In our quest for optimal health, keeping our stress in check is a vital key for achieving the goal. Although stress is a normal part of day-to-day life and the human body can effectively handle it in small doses, it becomes problematic when you are consistently pushed to the limit. Excess stress can have a negative effect on all aspects of your health, as well as your relationships, and mood. Make one or more of these quick and easy techniques a daily habit to reduce its impact on your life.
1. Close Your Eyes
Yep, it’s that simple. As soon as you close your eyes your brain begins to generate soothing and relaxing alpha brain waves. So, just sit back and close your eyes for a few minutes.
2. Step Outside
Just a few minutes with the elements can have a profound stress-relieving effect. Feel the wind or sun against your skin. Listen to the leaves rustling, birds singing, or crickets chirping. Take in the view of the sun, clouds, flowers, and trees.
3. Make a List
Make a list of the things you have to do on paper or an electronic note. Getting them out of your head and onto paper releases their grip on your mind.
4. Sit in Silence
Slip into the quietest space you can find, close your eyes, and just sit in complete silence. Focus on the qualities of silence and what it feels like.
5. Sprint it Out
Exercise has proven to be an excellent way to relieve stress. It increases the production of endorphins, which are the hormones that relieve pain and give you a feeling of well-being and literally turns off the stress response system.
When stress becomes overwhelming, an all-out, 30-second sprint can divert your attention and work out mounting anxiety. Imagine that you’re running off your burden of negative energy, pushing it out of your body and leaving it behind.
6. Breathe Deep and Slow
Take a few moments to inhale slowly and deeply through the nose and from the abdomen, then listen to the air escape through your nostrils as you exhale in a slow and controlled manner. This helps you to concentrate and diverts your attention away from your stress.
Additionally, the simple act of breathing, in and out, in a slow and deep manner through the nose turns on the parasympathetic nervous system and turns off the stress response.
7. Use Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness-based meditation is another excellent stress reliever, as it too turns off the stress response system by increasing the levels of our stress coping neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and endorphins.
This is one of my most favorite stress management tools and you can learn all my personal techniques in my Meditating for Health Ebook, by visiting this link.
8. Gaze at Relaxing Images
Peaceful images are useful ways to encourage a positive mindset. Keep easily accessible, mood-lifting photos on your computer or phone. Whether you enjoy images of faraway places, playful kittens, or loved ones, photos can become welcome diversions.
You may also use guided imagery to bring yourself to a calmer state. Close your eyes and imagine a positive outcome to the problems you are facing. You may also imagine a peaceful scene–someplace you would rather be at the moment. This is a powerful tool that can help your mind to switch gears.
9. Write it Out
Journaling has proven to be a valuable stress-management tool. Just take out a piece of paper or open a new document on your computer and let the words flow. Don’t censor or edit yourself, just allow yourself to say whatever it is that you are thinking or feeling.
Pretend that you are writing a letter to someone, even if it is never sent or given to anyone. This can be a helpful method when you feel stuck on a problem or negative emotion. It can also help you process emotions.
Writing out your issues can also help boost your problem-solving skills. Put your thoughts down on paper to guide you through those stressful moments when you can’t seem to find a solution.
10. Plant a Smile on Your Face
Regardless of the activity you’re involved in, the simple act of smiling will help you relax and cope with it more effectively. It does not have to be a genuine smile, a fake smile will serve you just as well. Breathe deep while smiling and double the benefits.
Important Component of Self-Care
Managing your stress is an important component of self-care. Optimal health is impossible if you allow the stressors of life to consistently take over. Take some time out of each day to relax your body and mind, and enjoy the mental and physical benefits that effective stress relief methods can provide.
As you can see from the suggestions above, it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process, and really can be achieved in five minutes or less. Of course, the more often you use these techniques the more benefit you will experience.