the stress, and will prevent you from clinching your jaw and causing yourselves pain.
18. Laugh: It's not a myth that laughter can be the best medicine, as it releases endorphins that significantly reduce the levels of stress in the body. So watch a comedy, read some jokes or share some laughs with a funny friend.
19. Take time for yourselves: Find time to be alone, isolate the disturbing thoughts and think of creative ideas. Sometimes it's better not to run from stress, but deal with it alone.
20. Believe in yourselves: If there's one thing we can leave you with, it is this: Know that you have the power to succeed and overcome any problem, believe in yourselves enough to take risks and take that important step forward.
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