How to Reduce Stress and Calm Your Mind in this Busy World
In this busy world we live in people just keep getting more stressed out. Jobs, school, kids, pets, bills, the responsibilities that we have to take on everyday never seem to end. It is very important to take time to calm your body and mind or it can have ill effects on your health. Some of those effects are, but are not limited to;
- Heart problems.
- Infections take longer to heal and can happen with greater frequency.
- High blood pressure.
- Skin problems.
- Chronic pain.
If you are a stressed individual and have these symptoms, they can actually be relieved by calming yourself down. This article will discuss a few different ways to calm both your body and mind. I personally use a few of these on a daily basis to help me deal with stress in my life. I'm a pretty anxious person and I know that taking time to relax has calmed me down a lot. Some of these suggestions might be perfect for you, while others might not be to your liking. Just make sure that if you have a medical condition that you talk to your MD prior to changing eating or exercise habits. Let's get started!
What's your favourite way to relieve stress?
Take a Deep Breath
The simple act of taking a few deep breaths can relax your entire body very quickly. It may seem silly that our mothers told us to do this as children, but it really does work effectively. I have used breathing techniques effectively for years to calm my nerves when I feel a panic attack cause by stress coming on. It's really important to try to clear your mind of stressful thoughts and feelings while you are breathing, for maximum effect. If you have the options to lay down it would be best to do so. As you breath think about each part of your body from your toes all the way to the top of your head. Wait for each part to relax before moving onto the next. I find this works great at night when trying to fall asleep after a restless day. Below I have included a link to 6 different breathing exercises for you to try. Find our which one works best for you.
Relax in 10 minutes or Less With Breathing Exercises
Get Some Exercise
Many people spend their time in front of a computer or in an office all day. Even if you work a manual labour job, your body may be so used to the exertion that you are not getting the stress release of a real workout. I'm not telling you to go out and kill yourself working out at the gym after work. Adding something that takes too much time out of your day, that you don't enjoy, will just add stress to your life. Instead, find something that you enjoy doing and just haven't been taking the time to do. You could get back on your bike and ride your stress away, play a sport that you have been neglecting, take your dog of a walk, even take your kids to the park and just play with them. All of these activities will get your blood flowing, endorphins pumping and melt away the stress from a busy day. The bonus to getting your exercise this way is that you will be having fun while you are doing it, and you won't have to feel guilty taking time away from family and pets if you exercise with them.
Relaxation Yoga Example
Once you understand the importance of breathing and exercise, you may want to try so yoga. There are many types of yoga to choose from, I am going to talk about relaxation yoga. It is generally not as difficult as other yoga can be, the poses are simple and there is more focus on breathing and letting your stress melt away. Another great aspect of this type of yoga is that you can do it in bed, right before you fall asleep. No sweaty classrooms or work out clothing needed here. It's all about getting your body ready for a good night sleep. Try it out and you will notice a difference, especially if you generally have a hard time falling asleep.
Write it Down, Let it Go!
Taking 10 minutes out of your day to record all your goings on can help immensely with stress release. For starters you will no longer be keeping all your emotions bottled up inside. Bottling up emotions can lead to all kinds of problems. You can start to dwell on things and blow them out of proportion or you may not fully understand why you feel the way you do without writing it down and reading it back over. You can also look for patterns in your life that are causing you stress and try to eliminate them, or at least find a way to change how your preserve them. Another thing you will want to do while writing is add the things you are thankful for that day. For example: you might be totally stressed out, but someone might have brought you a coffee just when you needed it. Remembering the little things that make you happy can help make the stressful moments seems not so terrible.
With visualization the goal is to take your mind to a place of calm. To do this can seem hokey and it can be a bit tricky for those who have quite a bit on their minds, but it is very helpful. One of the ways to set yourself up for visualization is to be in a quiet place, especially at first. Headphones are helpful as they will help block out some of the surrounding noises. It is easiest to use a video or tape when you are a beginner so that you have someone to guide you thought your experience. Follow the steps laid out for you in the recording and it will help you relax. Usually it will start out with calming music and an image for video or a description for audio. The goal is to relax and take yourself to that place, filling your mind with the pleasant sights, sounds and smells that would surround your if you were actually there. This can take a few tries, the eventual goal is to be able to relax yourself by closing your eyes and taking yourself to that place, sans music and video. Don't give up on this right away, with practice it can be an extremely helpful tool. Below is a short example of a visualization recording. You can find many of these on www.youtube.com for free.
Example of a Short Visualization Video
Have a Pet
Having a pet can greatly reduce stress in people. Pets are now being taken into colleges to help people deal with stress during exam times. Being able to pet, feed, walk and cuddle with a furry companion can reduce blood pressure and give an overall feeling of happiness. Caring for something other than yourself can help with compassion. Also understanding the different emotions of a pet can help you get in tune with your own emotions and in turn control stressful thoughts and feeling more productively.
Give 'em a Try
There are many more options other than the ones that I have laid out in this article, but these are a few to get you started. Relaxing is important for your health, well being and your longevity. Make sure that you take time out of your schedule to relax and kick back. Breath for a few minutes, do some stretching or take a walk with your kids or pets. Don't say that there is no time, because the time you take now can add years to your life later.