- Mental Health
Stress Relief Tips and Techniques
Stress is an everyday fact of life for many of us. Waiting in long lines, being stuck in traffic or trying to resolve a problem with a utility or other company can be irritating. Frustration is a normal reaction to difficult situations which are often beyond our control. Whether before, during or after a stressful situation, there are simple techniques that can greatly reduce your rate of stress, tension and anxiety.
Counting to ten
This simple, yet effective technique allows you to take temporarily redirect your focus and relieve stress. It’s difficult to concentrate on two things at once. Counting to ten, mentally writing a to-do list or even a list of your favorite songs or movies will distract you until the irritating episode passes. If you’re stuck in a long line or even in traffic you can write a real list if you like.
Exercise your stress away
Go for a run, jog or bicycle ride. Cardiovascular and aerobic activities get the heart pumping and the endorphins flowing. It takes your mind off stressful events and helps you unwind. Take the stairs, or park a few blocks from your destination to incorporate walking in to your daily routine.
Massage as stress relief
The physical act of being touched has a calming effect on the body, mind and spirit. Stress causes tense muscles which in turn can cause headaches and other ailments. Even a ten minute massage has positive benefits. There are many places to get a nice, relaxing massage. Day spas, massage therapy schools and even local malls offer Swedish and other types of massage.
Playing games to reduce stress
Be a kid again. Engaging in solitary games like crossword, word search and Sudoku puzzles takes concentration, thus redirecting your thoughts away from a stressful situation. Games that encourage social interaction, like board games, also distract you from your stress. Other games, like tennis, soccer and racquetball allow social interaction and have the added benefit of incorporating aerobic exercise.
Do the hokey pokey and turn your stress around
Did you ever wonder why stores usually have music playing in the background? Music motivates you and puts in a good mood. Cranking up the music and dancing to it is even better for relieving stress. Dancing is aerobic and gets your heart rate up. As mentioned before, this releases endorphins.
Watch a funny TV show or movie, listen to your favorite comedian on tape or CD or watch some whacky videos online. You could also try a laughter yoga class.
Start a hobby
Painting, crocheting, gardening and just about any hobby can be terrific stress relievers. Participating in an enjoyable activity shifts your focus and allows your mind to relax. If you want to learn a new hobby enroll in a class at your local adult education center.
Pet your dog or cat
Spending time with our furry friends has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Don’t have a pet? Visit your local animal shelter. You could also offer to pet sit or dog walk for a friend or family member.