Stress is a typical reactivity of the body which causes changes. The changes cause physical, intellectual, and emotional responses. Stress may be helpful sometimes, but most of the time, stress is harmful to us. Relieving stress is essential for our calmness and wellbeing. Although stress can get overwhelming, you can control the situation by following the right ways to relieve stress.
What is Stress?
Stress is a strong feeling of tension that can make you overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is a natural human reaction common in everyone, and it may be of acute (short term) or chronic (long term) type.
Acute stress is not so threatening and is also the most common type. We go through acute stress many times a day in the form of an immediate perceived threat. It creates either physical, emotional, or psychological problems. Traffic, criticism at work, an argument with our spouse, or any crisis at home can cause acute stress.
Chronic stress is a lasting and constant state of stress. Chronic stress affects our health if no treatment is taken. Everyday works at home and outside, or any kind of traumatic experience can be responsible for chronic stress. Long time exposure to stress may lead to mental health difficulties, e.g., anxiety, depression, or increase physical and psychological health problems.
Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. A rise in cortisol levels for a long time may cause more harm than good. So we should take immediate steps to control stress hormones to manage stress.
Changing one’s situation can best manage stress. It is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Some strategies may be helpful to relieve stress.
Strategies to relieve stress
In today’s time, avoiding stress completely is near impossible. Still, some daily strategies can help stress relief-
- Take some exercise when you feel stress.
- Take a moment to appreciate your accomplishments.
- Set daily, weekly, or monthly goals.
- Talk to a therapist or a doctor about your worries.
Best Ways to Relieve Stress
Sneak in a Workout – a Wonderful Way to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Exercise is a wonderful stress reliever that can work in minutes. Proper exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety. The brain releases chemicals during exercise to make you feel better. It reduces the body’s stress hormones and helps release endorphins, also known as natural pain killers, to improve mood.
Activities like walking or jogging that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups help relieve stress. So you can sneak in a workout and find something you enjoy, whether it is walking, cycling, softball, swimming, dancing, climbing, or rocking, and do it for at least 30 minutes on most days.
Exercise also improves sleep quality. If you get stressed, it affects your sleep. Again if you have less sleep, it causes your body to pump out more cortisol, and you get more stressed. It’s a vicious cycle. So try to sleep 7-9 hours daily without any trouble. Keep your phone out of bed and make your bedroom as dark and soundless as you like.
Listen to Music to Remove Stress
Music leaves a great effect on both emotions and the body. Faster music makes you feel more alert and concentrate better. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed by releasing the stress.
Music can act on the body in many health-promoting ways, and we call it music therapy. You can use music in your daily life while stressed or especially during activities of getting ready, cooking, cleaning, eating, before going to bed, during a commute, and achieve many stress relief benefits.
Make Yourself Laugh and Remove Stress and Anxiety
Another easy way to relieve stress is by laughing. It’s good for your health. Laughing relieves the stress response of your body. It also relieves tension by relaxing the muscles and uplifts your mood.
Laughter can also help improve your immune system. So you should try to get yourself among people who will make you laugh. Watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends can also help. It’s a great way to escape light, everyday stress.
Meditate to Relieve Stress
Meditation is an effective stress-reliever. It brings short-term stress relief but long-lasting stress management benefits. There are many different forms of meditation.
You may practice a mantra that you repeat in your mind while taking slow deep breaths. Or, you might take a few minutes to practice mindfulness by paying attention to what you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.
Take a Walk and Get Relief From Stress
Taking a walk makes you enjoy a change of scenery. It can get you into a different frame of mind and bring the benefits of exercise as well to relieve stress.
Walking promotes the release of endorphins that stimulate relaxation and improve your mood. It doesn’t need to be fast-paced to have stress-relieving benefits. Even a stroll can promote more relaxation than you think.
Practice Yoga to be Stress-Free
Yoga has become a popular method of relieving stress and is accepted by all age groups. As yoga styles differ, try to share a common goal to join your body and mind.
Yoga is widely used for stress reduction. It is helpful to lower stress hormone levels and relieve high blood pressure, along with promoting body and breath awareness.
Planning a Fun Outing With Friends
Social contact can be an effective way to relieve stress. Friends are a vital source of fun and amusement. Quality time with friends every once in a while can help reduce stress response by lowering stress hormones in the body.
You can have the benefits of friendship in different ways. Friends can make you healthier, happier, sharper, and live longer by reducing stress feelings and removing anxiety and all kinds of mental agony.
Plant Flowers to Remove Stress
Some flowers like lavender, rose, chamomile, jasmine, and evening primrose are famous for soothing scents, which act as a tonic to relieve stress and anxiety. Peppermint, areca palm, and aloe vera are the ones less known but just as effective. Flowers are a way to escape boredom or stress at work for many. These flowers are easy to grow in your garden or your nearest premises.
Light a Candle and Control Your Stress and Anxiety
Aromatherapy, as implied, is a great way to relieve stress by providing a soothing aroma. You can have the aroma of lavender, rose, vetiver, bergamot, Roman chamomile, neroli, frankincense, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, orange or orange blossom, geranium, etc. at home by lighting different scented candles. These calming scents are therapeutic to reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety.
Chewing Gum is Effective in Reducing Stress
Chewing gum provides a variety of health benefits. It helps you relax, promotes wellbeing, and reduces stress.
Chewing gum controls cortisol, helps to decrease anxiety and depression, increases alertness, and removes stress, resulting in increased focus. It can also cause weight loss and improve concentration and memory. Sugar-free chewing gum is preferable in this case.
Again, students can chew gum to reduce stress before the exam to achieve academic success.
Spend Time with Friends and Family to Relieve Stress
Social support from friends and family can help you get rid of stress. Spending time with family and friends is a getaway from stress. Confiding with a friend may also help you solve your problems.
If you have a circle of close friends, you have a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in bad times.
Spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. We call this effect “tend and befriend.” It is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.
Keep in mind that a real friendship can keep anyone stress-free.
Learn to Say No, Get Relaxed and Stress-Free
You can not have all stressors within your control, but you can. You can take control over the parts of your life that are causing you stress with precise decisions and relevant actions.
Try to avoid taking more than you can handle. Saying “no” is one way to control your stressors. Learn to say “no” to more responsibilities when you are too busy. It’s okay to say “no” to a demand on your time and energy that will place too much stress on you. Juggling many responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Being selective and saying no to things that will only add to your load will reduce your stress levels.
Deep Breathing Can Relieve Stress and Keep You Relaxed
Deep breathing is one of the best and most instant ways to relieve stress. When you breathe deeply, your brain gets a signal to calm down and relax. Then the brain sends this message to your body.
Mental stress makes your sympathetic nervous system active, signaling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode. When this reaction releases stress hormones, you experience physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure. All these calm down as you breathe to relax.
Deep breathing exercises can help turn on your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.
Let Your Mind Wander If You Want to Relieve Stress
You have thought for long that mind wandering is the enemy of concentration, but that’s not always true. The right kind of daydreaming can amplify your ability to focus.
Focusing is essential for tasks involving knowledge work like writing, report making, and data evaluation. But for problem-solving, planning, and other creative and forward-thinking, only focus isn’t enough. In such cases, we need to let our minds wander to come up with new ideas which can help us relieve stress.
Be Your Cheerleader and Remain Stress-Free
Self-confidence is a vital figure in opening yourself to solve any problem or accomplishing any critical performance. To raise your confidence level, you need to be your cheerleader because freedom of decision can give you the mental strength to succeed in your job.
No matter whether your success comes from a big or small performance, it helps to grow your confidence level high when you are your cheerleader. When you are down, remind yourself of what you do well. The result will boost your confidence and free you of stress and anxiety.
Eat a Balanced Diet to Control Stress
A balanced diet can bring a greater sensibility towards stress. Emotional eating and high-fat, high-sugar foods can provide a temporary sense of relief but add to your long-term stress.
Refined carbs, e.g., cookies and potato chips, can create a spike in blood sugar. When your blood sugar crashes, you might suffer from more stress and anxiety. A healthy diet can help you combat stress. Foods like eggs, avocado, and walnuts keep in a regular mood and balanced energy. Eating healthy foods helps your body and mind go together. So better to skip the high-sugar snack foods and load up on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy, and lean proteins. Avoid or limit caffeine. Coffee, tea, some sodas, and chocolates contain caffeine.
Cut Out Things that Add to Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to lower your stress level is to cut something out of your life. Avoid the things that are adding to your stress and have more peace.
Watching the news, being connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be contributory to helping you feel better.
The Bottom Line
Stress and anxiety will naturally arise in your workplace and personal life. If so happens, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel. Don’t be lazy or indifferent to your feelings. Try to cope with the situations with confidence by following the ways you prefer to relieve stress and anxiety. But if you feel overwhelmed, talk to a doctor.