We’ve all been at our wits’ end at some point. Hundreds of unread work emails, a project that is not just way behind schedule but also way over budget, mortgage repayments past due, a relationship in stormy seas and other situations in life that rob you of peace of mind and keep you awake at night.
Stress is not just something that dampens your mood and kills enthusiasm, it has grave consequences on your overall health. Mental illnesses and cardiovascular diseases are common among people who worry too much. No matter what may be getting you riled up, there are steps you can take that can defuse the pressure and get you feeling great again.
We look at some of these below.
For years, health experts have recommended rigorous physical activity as a powerful tool for calming nerves. So if you are stressed out, hit the gym, take a walk around your neighborhood or go for a jog. Despite its obvious benefits though, getting into an exercise routine isn’t easy especially at the start.
Your body will resist and you’ll have to battle the strong urge to slouch on your sofa and binge-watch TV. Nevertheless, the relaxing power of exercise is virtually unmatched. Rigorous sustained physical activity releases anandamide, endorphins and other mood-lifting chemicals. Exercise also helps you take your mind off problematic situations thus lowering anxiety.
Most of us already turn to music to get us in a great mood but we are likely not using music as much as we could. Simply tuning in to your favorite song can lower stress levels and refocus your energy on what really matters.
Of course, not all of the music we love will be equally effective in reducing anxiety. For example, some of the songs you like may also simultaneously remind you of an unpleasant incident. The best way is to develop a de-stress playlist that gives off only positive vibes. It should be a dynamic list where you add and remove songs based on what excites you at any given time.
For millennia, mankind has recognized the connection between regular laughter and a healthy life. Laughing has a therapeutic effect. In fact, it is so effective that even forced laughter does have positive outcomes. There are now laughter yoga and laughter therapy classes where attendees are taken through uplifting sessions.
Not everyone will have the time or money to enroll for such classes but there are affordable workarounds like scheduling time with friends and family, attending a stand up comedy event or watching a hilarious movie. You could even make the most of social media by following accounts that regularly share memes and funny content.
4. Spoil Yourself
There’s no success without hard work so it’s understandable that we all want to spend as much of our time, energy and resources on productive profitable endeavors. Nevertheless, no one can really achieve optimal productivity if their hard work is not peppered with a bit of playtime. One of the most effective ways to reduce your stress levels is to regularly reward yourself.
When you hit a business, work or personal target, motivate yourself to do more by pampering yourself. Head to a beauty salon or health spa for a massage or beauty treatment. If you are on a tight budget, you can do it at home by lying down with a face mask or immersing yourself in a warm bath. If smoking is your thing, you could visit Head Shop Headquarters to see what options most appeal to you.
5. Hug Someone
Hugging is a mood booster and can substantially lower stress. Close physical contact raises the body’s oxytocin (the ‘love’ hormone) levels and rids it of cortisol (the stress hormone). This leads to a calmer mind. Hugs don’t have to involve humans. Playing with pets has been shown to be just as useful for helping one wind down and worry less.
In a world where there’s constant pressure to perform and be better than everyone else, finding the time to slow down and relax can be hard. Still, you are unlikely to be successful in realizing your life goals if you do not set aside time for relaxation.