- Mental Health
Small Pleasures for Stress Relief
Stress is in our lives every day. I know personally that not a day goes by when I am not stressed out about something be it work, home maintenance, finances, kids, or relationships. It is a stressful world. This stress can affect our health. A 2009 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that stress has these physical side effects:
- 47% report lying awake at night
- 45% report irritability or anger
- 43% report fatigue
- 40% report lack of interest, motivation or energy
- 34% report headaches
- 34% report feeling sad or depressed
- 32% report feeling as though they could cry
- 27% report upset stomach or indigestion
Obviously, all this stress is not good for our health. So, what is to be done about this? We can't quit our jobs and crawl into a hole to make the stress go away. But, there are some things you can do for yourself to keep stress at bay and keep yourself healthy.
Take a Bath
My favorite way to alleviate stress is by taking a hot bath at the end of the long day. I will also use candles and soft music if it has been a particularly hard day.
Take A Yoga Class
Incorporate yoga into your daily or weekly routine. An hour long yoga class can go a long way to overcoming stress.
Yoga for the Office
Intimacy (you know the kind I'm talking about) burns calories, relieves stress, increases your bond, improves self esteem and is, of course, enjoyable. Also, research has shown that people who engage in intimacy 1 to 2 times per week receive a boost to their immune system.
Change your Posture
Changing your posture can have an affect on your hormones. Studies have shown that if you change your posture for two minutes, your hormones can change. If you spread your feet and put your hands on your hips (think Wonder Woman) this can increase your production of testosterone and decrease your cortisol levels. This change in hormones can occur with any posture that spreads yourself out and opens yourself up.Your body is releasing cortisol when your stressed so changing your posture can help change your hormones.
Take a Walk
Take a walk in a calming setting like a park or a quiet neighborhood. All you need is a minimum of 10 or 15 minutes and this can be like a little mini vacation.
Forward Fold Yoga Posture
The posture to the right where you hang the top pf your body down from your hips is very relaxing. All of the tension seems to flow right out of your finger tips. It helps alleviate the stress that builds up in your back and neck. I do a variation on this when I am am stressed. I actually bend over hanging my head and arms down but I hold my hands on the opposite elbow crook. I breath in and out slowly and with each breath out I let my body sink into the pose deeper. The longer you do this the more tension goes away. You don't need to be in a yoga class to do this, just go somewhere private and do this for a minute and you will feel better.
Breathe deeply for a couple of minutes and tell yourself that the tension is flowing out of your body.
If you can laugh at the situation it will help you overcome it. If not, listen or watch a comedian. Laughter is the best medicine.
Take Small Breaks
Take small breaks when you are working on something stressful. Remind yourself that this will pass.
Shrug your Shoulders
Shrug your Shoulders, hold them in that position and then release them. This can release stress.
Take a Relaxing Vacation
If you can afford it, take a relaxing vacation to get away from it all. It can be a couple days or a couple weeks but make sure it is the relaxing kind of vacation and not the running around trying to see a different destination every day kind of vacation.
Listen to some of your favorite upbeat music. If you can, sing along and dance.
Don't let one thing push you over the edge. Try these simple techniques to alleviate some stress in your daily life.