Stress is a natural response. In fact, it’s a necessary response. A little stress helps us to avoid dangerous situations and act when necessary. However, stress can become a problem when used irrationally.
Prolonged daily stress has been proven to affect overall health negatively and may lead to many illnesses. Short bursts of stress on the other hand are less damaging, but may also be taxing on the body when done regularly.
To avoid stress at work, home or in general try one of our quick stress reduction techniques:
#1 – Take a deep breath. Breathing helps to regulate your stress levels. Proper breathing technique can slow down your heart beat as well as reduce your cortisol levels – these can rise dangerously when you are feeling very stressed.
The old adage of "take a deep breath and count to ten" couldn’t be more spot on. Doing this gives your body time to slow down and think before getting too out of control. It is the difference between whether you React or Respond.
#2 – Connect with nature. Time spent outdoors in a natural environment has been proven to reduce stress levels. And you don’t need to spend a lot of time to reap the benefits. Simply going outside for a quick five minute walk around a leafy suburb or local park is enough to make a difference.
When you do have a little extra time, take a break and stop to admire the beauty of nature. It’s amazing how you can feel more centered and refreshed after being exposed to the natural world. It often helps you put things into perspective; after all, we’re just a small being in a big, big world.
#3 – Laugh a little. It has been proven that humor reduces stress levels in the body. In fact, laughter has been known to help cure or alleviate many illnesses too. A good way to relieve yourself of stress is by replacing your action-packed dramas with feel-good comedies. If you’re going to spend the time watching TV you may as well watch something that makes your whole body feel good in the process.
Take time to see the humor in life – get together with a good friend to share a laugh, watch a comedy, funny animal videos on YouTube, or simply take a cue from children and giggle about the silly things all around us. Whatever you do, make sure you include laughter regularly in your life.
#4 – Exercise a little. Exercise is what our bodies were meant to do. Physiologically we are not made to sit around all day. And although that’s often a reality of modern life, we need to keep in mind that exercise is not only good for us but also necessary.
Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean sweating away at the gym either. In fact, the more natural the exercise, the better. Walking is one of the easiest and overall most beneficial exercises. Even if you only have time for a ten minute walk each day, that’s better than not walking at all.
Cycling, swimming, gardening, dancing or simply running around with the kids will all help reduce stress and make you feel better overall. The key to exercise is moderation, as exercise in extreme can actually raise your stress levels even further.
#5 – Eat a healthy diet. You have heard this before, I’m sure and there’s no way around it. If you take the time to eat a healthy variety of foods your body will thank you in the process. Ensure you get plenty of green vegetables and fruits as well as whole grains and lean protein and dairy.
A balanced diet will help keep your overall stress levels functioning at their best. Too much sugar and caffeine on the other hand can send stress levels soaring through the roof.
#6 – Take a break. When you’re juggling life, work and a myriad of other responsibilities it’s easy to forget that you’re human too and can only do so much. Make it a point to take a little time out just for you. During that time, do whatever you enjoy most.
If it’s reading a magazine, do that. If you have a favorite hobby, do that. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you take a little time out to recharge your batteries and feel energized once again.
Although at times necessary, stress doesn’t have to be a regular part of your life. Use the above tips to keep it at bay and to develop a healthier overall lifestyle.
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