Stress is very much a part of our 21st century lives. If left unchecked, it can affect not only your quality of life, but your physical and mental health so it’s important to be able to manage it.
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8 Simple Stress Relief Techniques for Modern Life
1. Make time for fun and relaxation
In our 24/7 world, you need to take a break from your responsibilities and recharge your batteries. Set aside time in your daily schedule to rest and relax. Immerse yourself in a hobby, read a book, watch your favorite film, listen to music, or take a stroll in the park or woods.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Well-nourished bodies are better able to cope with stress. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy in your diet.
Cut down on caffeine and sugar as the temporary “highs” they provide are often followed by ‘lows’ in mood and energy. Don’t use caffeine or alcohol to give yourself a lift as they just create new problems.
Being physically active every day is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals, endorphins, that boost your mood and make you feel good. Begin by making simple changes in your daily routine, for example, use the stairs instead of the elevator, or take a walk around the block.
Find a physical activity that you will enjoy doing – walking, running, cycling, dancing, yoga, gardening – and try to do it for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. If you enjoy doing the activity, it won’t feel like a chore.
When you’re stressed you tend to focus on the negatives in your life and are less likely to smile. You automatically smile when you’re relaxed and happy, and making the effort to smile can make you feel better.
Smiling transmits nerve impulses from your facial muscles to your brain and increases your sense of well-being. Try to focus on the positive things in your life which will help restore your sense of balance. Go on – smile!
5. Spend Time with Family and Friends
Socializing with family and friends – face to face, or on the phone – is one of your best tools for handling stress. Engaging with them will help you forget your troubles. Sharing your concerns and feelings with others will help ease your problems.
Learn to meditate as a few minutes practice every day can help ease anxiety. When you’re stressed your breathing is shallow which causes your heart to beat faster and your muscles to tense up. The deep breathing exercises included in meditation practice counter the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
This helps you relax almost instantly. There are many books, DVDs, online sources and classes to help you learn simple stress relief techniques
7. Learn to say no
If your stress comes from taking on too much at home or work, learn to set limits. Ask others for help when you need it.
8. Get enough sleep
Try to get about 8 hours sleep every night. This can help you think more clearly and increase your energy levels making you more able to deal with any problems.
If following these simple stress relief techniques does not make you feel any better, you should talk with your doctor, a therapist or counselor.