Here are seven immediate stress busters to help fill up your tank. So take deep relaxing breath and read on.
Get out and do some exercise. Take a walk or go to the gym. Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can help relieve mental stress. And the benefits are most noticeable when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise. Exercise relieves stress in several ways. First it increases the activity of feel-good hormones serotonin and norepinephrine and it releases a hormone that helps control the brain’s response to stress and anxiety. You don’t need to run a marathon or complete an Ironman triathlon. A quick stroll in the morning or in the evening might be just enough to tell the stress hormones in your blood to scatter.
Just as chronic and severe stress can damage systems in our body, humor can heal. When people laugh, the autonomic nervous system calms down and the heart is allowed to relax. Laughter can also boost the immune system, as it has been found to increase a person’s ability to fight viruses and foreign cells, and reduce the levels of stress hormone cortisol. Plus, it’s just fun to laugh. And having fun is its own stress buster.
Prioritize sleep for a healthier happier you – make sure you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night. It is well known that not getting enough sleep leaves you irritable and cranky, and that too much sleep can make you sluggish and depressed. The aim here is to find the perfect amount of sleep that makes you feel well-rested and ready for the day.
- Spend time outdoors
Set aside time for your favorite outdoor adventures, like hiking or biking. If you like the activity, you’ll be more inclined to do it more frequently, which will help ward off stress. Nature is good for the soul and makes you feel more alive. Fresh air and natural scenery can have a profound affect not only on your mood, but also on your health. So, get out and take a hike in the woods, or dip your toes in the ocean.
- Spend time with your pet
Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood. According to one study, dog owners reported lower levels of stress than non-dog owners. Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood. Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active and providing companionship — all qualities that help reduce anxiety.
- Eat Right
Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. When we’re overwhelmed we often forget to eat healthy and resort to sugary, fatty snacks as a pick-me-up. Try to avoid sugary snacks and plan ahead. Fruits and vegetables are always good snack, and fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress. So, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet to stave off stress.
- Be Mindful
Most of the tips I’ve suggested provide immediate relief, but there are also many lifestyle changes that can be more effective in the long run. The concept of “mindfulness” is a large part of meditation. From yoga and tai chi to meditation and Pilates, these systems of mindfulness incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from becoming a problem. Try joining a class. Meditate. Create a little Zen den in your room where you can meditate (e.g. light candles and incense, play calming music). Reaching a meditative state takes practice but you can get there. Meditation can help ease anxiety and improve concentration, so peace out.
The truth is, the small changes you implement can add up to big results.