These days it’s easy to feel stressed out and stress is an inevitable part of our daily life. And while some stress can be beneficial and even productive, other forms of stress can make you feel overwhelmed and helpless.
Stress is your body’s response, emotionally or physically, to the demands you put on it.
Stress is partly in our genes, but also due to the amount of stress we experience each day.
It’s easy to let a bad day spiral out of control. Problems can seem to pile up one after another, and before you know it, you’re in for a real downhill spiral.
But there are some practical stress management strategies you can do to help minimize your stress levels and keep yourself from going over the edge.
Different Types of Stress
We all experience stress in our lives, but did you know that there is such a thing as “positive stress”? This positive type of stress is actually necessary for life – it helps us to learn and be creative, and can even motivate us to reach our full potential. While negative types of stress can be damaging and harmful. Too much negative stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. It can also physically wear our bodies down, leading to illness and disease.
It’s important to understand the difference between “bad” and “good” stress so that we can manage our overall stress levels in a healthy way.
So, constant negative stress can decrease your health and quality of life. However, living in today’s modern world, these negative stress factors are unavoidable and it’s just a fact of life.
Negative stress can have a serious impact on your health, both mentally and physically.
But there are things you can do proactively to fight stress and minimize its effects.
Here are some practical stress management tips and stress relief strategies for managing stress on a daily basis.
Practice Meditation For Stress Relief
There is no more obvious way to relieve stress than by relaxing the entire body and bringing it into a state of deep calm and tranquility.
If stress is brought on by our debilitating thoughts of worry, doubt, and fear, then replacing them with more calming and peaceful thoughts has to be a good idea don’t you think?
The power of meditation is that it helps create positive and peaceful thoughts that will bring us internal peace. The focus of all meditation is deep breathing. Taking full, deep, cleansing breaths is a fantastic relaxation technique and is incredibly powerful in keeping your stress levels in check
Use Exercise to Lower Stress Levels.
Performing exercise, whether it’s a long run, cardio-gym session, a swim, a weights workout, or a nice brisk walk, does wonder for reducing stress.
Exercise is an extremely effective stress reliever. Below are some of the top reasons why exercise is good for fighting stress:
- Decreases Stress Hormones- Stress hormones like ‘cortisol’ can dramatically decrease when exercising, and increase endorphins or our body’s feel-good chemicals which will naturally lift our mood
- Increased Health and Well-Being- As I’ve already mentioned, stress can lead to illness and disease. But illness and poor health can also cause stress. With exercise promoting much greater health, fitness and well-being, the stress of worrying about staying healthy and well will be greatly reduced.
- It’s A Great Outlet For Frustrations- If you’ve had a frustrating or difficult day then you can release all these unhealthy emotions and pent-up frustrations by doing a good workout in the gym or martial arts class.
- Distracts Us From Our Problems- Doing exercise is a great way of removing ourselves from any problems we may be facing, and instead, you concentrate our mind and efforts on the task or activity at hand.
- Social Support and Interaction- In a general context support from friends and family is a great tool for stress relief. Because exercise and physical usually involve the participation of others, you can have fun working with a partner or friend as well as them helping motivate you to do a harder workout.
If things are getting on your nerves and you feel stressed or anxious, take a walk!
Try Stretching and Body Tension Exercises
Stretching is considered to be one of the best stress relievers. It helps you relax and relieve tension. When you are stressed, your muscles become tense and it becomes difficult for you to relax. Stretching can help you relieve stress because it loosens up your muscles and makes them more limber.
1. While sitting, bend your arms to the side, breathe out and rotate your torso to the right.
2. Breathe in as you go back to the middle and rotate to the left.
3. Repeat for about five breaths.
Curl and Stretch
1. Take a seat with your back straight, and position your feet flat against the ground.
2. Breathe out as you position your back into a crouch.
3. Breathe in as you stretch your back to face the ceiling.
4. Repeat for about five breaths.
End to End
1. While sitting on a chair, breathe in and stretch your arms upward.
2. Move your vertically aligned arms to the right as you breathe out.
3. Breathe in as you reposition again to the middle.
4. Breathe out as you stretch to the other side.
5. Keep repeating for about six times.
Use Proper Breathing Techniques for Fighting Stress
Breathing is an important life skill. It’s part of what you were meant to do — breathe air, take in oxygen and exhale CO2. The problem is that stress makes breathing difficult. In fact, it can be so difficult that it actually triggers stress responses in your body.
When you’re under stress, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid to try and cool down. This leads to increased tension in your chest, neck and shoulders as well as other parts of your body. This creates a vicious cycle: the more stressed you become, the more stressed you become — and the less able you are to effectively relax or breathe normally again until after the stress passes.
Proper breathing helps relieve stress because it activates your parasympathetic nervous system (the relaxation branch of your autonomic nervous system).
This helps restore calmness and focus without increasing anxiety or negatively impacting your ability to think rationally or make good decisions again until after the stress passes.
Laughter Helps Reduce Stress.
Laughter is a powerful and effective tool to manage stress.
If you’re wondering if there are benefits of smiling and laughing on your health and stress levels, there certainly are.
Extensive research (Source: Mayo Clinic) has shown that laughter can reduce stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline. It has also been shown to increase more of the body’s ‘feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and help produce more anti-body-producing cells to strengthen the body’s immune system and counteract the negative physical effects brought on by stress.
Manage Your Stress and Pain Through Music
Relaxing music is another great way to minimize daily stress levels. Music has the ability to relax us and put us in a positive state of mind. Whether you’re stressed out or just need to unwind, listening to music can be a great way to help you get there. Listening to music has been proven to lower blood pressure, and heart rate, and even increase your levels of Endorphins – the body’s natural stress-reducing chemicals.
Whether your life is stressful or not, we all experience stress from time to time. The level of stress can have a major impact on our emotional and physical well-being, as well as our productivity.
The good news is that there are many simple ways you can reduce your stress levels. By practicing the strategies mentioned in this post, you’ll be able to lower your stress and live a more fulfilling life.
What is your favorite calming technique for fighting stress?