Simple Ways to Relieve Stress
It might surprise you to learn that the conception of biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress. While symptoms of stress existed long before Mr. Selye, his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions combat stress. We’ve made overcoming stress easy by compiling a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.
A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
It’s simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting — out loud or silently — a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.
2.Talk Yourself Through It
Sometimes calling a friend is not an option. If this is the case, talking calmly to yourself can be the next best thing. Don’t worry about seeming crazy—just tell yourself why you’re stressed out, what you have to do to complete the task at hand, and most importantly, that everything will be OK (trust us, it will be).
3. Breathe Deeply
Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight,eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through yourmouth.
“Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,” psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She’s a certified life coach in Rome, GA.
4. Be Present
Slow down.“Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,” Tutin says. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food.When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.
5 .Eat Right
Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. Unfortunately, it’s when we have the most work that we forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up. Try to avoid the vending machine and plan ahead. Fruits and vegetables are always good, and fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress. A tuna sandwich really is brain food.
6. Reach Out
Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others — preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what’s going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.
7. Tune In to Your Body
Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels.
“Simply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change anything,” Tutin says. For 1 to 2 minutes, imagine each deep breath flowing to that body part. Repeat this process as you move your focus up your body, paying close attention to sensations you feel in each body part.
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