Stress Relief. Top 10 Stress relievers
Stress Relief? It's no laughing matter, but it has become something of a joke to the thousands of men, women, and children who are living in today's world and experiencing the frantic pace of both work and play. Stress can take many forms. It isn't just the negative experiences of life that can create stress. Being too busy, even though participating in a multitude of fun-filled activities, can result in excessive surges of adrenaline in the body that leave us fatigued and emotionally drained. Like a driver merging from the onramp onto a multilane freeway during rush hour traffic, we find ourselves struggling to get up to speed and go with the flow of today's fast paced family.
We're not suggesting that you can reach a permanent state called "happiness" and remain there. But there are many ways to swerve off the path of anxiety, anger, frustration, and sadness into a state of happiness once or even several times throughout the day. Here are 10 ideas to get you started. Choose the ones that work for you.
Top 10 Stress Relievers:
Some can be learned in the time it takes to read this page, while others take a little more practice, but there's something here for everyone!
1) Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing is an easy stress reliever that has numerous benefits for the body, including oxygenating the blood, which ‘wakes up’ the brain, relaxing muscles and quieting the mind. Breathing exercises are especially helpful because you can do them anywhere, and they work quickly so you can de-stress in a flash.
The goal of all meditative procedures, both religious and therapeutic, is to quiet the mind (essentially, to relax thought). With practice, meditation reduces stress hormone levels and elevates mood. The practiced meditator can achieve a reduction in heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline levels, and skin temperature while meditating.
3) Guided Imagery
It takes slightly more time to practice guided imagery, but this is a great way to leave your stress behind for a while and relax your body. Some find it easier to practice than meditation, as lots of us find it more doable to focus on ‘something’ than on ‘nothing’. You can play natural sounds in the background as you practice, to promote a more immersive experience.
We have all done visualization at some point in our lives – usually in the middle of winter when we imagine we are actually lounging on a warm, sandy beach. Visualization allows us to remove ourselves from reality for a short period of time, providing us with rest and relaxation.
Also, visualizing yourself doing well on tasks you’re trying to master actually functions like physical practice, so you can improve your performance through visualizations as well!
5) Keeping A Journal
Sometimes the simple act of writing things down can help you clarify your feelings and render them less emotionally and physically stressful. Some studies even find that by reducing stress, keeping a journal can improve medical conditions such as asthma.
Your sense of touch is closely linked to your state of mind and is vital to your sense of well-being. In fact, babies who are not touched enough can fail to thrive and even die! Work with this need by getting a massage from a friend or a professional. If neither is available, you can use a self-massager, which will also work great in promoting circulation, releasing tension, and helping you feel more relaxed.
7) Progressive Muscle Relaxation
By tensing and relaxing all the muscle groups in your body, you can relieve tension and feel much more relaxed in minutes, with no special training or equipment. Start by tensing all the muscles in your face, holding a tight grimace ten seconds, then completely relaxing for ten seconds. Repeat this with your neck, followed by your shoulders, etc. You can do this anywhere, and as you practice, you will find you can relax more quickly and easily, reducing tension as quickly as it starts!
You probably already know that sex is a great tension reliever, but have you officially thought of it as a stress-relieving practice? Perhaps you should. The physical benefits of sex are numerous, and most of them work very well toward relieving stress. Sadly, many people have less sex when their stress levels are high. Learn how to avoid this trap!
9) Music Therapy
Listening to music does wonders to alleviate stress. Music is a significant mood-changer and reliever of stress, working on many levels at once. Please note that everyone has different tastes in music. Listen to the music that you feel comfortable. Sitting down and forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that you don't like may create stress, not alleviate it.
Yoga postures balance the different systems of the body, including the central nervous system, the endocrine (or glandular) system, and the digestive system. By slowing down the mental activity, and by gently stretching the body and massaging the internal organs, yoga creates a climate of dynamic peacefulness within and gives you a lot of benefit for the amount of time and energy required.
AND ONE THING NOT TO DO...
One approach, on the other hand, to avoid, is that of using smoking and alcohol as crutches to help you cope - in the long run they simply make stress worse. Drinking more to 'calm your nerves' is a slippery slope.