Stress is something which affects almost everyone, and in many cases, the level of stress that an individual endures becomes a chronic problem. At this level, it becomes something that impacts on every aspect of their life and almost certainly that impact will be a negative one. Even those who may not suffer from chronic stress but have enough of it for it to cause concern, the desire to reduce stress is likely to be high.
There are many ways which one can reduce stress, but unfortunately not all of them are healthy. Comfort eating, increased smoking, higher consumption of alcohol and taking illegal drugs are just some of the ways in which people try to cope with stress.
While they may get some short term satisfaction from them, they will have no long term relief from stress. Worse still, all of them will have a detrimental impact on their physical, and in most cases, their mental health, too, which is hardly going to be conducive to relieving stress.
As for healthy ways to relieve stress, the good news is they are plentiful. Most of them are free or low cost to get started, many can be done at home, some can produce other benefits in addition to relieving stress, and they should be able to be done conjunction with any advice or treatment which a medical practitioner has prescribed.
Healthy Activities To Reduce Stress
This most basic form of exercise has been known to reduce stress levels within minutes. As you start your walk your mind shifts from the stressors, to your surroundings, especially if you walk somewhere you have never been to before. Even short walks during your lunch break can be beneficial.
Another great thing about walks is that you are out in the fresh air, and even more so, if you go walking in the countryside or through a forest.
Bear in mind that as you walk your heart is pumping a little bit faster, and therefore good circulation is being promoted. In addition, the mere fact that you are moving your legs is burning some calories, which can help weight loss, and as such that can help to promote lower stress levels too.
There’s a well-used phrase that states ‘laughter is the best medicine’ and when it comes to reducing stress it can be. If you are laughing it means you have just heard or seen something funny, and if so, your mind is not focusing on stressful matters.
The number of sources for laughter is almost infinite with movie comedies, TV comedies, and even those funny cartoons you enjoyed as kid, widely available to buy to watch online, or offline on a DVD. Better still why not go to the cinema to watch a funny movie or best of all, go and see a comedy act live at your local theater?
Laughing creates several positive physiological responses within your body. It lowers levels of cortisol which is the primary stress-inducing hormone in our body. Laughing also boosts endorphins in our brain which can help improve the mood you are in, and the better your mood is, the less chance you have of being stressed.
Listen to Music
Everyone has their favorite singers, musicians, groups, and bands. They are also likely to have one or more music genres that they like. Beyond that, there is bound to be a list of individual songs running into the hundreds, if not the thousands, that they like to listen to. The point we are making is that there is no limit on the amount of music that you or any other individual can find to enjoy.
As you listen to and enjoy music it is almost certain that your stress levels will recede, not least because it has been proven to lower blood pressure and heart rate. so, not only are the benefits of listening to music psychological, but they are also physical too.
Adding further to your stress relief is the fact that while listening to music you can jump or dance around the room, sing, shout or scream the words at the top of your voice, or even play air guitar if that is your thing. The point is, doing any or all of these lets you release tension and brings a smile to your face. Once again, cue those endorphins to boost your mood and reduce your stress even further.
Play With Your Pet (or get one if you don’t have one)
Anyone one who has, or has had, a pet in their home will know just how much joy, love, affection, and fun they can bring to a household. Now obviously there are some pets which are more suited to those than others. Dogs and cats will obviously fall into that category although we are sure there are many rabbit, tortoise, reptile, fish, bird or rodent owners who will also claim their pet is every bit as enjoyable.
The point is, regardless of what pet you have, interacting with them in any way, gives you a focus on something you care about and while you are doing that, you are not stressing. Pets also provide companionship which is often the key to someone moving from a stressful state to one of calmness.
It has also been discovered that playing with and caring for a pet can help release a chemical called oxytocin into the brain. This is another chemical that can promote a positive mood, which is helpful in reducing levels of stress.
Our final healthy activity is one which many would argue stands head and shoulders above any other in helping to reduce stress. Practicing yoga can promote many positive changes to our physical and psychological well-being. These include weight loss, improved mobility, reduced muscle tension, reduced heart rate and lower blood pressure on the physical side.
With regards to our mental health studies show that yoga can help improve our nervous system, combat depression, lower anxiety levels and reduce stress. All of these benefits accrue through participating in a yoga session with many of the poses allowing us to fully relax, control our breathing, focus deliberately and quieten our minds.
Yoga does take some practice to get better at it and to avail yourself of all of its benefits. However, even in the early stages of learning, it still impacts your well-being positively, and that includes reducing stress.
One of the most effective ways to get started with yoga is to follow a home yoga program. It has the benefits of being relatively inexpensive, lets you practice at your pace, and in the comfort of your own home. One of the most popular yoga programs is ‘Yoga Burn Challenge’ which was created by an internationally certified yoga instructor named Zoe Bray-Cotton.