Feeling stressed? You’re not alone. In the ever busy, fast-paced world we exist in, so many of us feel stressed and anxious on a daily basis.
Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family, to serious life events can trigger stress. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates, and if stress levels stay elevated too long though, it can take a toll on your health.
If you feel like you have reached your limits on the stress-factor, here’s a few simple things you can do to get yourself back on track.
RELAX YOUR MUSCLES
When you’re stressed, your muscles will get tense, and this will make you feel physically worse. Relax those muscles and it will make a huge difference to the way you feel. A full body stretch is a good start, or if you have the opportunity, get a professional massage. Even a hot bath or shower can help relax the muscles, and of course this will all lead to having a full, relaxing night sleep.
FOCUS ON DEEP BREATHING
It’s amazing what a difference it makes by stopping and concentrating on some deep breaths. It can take the pressure away instantly to make you feel better. Start by laying down or sitting in a comfortable position with your hands in your lap and feet on the floor. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing place that gives you a feeling of peace. Slowly take deep breaths in and out. If you can do this for 5-10 minutes at a time, you’ll feel so much better.
REGULATE YOUR HEARTBEAT
Not many people know this, but tapping your body can help relieve anxiety. If you are familiar with pressure points, you’ll find that gently tapping on them can help your heartbeat return to a normal rhythm during times of stress or anxiety. You can try tapping the middle of your forehead, upper lip, chin, heart, or left wrist. Tap gently with your finger tips and concentrate on breathing for an instant anxiety relief.
TAKE A BREAK
Stressful situations get us down, but sometimes they can’t be avoided. It’s important therefore to give yourself a break and enjoy regular down-time to help get your mind off the stresses in your life. Look for restful activities you can do regularly such as meditation, yoga or tai chi; but even simply sitting and listening to your favourite music could be the break you need. Of course nothing beats being outdoors in nature, taking in fresh air and sunshine, so be sure to add getting outside into your weekly schedule to help with relaxation.
Working out regularly is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. Studies have shown that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as anti-depressants can. This is because when you exercise, your body releases powerful endorphins which are helpful in relieving tension and stress. It’s important to keep up regular exercise even when your life becomes busy. Set aside 30-60 minutes each day for exercise, and make it something you enjoy. A mixture of vigorous exercise such as jogging, swimming or a gym workout as well as moderate exercise such as a brisk walk will keep you on the right track.
Eating a regular, well-balanced diet will help you feel better in general, and will certainly help in controlling your moods. Concentrate on wholesome meals that are full of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein for energy. Avoid too much alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. The most important thing to remember is that, especially during times of pressure and stress, never to skip meals. A healthy balanced diet is important for a healthy mind and body.
Stress is a natural feeling of not being able to cope with specific demands and events. By taking some time out to relax, and by keeping up exercise and healthy eating, you will soon get on top of your stress and start feeling better for longer.