Stress is often referred to as a silent killer. It’s known as one of the main reasons for between 75 to 90% of all hospital visits. Doctors will tell patients to work on managing their stress levels. Unfortunately, to most people, this sounds as impossible as knowing how to touch your liver with your esophagus. While stress management isn’t widely taught, it’s actually pretty accessible and effective when used consistently. If you’re looking to cultivate a set of effective and easy stress management skills, consider the following.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Those endorphins help to boost your mood. They’re also extremely effective in helping a person get rid of any pent-up stress. One of the reasons why so many people love to exercise after a long day at work is because it helps them complete the stress cycle. The last thing you want to do is go to bed with thoughts of all of your work tasks in your mind. Exercise helps to take your mind off of your troubles, release negative emotions and manage your stress well. The key is to find workouts you actually enjoy. If you don’t like to run, the idea of getting on the treadmill might cause even more stress. Instead, find physical activities that are fun for you to do. Whether you love cardio dance classes, golf or swimming a few laps at the local pool, find physical activities you’re more likely to stick with. Even an activity as simple as going for a long walk can be really effective in managing your stress. If you’re at work and need to release some stress, do a few push-ups, jumping jacks and stretches in your office space. Any physical activity can do the trick. It doesn’t even need to happen for an extended period of time. Just get physical.
2. Creative Hobbies
It’s important to cultivate hobbies that are not connected to a stream of income. When you associate hobbies with income, this can easily feel like work. Develop a hobby that you do just for the joy and fulfillment of your soul. In fact, try your best to refrain from sharing this hobby with other people if it will lead to scrutiny, critique or stress. The point is to use this hobby in order to get rid of your stress. Whether you go bike riding after a long day, read a good book in the corner of your couch or paint as you listen to classical music, find a hobby that you can get lost in after a stressful moment. That hobby can quickly turn into a safe space that you look forward to in order to cope with challenging times. If you eventually get sick of a particular hobby, it is also okay to cultivate a new one that is more interesting and impactful in your journey towards stress management.
There are quite a few religions that honor the Sabbath on a weekly basis. They look at it as a time to get away from their work and reconnect with their family and friends. Even if you don’t celebrate the Sabbath on a weekly basis, you can still take a sabbatical from your everyday life by taking a vacation. For some people, a vacation involves two weeks on a tropical island. While this is really nice, it’s not the most practical for people to execute on a monthly basis. This is especially true if you have a full-time job that requires 40 hours of work every week. However, use your weekend time in order to get away from it all. You can either go by yourself, with friends or with your family members. Spend the weekend in a really nice hotel that’s two hours away from home. It’s okay to take a train or do a road trip with friends. A change of scenery can always help you unwind, unplug and relax. Try your best to take a sabbatical on a monthly or quarterly basis.
4. Healthy Diet/Supplements
Stress can directly impact the immune system’s ability to fight off sicknesses. Knowing this, it is very important to boost your immune system with the right foods and nutrients. It’s also essential for you to consume a healthy diet that can help you support the body’s need to manage stressful situations. When a person is sick, it’s often encouraged that they decrease their stress levels as this can play a role in whether they experience healing.
Weight gain and inflammation in the body are often connected with stress. By eating foods that decrease inflammation, you’ll be able to work on supporting your body and its fight against stress. Anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy green vegetables, salmon and almonds are excellent to include in your diet. It’s also wise to consider supplements. There are plenty of stress-reducing supplements on the market. Look for supplements that contain ingredients such as ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea as they’re known to help with stress reduction. Other powerful ingredients include melatonin, glycine and the B complex vitamins.
Even though it can be really nice to have a best friend or a spouse who serves as a sounding board for you, you don’t want to take that for granted. While your family and friends care about you, they’re not going to always want to hear about all of your problems on a daily basis. You have to have a professional sounding board in order to process your emotions, get to the root of issues and work through mental blocks. When you have a professional therapist who’s helping you process life, this can lead to a lower stress level. When you’re less stressed because you know how to process your emotions, this will impact the way you respond to different experiences and triggers that show up in your life. This doesn’t mean that you become a vault and don’t share anything with family and friends. However, it’s important to recognize the power and importance of professional therapy for reducing your stress level and improving your overall quality of life.
6. Massages/Spa Visits
For many women, visiting the local nail salon is synonymous with visiting a sanctuary. It gives them a place to relax, unwind and center themselves. While a salon is also a place of beautification, it’s a simple way for people to feel like they matter. When somebody is taking the time to provide a service for you, there’s something luxurious about that experience. It provides a high level of care to your physical body. Whether you’re getting a pedicure, a massage or a body treatment, schedule appointments to visit a local spa or salon. A lot of people hold tension in their bodies. If that tension isn’t released on a consistent basis, it’s going to manifest into aches and pains. In order to alleviate the stress and tension in your body, schedule deep tissue massages, hot stone massage or any other types of therapeutic treatments. When you’re holding stress in your body, this can eventually lead to tons of discomfort. By visiting a salon or spa on a regular basis, you can stay on top of your physical wellness as it relates to tension in the body.
It is so simple to do. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize how much breath they’re actually holding in. When you’re stressed out, it’s easy to hold your breath and get caught up in the moment of what you’re doing. Especially when you feel yourself getting tense or rushed, take a couple of minutes to take a few deep breaths. Take a deep breath in as you inhale for five seconds. Pause, and then exhale for ten more seconds. Practice this breathing ritual for a couple of minutes. At the end of your deep breathing session, you’ll be able to gather yourself, calm your body down and support your need to de-stress. If you’re unfamiliar with the power of deep breathing practices, look online for a few tutorials and rituals you can learn and practice at your leisure. Even if you’re on a work break, center yourself with a few deep breaths. It’s an excellent way to reconnect with yourself and get a pulse on how you’re feeling.
Most of these stress management skills are ones that you can cultivate and begin using right away. Truthfully, so many people interact with stressful situations on a daily basis. Whether you’re dealing with a child who is having a temper tantrum or you’re staring at a stressful work deadline, stressors are everywhere. The key is to complete the stress cycle. When you meet a stressful situation, deal with it. Once you’ve dealt with it, use one of these skills in order to help you recover. Recovering is the part of the stress cycle that so many people forget to do. By being intentional with these skills, you’ll recover and be well on your way to living a life where the stress doesn’t manage you. Instead, you manage it.