- Mental Health»
- Stress Management
Stress Relief Tips: How to Relieve Stress
Stress is one of those reactions everyone experiences, even as early as birth. Imagine the frustration of newborns who have just been expelled from a cozy womb to burst forth into a cold, shiny world full of these big creatures who won’t stop kissing and hugging them. Talk about pressure! In those weeks following, babies learn that wailing at a high-pitched volume will bring immediate relief to all the woes that ail them: hunger, poopy diapers, scratchy (obnoxious) clothing, and lack of affection. Sobbing loudly can still work in adulthood. Unfortunately, the attention garnered is probably at a bar from a fellow patron looking to take advantage of a sad, drunk, vulnerable lover. That’s probably not how you want to cope with the stress of being fired. So, what are some good ways to relieve stress? Well first, let’s talk about what stress is.
How Do You Relieve Stress?
What is Stress?
Stress is your body’s way of dealing with challenging events in your life. Under normal circumstances, your body is in a relaxed mode. (Chances are you don’t know what a relaxed mode is if you’re reading this article. Just use your imagination.) When something unexpected happens, the body releases hormones to help you handle the stressful situation. This is commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” response. It all goes back to our early ancestors and their ability to survive the unexpected sabre tooth tiger attack or iceberg attack or mammoth attack or enemy village attack or... you get the picture. Your body is supposed to go back to normal once the danger is gone. When it becomes difficult to reset back to the usual unstressed state, you should probably start using stress management techniques.
Here are some few tips on how to relieve stress:
Exercise relieves stress. It makes you happy. Seriously! The act of physical exertion on the body releases hormones called endorphins. Think of them as your own personal drug that is designed by nature to combat stress. Exercise is an easy way to trigger these hormones. You don’t have to be a distance runner or heavy weight-lifter to receive the benefits of endorphins. Anything from ballroom dancing to yoga can release this helpful hormone. If you haven’t been regularly exercising, it is a good idea to check with your medical provider first to prevent injuries. You probably don’t want, “Death by Zumba” on your cemetery headstone.
Achieve Your Ideal Body
If you're motivated to get in shape, Insanity DVD Workout is great way to start.
Stress Relief from Laughter
There’s a saying that laughter is the best medicine. Many individuals in the medical community agree. Research on the subject is still inconclusive. But, studies have shown that laughter has a positive effect on the body. Regardless of how laughter works, most people feel really good after a good belly-shaking chuckle. Who knew that watching back to back episodes of Seinfeld was a stress therapy?
Eat to Beat Stress
Stressful situations often trigger the urge to eat unhealthy foods like greasy burgers or tubs of ice cream. This can also decrease appetite, causing fatigue and rapid weight loss. While it might be exciting to fit in those old jeans from high school again, the effects of eating a poor diet can often be long-term. Unhealthy eating behaviors decrease the essential nutrients needed to maintain enough energy to combat stress. You’ll feel more tired, or get sick much easier. It’s okay to gorge yourself on pizza after a terrible fight with a significant other. And, it’s fine if you just want to have a pop tart and a glass of milk for dinner while you try to power through a big presentation due the next day. But, don’t let it become a habit. Eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and high calcium foods like milk or broccoli. You’ll have more energy, and a greater ability to deal with stress.
Foods that Relieve StressClick thumbnail to view full-size
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is another great way to relieve stress. You need sleep just as much as you need food and oxygen to live. Lack of sleep decreases your ability to react to stress. It can also make you less pleasant to be around. If you find yourself beating up the copier machine at work, it is probably a good idea to get more sleep. But, that might be difficult if stress is keeping you up at night. To become more relaxed at bedtime, try to turn your bedroom into a sacred sanctuary. Turn off electronic devices. Dim the lights. Take in deep breaths for a few minutes. That’s right, find that inner chi. Think positive thoughts. Being in a relaxed state will definitely help you fall asleep much easier. If that doesn’t work, contact your medical provider. But for Pete’s sake, leave that poor copier machine alone.
Get a Hobby
You laughed when you found out your co-worker collected comic books. But, it’s a good chance that this fellow employee is a happy, well-adjusted person because he has a hobby. Taking the time to engage in pleasant activities will boost your mood and self-esteem. It can also help you become more social by introducing you to like-minded individuals who share your passion. Plus, a hobby gives you something to look forward to doing once you’re out of your stressful environment. Hobbies can range from the quintessential stamp collecting to race car driving. Remember, there isn’t supposed to be pressure from a hobby because you’re doing it simply because you love it. So, maybe you shouldn’t do race car driving. Definitely stick to stamps.
Other Benefits of Meditation
- can give you a sense of peace and balance
- cure headaches & migraines
- increases focus
- relaxes the nervous system
- enhances the immune system
- helps cure insomnia
- helps with weight loss
For Stress Relief, Meditate!
Meditation is a great tool to help manage and relieve stress. It can allow you to reflect on your stressors, and develop better ways to cope. If you’re religious, meditation could bring comfort from your spiritual connection to a supernatural force. Meditation can also help you focus on the good things that are happening in your life. So even though you didn’t get that promotion at work, your family thinks you’re pretty awesome, and not the complete loser that you feel like. You don’t need an Indian guru and sacred temple to effectively meditate. All it takes is a calm, quiet environment with little to no distractions. And no, calling yourself Luke Skywalker, and trying to use the Force to lift objects isn’t really considered meditation. Nice try, though.
Meditation on DVD
Need to relax? This is an excellent Meditation video to reduce stress and helpful for people with stressful jobs.
Put the mobile phone down. Step away from the laptop computer. Drop that tablet right where you are. You need a break from the devices that socially connect you to others before it drives you insane. Social media is a great way to interact with family, friends, and co-workers. But, it can also add to your current stress level by making you feel even crappier. Everyone seems like they have the perfect life on social media platforms. Don’t get caught up in social facade. Because eventually you’ll see the truth beyond what’s posted. And if you examine your life, you will find that you wouldn’t trade it for any other. No one, I mean no one, is perfect.
Fun Fact About Kissing
"A good morning kiss can help to prevent stress-related illnesses. It triggers hormones that can help a person deal with pressure."
The Power of Love
Love is a powerful emotion. It has broken up marriages, caused riffs in families, and even provoked wars. When it isn’t misguided, love can help relieve stress, especially when it is expressed in a physical way. Ever notice how a hug or a kiss can instantly lift your mood? Suddenly, that 2 hour traffic jam culminated by the jerk that cut you off as you tried to exit the off ramp doesn’t seem so bad after getting a nice hug from little Suzy. And of course, the act of making love can do wonders for stress. If you’re lacking object of affections in your life, buy one. No, don’t get a prostitute. Pets can make great loving companions. Plants can also provide a source of adoration. If you find that you can’t keep living things alive, there should be some inanimate object out there you can imagine showering you with love. The only people who have to know about your troll kids collection is you and the Force.