Did you know that 55% of Americans experience stress on a regular basis? This is according to a recent Gallup Poll. That makes us one of the most anxious and stressed-out countries in the world! When you experience a daily stressful life it can have adverse effects on your mental and physical health.
Problems at work, school, relationships, and family can cause tension and anxiety which can make you feel exhausted, stressed, angry, and unable to cope or focus. But, there are ways to reduce stress and feel better today.
Here Are Some Proven, Easy, and Effective Stress-Reducing Activities -
We want you to de-stress so you can enjoy your life to its fullest!
1. Practice Yoga
Yoga is an effective exercise that benefits you physically, and yoga is a great way to de-stress and improve your mental health as well.
In a clinical study at UCLA with 17 depressed individuals, 11 of them were found to be in remission from their depression after only 20 yoga sessions. They also noted that they felt less anxiety, tension, and fatigue after each class.
If you’re new to this activity, there are plenty of beginner’s classes out there to help you learn the proper poses and techniques. There are also lots of internet tutorials that will help guide you through the process, for those who prefer to workout in the privacy of their own home.
After just one or two sessions, many people feel more centered, and the benefits will keep accumulating as you continue to practice yoga.
2. Find a Hobby
Having an interest that you look forward to after a long day at work is one of the best ways to relieve stress! The key is to find something that you genuinely enjoy doing on a regular basis that you can build upon.
Here are some of the top stress-relieving hobbies: knitting, playing an instrument, listening to music, reading, journaling, walking, hiking, and baking. The main point is that your hobby should be something that’s fun and enjoyable - not another job!
It might take you a little while to find something that you are excited about, but experiment and explore different types of hobbies that you normally wouldn't do! Another benefit of hobbies outside of work is that hobbies help to reduce your stress and cortisol levels too!
When you’re feeling a lot of tension, you might need the benefits of a natural supplement to reduce your feelings of stress and negative feelings.
St. John’s Wort Supplement has been used by many people to alleviate anxiety and depression as a result of leading a stressful life.
It is a proven supplement that has been used since the 1st century AD by Roman military doctors! Many people have noticed a positive difference in their lives and helped them to feel more focused and calm.
When you add Saint Johns Wort to any of the other activities mentioned in this article, you will naturally boost your serotonin levels and eliminate the harmful hormones caused by anxiety.
Another supplement that people have used to improve mood is Vitamin B. You want to take the entire B complex which contains all eight B vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin, folic acid, and the cobalamins (B12). B vitamins are said to help heart and brain health as well.
4. Get Regular Exercise
I know it can be difficult to find the time to fit exercise into your daily routine, but exercising is one of the most helpful ways to reduce stress. Exercise will boost your production of endorphins, giving you a natural high that will improve your mood and leave you feeling great all day according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Studies have shown that even moderate levels of exercise - about 30 minutes a day – can make a significant improvement to your health and demeanor (However, if you haven't exercised in a while please go slowly in the beginning).
According to the science journal "The Lancet," health care expenses directly related to physical inactivity cost individual households an astounding $9.7 billion in 2013 in the United States.
Exercises for stress relief can be as simple as taking a brisk walk, bike ride, Tai Chi (Make slow body movements with breathing techniques), Pilates (a low-impact exercise that helps your strength, flexibility, and posture), swimming or as rigorous as taking out your frustrations with a punching bag workout (using a heavy punching bag to punch or kick. It's a great exercise for the entire body and heart. Women, did you know that boxing can increase your bone density?).
Regardless of which activity you choose, you’ll enjoy the many benefits that exercise affords towards your mental and physical health.
Adding a pet into your life is one of the proven ways to relieve stress! According to the NIH (National Institute of Health) animals have been shown to decrease your levels of loneliness, which can also help reduce your cortisol levels.
What really is cortisol? Cortisol is, "nature’s built-in alarm system. It’s your body’s main stress hormone. It works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear" according to WebMd.
Cortisol does so many things for our body, here are just a few of the things it does:
- Regulates our carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; and keeps inflammation down
- Regulates our blood pressure
- Increases our blood sugar or glucose
Dogs & cats provide comfort and reassurance when you’re feeling anxious, and dogs, who love frequent walks, give you a little exercise too.
Can owning a dog increase your life? Yes, a dog can lengthen your lifespan according to the American Heart Association! They discovered that people who had dogs had fewer incidents of cardiovascular disease and when they had a heart attack their recoveries were much quicker than people without dogs! Additional research showed that even petting your dog lowered a person’s heart rate and blood pressure.
6. Take a Social Media Break
Social media can become highly addictive. It can also create a lot of anxiety and pressure on us to live up to those unrealistic images of ourselves on our social media screens.
All of that worrying about how many likes your next post and what to say next can lead you down a rabbit hole of negative thoughts of doubt and self-esteem issues.
For some people, these social media platforms are becoming overwhelming and taking over their lives.
Remember, it’s okay to take a break from them for a day or even a week. Challenge yourself to do that. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will still be there when you’re ready to come back, and you’ll get a much-needed rest from them in the meantime.
7. Eat the Right Types of Foods
Although indulging in your favorite comfort foods might give you a temporary lift to your spirits, you’ll often be miserable shortly afterward especially if it contains a lot of sugars or carbs in it.
While you can enjoy just about anything in moderation, eating healthy foods has many benefits! When you make healthier food choices it's a great way to boost your immune system and improve your attitude, which gives you to better chance on anything that life may throw your way.
Foods That Can Boost Your Immune System
Fish like salmon, herring and sardines contain the valuable omega-3 fatty acids that can lower triglycerides, improve blood flow to the brain, and can prevent spikes in your stress hormones.
One scientific study by the American Heart Association showed that consuming only four grams of omega-3 per day can lower your triglycerides by an amazing 20 to 30%! (If you have high triglycerides it can lead to hardening of the arteries which can increase your risk of a stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.)
A vegetable that can boost your immune system is Red Bell Peppers. They have both Vitamin A (protects you against infections) and Vitamin C (boosts your immunity and may prevent heart disease and manage high blood pressure).
Did you know that in a recent study they discovered that Vitamin C can increase a persons blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%?.
8. Unwind With a Great Book
A great way to take your mind off of your troubles is to delve into a good book, or even a movie, or TV show. Consuming these forms of media can help distract you from any worries that have accumulated throughout your day, and might just give you a good laugh or cry at the same time.
Reading or watching movies can give you a boost of dopamine when you need it most. So, curl up with a good book or movie next time you’re feeling anxious, and watch your frustrations melt away.
9. Make Meditation a Part of Your Daily Life
Even spending just a few minutes a day doing meditation can make a huge difference in your mental health. When you allow yourself to clear your mind of all the day's stressful thoughts, you’ll notice an intense feeling of inner peace.
Although some people in the beginning struggle with letting-go during this meditation process, remember it just takes a little practice like anything else in life. Give it a shot next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, and gradually you’ll feel more relaxed in no time.
10. Start a Journal
Getting your worries out of your head and onto a piece of paper is a great method to de-stress. Many experts believe that journaling even for a few minutes every day can help you conquer your fears and face your problems better, leading to lower levels of anxiety and depression.
One of the easiest ways to start is to write down a few things that you’re grateful for every night. It's a very effective way to boost your mood, leave you feeling more satisfied with your life, and helps you to get a great night of sleep too!
11. Get More Sleep
A lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your health, leaving you grumpy and frustrated throughout the day.
According to Johns Hopkins, sleep deprivation can not only have disastrous physical effects, but it can also cause a 33% increase in dementia and age your brain 3-5 years. Following many items on this list might improve your ability to sleep.
Exercise is known to kick insomnia to the curb, while journaling can help put your mind at ease, allowing you to fall asleep more easily.
12. Give Therapy a Chance
If you still find that your anxiety is unmanageable after giving several of these stress-relieving methods a shot, find a therapist in your area that will help you to put your problems into perspective.
A trained professional psychotherapist can give you the needed tools to conquer those areas in your life that are causing anxiety, shame, depression, or anger.
One popular treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves changing the negative thought patterns that exacerbate your anxiety. If you feel that you have low cortisol contact your doctor and have a cortisol test. When you have low levels of cortisol it can cause you to feel a lot of fatigue and weakness.
Take The Time To Do Just One of These Tips Each Week To Destress
Challenge yourself to take the time to do just one of these tips this week and you’ll soon be rewarded with improved physical and mental health and less stress. Then, the next week add one more, etc. But, don't overwhelm yourself and add too many of these areas all at once, otherwise, you will get stressed-out with performance anxiety!
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