Stress can act as an extra limb in your body, affecting your mental health and those around you. You have to remember that stress is not a part of you. It occurs when you do not know how to handle your compulsive mind and its emotions. While stress is a natural outcome of the unconscious mind, from being a stressful student to no employment, getting a stressful job, not getting married, or even having children can all fall into the trap of having stress.
Therefore, you see, stress is not because of your job or life, it is your inability to manage stress. Also, stress can affect your immune function creating symptoms of body pain, headaches, and loss of appetite or desire. It lowers your overall well-being and your ability to function and think effectively.
A study by the National mental health crises pointed out that more than 3 in 4 adults that is around 77% of adults claim to have stress in their daily life. The number is expected to increase with early teens falling into various stress, due to pressure from society and family.
They say humans have over 60,000 thoughts a day but we do get to control what thoughts we give our attention to, so it is important to apply techniques that help you take control of your mind so it does not let your brain go off predicting the worst-case scenarios all day long.
Once you do find your mind going off and painting these worst-case scenarios, just know that that is a normal reaction. As soon as you notice yourself doing it just use it as an opportunity to gently redirect yourself to the present moment and choose something that is going to calm your stress down.
The first step includes limiting the time you spend on social media or listening to the news. The last thing you want to be doing is sitting in front of the television all day long consuming all of the information that makes you feel afraid and worried. It puts all of our energy into this fear-based state. Fear creates thoughts and energies in your mind that lead you into a state of stress and anxiety. This is one of the primary reasons, which influence stress in your life.
Track the time you spend on your phone by downloading apps such as STAyFree and YourHour which count every second you spend on your phone. It gives out a result of the average hours you spend each day, creating a chart display. Your job is to ensure that you minimize the time spent each day and track your weekly progress. This will allow your mind to think of other important tasks that need to be done instead of fusing yourself with the pressure of the world. Taking periodic breaks from the news and social media can help calm your nerves and help refresh your spirits.
So what are the best scientific methods to deal with stress and anxiety? How can you genuinely relax your mind and body? Here are 9 ways to manage stress easily.
1- Watch a funny movie
It says laughter is the best medicine. Turns out, it is also a stress medicine. When we laugh, oxygen intake increases, stimulating the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the chemicals in the brain that keep you happy and relax.
Studies even show that simply waiting to see a funny movie can increase beta-endorphin levels by 27% and decrease stress hormone levels in the bloodstream. After a hilarious film, participants had lower levels of the stress hormone, called “chromogranin A” in their saliva. So next time, make a list of all the comedy movies you Bing to watch next.
2- Focus on the tiny task
Task such as writing down why you are stressed, organizing your room, cleaning up, or even chewing a piece of gum can lower your stress! A Japanese study found that those who chewed twice a day for two weeks increased their feelings of well-being. The participants who chew gum while being subjected to a stress-inducing task show lower levels of cortisol in their saliva than those who did not have gum. Simply from a tiny act of the repetitive chewing motion is directly related to increased activity in the cerebral area of the brain. This activity avoids the stress signals while keeping your mind distracted.
3- Visit Nature
Relaxation time spent in Nature or even a simple houseplant can lower stress levels. In 1982, the Japanese government started a Shinrin Yoku or “forced baiting” campaign that promotes the benefits of spending time in the forest for this purpose. In just one short visit to the forest, results have shown that cortisol levels of heart rate and blood pressure have decreased. In the same way, hospital patients who have a view of nature tend to have better pain tolerance and faster recovery rates compared to those who are faced only with a blank wall.
4- Cozy items
Did you know that simply smelling your favourite tea or coffee could help your brain relax?
It turns out that the anticipation of a habit linked with your previous relaxing emotions can trigger a moment of relaxation. Hence, if you are mentally preparing yourself to relax with your favourite tea or relaxing scented oils, your brain is primed to slow down and enjoy the calming moment. Inhaling a candle scent reminiscent of a happy childhood time like warm apple pie may very well help us relive those childhood memories creating a better mood.
Music can have a similar effect in slowing down stress signals. Songs with 60 to 80 beats per minute but no lyrics have been shown to reduce stress even in patients who have undergone various types of surgeries. Keep a playlist with the title “Stress Reliever”, when you know you’re under stress, play out your favourite songs under this title. Making them ready beforehand is the key to avoid any sudden stress.
Another important thing that you can do to bring down your stress response is to take breathing-breaks. When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it can be helpful to use your breath to take you out of that fight-or-flight response into the relaxation response. It is an old technique use in Chinese philosophy and that is being recommended by various gurus and doctors worldwide.
There are many different types of breathing exercises you could try, the most common one is called the 4-7-8 Breath, which was coined by Dr Andrew Weil. The steps are simple, just breathe in for about four seconds, then hold for seven seconds and breathe out for eight seconds. Repeat the same steps 3-4 times.
Do it now and you can feel how your muscle feels less tense and relax. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to help calm you down in any stressful circumstance.
7-Self-care & meditation to lower stress
Incorporate some self-care into your daily life, after all, your body has is your responsibility. This could include things that bring you joy and make you laugh. Deep hearty laughter actually provides more oxygen than deep breathing. Meditation is also a great form of self-care and can bring you into that relaxation response.
You could try guided meditation through YouTube or an app, mindfulness meditation, or even yoga. Other self-care ideas include reading a good book, listening to music that lifts your spirits; even playing with your pet can elicit that relaxation response.
Self-care not only lowers stress but also increases your overall look into life, you become more relax and observant. You feel younger and find more meaning in life; this is because meditation helps to connect with your inner soul.
8- Physical activities
Finding some way to get physical activity can be a huge stress-reliever and it can help increase your immunity. You need to find something that you enjoy, or at least don’t hate.
Simple exercises such as hula-hooping can make you feel alive and active. So when you first start hula-hooping, you want to get a hula-hoop that comes up to about your belly button, from the floor up, an adult-sized hula-hoop. You can start to move with the hoop and turn in circles, just act like the hula-hoop is your dance partner. Eventually, after you start learning tricks; you can start doing off-body moves, which helps to incorporate some strength building with your arms.
9- Stress reliever Food
Limiting your sugar intake while including more greens in your diet can internally help reduce stress. Add some lemon, ginger, honey, and turmeric into your tea or a glass of hot water. Avoid junks or fatty foods; it can keep you happy for a short time, but the negative effects stay for a long time in the body.
Consuming Vitamin D or Vitamin C not only improves health but your overall well-being. So next time you head to the grocery store, fill your cart with greens.
A famous disease specialist quotes by saying, “people should remember that they are as healthy as they feel and should not go around feeling as unhealthy as they fear”. By first recognizing that stress and finding ways to reduce it, is the first step to avoid it.
Note: Those who suffer from serious stress disorders in the long-term need to visit a therapist or take in some form of medication, if the above tips do not show any sign of improvement.
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