Take a moment: Focus on the tip of your nose and the cool air coming in, warm air coming out. Repeat several times.
Take Time For You
Although you undoubtedly have a busy schedule with work, family and other commitments, it is vital that you take time for you. You need downtime, to recharge your batteries, refresh yourself, and rejuvenate. You need time for you to destress so that you can continue giving to others.
An increase in green leafy and other vegetables will automatically increase your health, your resilience and decrease your stress. Eat lean white meat, oily fish, and healthy fats such as avocado, sesame oil, and coconut oil. Enjoy nuts, seeds, and berries.
Moderate aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for 30-40 minutes, 4- 5 times per week will help you destress. Your cardiovascular and circulatory health will improve, muscles will strengthen, bone density will increase, and you will release “happiness” endorphins.
Taking time out to meditate every day, even if just for a few minutes, has been shown in studies to decrease stress and increase happiness. A daily practice is the best way to reap results.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that can be done anytime, anywhere. It involves being present to what is happening now, rather than reminiscing about the past or worrying about the future. Notice your different senses (colors, sounds, textures, tastes, scents) as a way to keep you connected to the present moment.
Gratitude is like magic! The more you practice it, the happier and more relaxed you feel. Try being thankful for one hundred things every day! Really experience the feeling of being grateful and you will become more contented.
It’s not so much what happens to you in life as how you respond to what is happening. You can choose to see the glass as half empty or half full. What will you choose?
Change Limiting Beliefs
Certain beliefs you hold may be holding you back in life. The good news is, once you identify them, you can change them for more helpful beliefs. Next time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, just say, “I am no longer subject to that belief. I choose ….” Then insert your new, more empowering belief.
Instead of trying to control everything, once you realize that ultimately, nothing is under your control, then you can let go and relax. You may find that when you do let go, things miraculously resolve themselves, all by themselves!
Yoga is a practice with many benefits: It tones the muscles, increases strength, and flexibility and prepares the mind for meditation, causing both body and mind to relax.
Try Laughter Yoga
Laughter yoga makes you feel more relaxed and happier: Even when you fake laughing, your brain thinks the laughter is real and understands it must create happiness chemicals because you are acting happy. Therefore, you become happier. Laughter yoga causes tensions to be released, mood to be elevated and stress to dissipate.
Take Nature Walks
Nature walks have been shown to help relax both body and mind, causing a greater sense of peace and tranquility to pervade the body. Being in the fresh air with natural beauty is a balm for the soul.
Stay Connected With Friends
Human beings are social animals. Humans need to feel a sense of belonging. Reaching out, calling a friend, or making a “friends,” date is a wonderful way to help ease the burdens of your stressful day. You will share problems, support one another, and laugh together.
Do Something Meaningful
If you have a sense of purpose in life, and are able to make a productive or meaningful contribution to society, your sense of self-worth will increase. You will feel valued and competent and your resiliency will improve, as you feel more positive about yourself and your role in society.
Put Yourself First
Putting yourself higher up in the pecking order is one of the healthiest things you can do, and, “NO!” it’s not selfish! It’s better for you, and others too!
There are so many ways you can learn to relax: A hot bath with Epsom salts, relaxing your muscles one by one, lying down with your feet up against the wall. When the body is relaxed, stress and tension melt away, the parasympathetic nervous system takes over, and the body can heal.
Visualization can help you increase productivity or effectiveness and help you reach your goals. Imagine a goal: Picture yourself as having reached the goal already. Imagine in as much detail as you can the positive outcome you desire. Science shows that visualization causes you to act in ways that increases your chances of achieving your anticipated outcome.
Nada yoga is a particular form of yoga that incorporates deep relaxation with visualization and positive self-talk. It is very beneficial in releasing stress, changing self-defeating beliefs and attaining desired outcomes.
Get A Massage
Massage relaxes the muscles and the mind and induces a deep state of relaxing. Different kinds of massage include, Swedish, aromatherapy, and shiatsu.
Acupuncture works by balancing the body’s energy system. Imbalance in the energy system is believed to bring about a state of “dis-ease.” It causes the recipient to feel deeply relaxed and is an excellent way to release stress.
According to the ancient art of reflexology, or therapeutic foot massage, the soles of the feet contain a map of the body. By pressing different points on the feet, the body’s energy system can be brought into balance. Very relaxing and refreshing.
Sometimes it is good to talk to a professional. There will be times in your life when talking to friends just isn’t working for you. Talking to an impartial professional can give you perspective, an unbiased point of view and a reflection of your own thoughts and feelings to help you gain clarity and insight.
Psychotherapy can help you dig deep to heal traumas from childhood, change limiting beliefs and heal the body mind. It can help you change your responses to stress for the better, by healing often unconscious wounds.
Learn Good Sleep Tips
A good night’s sleep leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Turn off technology an hour before you put the lights out. Read a book to help you fall asleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. Your body will appreciate the regular rhythm and will sleep better for it.
Go On Vacation
Everybody deserves a vacation, and in fact, everybody needs a vacation. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” is true for us all. Think of a holiday as an essential part of your health regime, rather than as a luxury. Plan one into your schedule each and every year.
Try a mini-getaway to break up the routine, give your body a chance to rest, and recuperate. A little pampering works wonders for the soul and boosts your self-esteem, allowing the buildup of stress to dissipate.
Try Something new
Doing something completely new shakes you out of your boring old routine and stimulates the brain. Doing something different will take you out of yourself, help you gain new perspective, challenge you in a positive way and meet your need for variety.
Change Your Routine
A change is as good as a rest, says the old adage. Being stuck in a rut only helps cement the stress in! Doing something out of the ordinary can refresh you and help recharge your batteries.
Do What You Love
Expert Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about the “psychology of optimal experience,” that place where time ceases to exist, when you are so utterly engaged with what you are doing that each moment seems effortless and you feel energized, focused and filled with the enjoyment of the process of the activity. When you are doing what you love, you can experience this sense of flow.
Do More Of What Works
When you find that place of flow, the trick is to find ways to feel it more often. Figure out what brings you joy, and then go get more of it!
Life without fun is no life at all. If you are working all the time, chances are you are not having enough fun. And if you are not having enough fun, you will feel unhappy, stressed out, maybe even aggressive, according to research. Having fun is a serious business!
Take Up A Hobby
Taking up a hobby is one way to have fun, engage the brain, experience flow, stay present, find possible purpose and fulfilment, and enjoy yourself. The list of hobbies is endless. What appeals to you? Maybe it’s gardening, journal writing, knitting, or crochet, singing in a choir, building treehouses or computers. Try different things and find an activity that sticks. Then, stick with it.
Get A Dog, Cat Or Goldfish
Studies have found that owning a pet can calm you down, and help you relax, feel less alone and more connected. Having a pet can bring you a sense of purpose. Stroking cats and dogs brings about a feeling of calm, as does watching a tank of fish.
One way to avoid being stressed is to walk away from an escalating situation. Rather than engage with someone who is volatile or hostile, simply walk away. You can explain that you will connect with them when they can feel calmer. Learning to discern when something is not serving you is an art. Discovering that it is OK to set healthy limits for yourself can work wonders for your stress levels.
This is a four-step process of communication created by Marshall Rosenberg as a way of increasing the positive connections between people. Focusing on feelings and needs, it uses empathy to engage with another, to acknowledge and validate the other person’s feelings and in so doing bring about solutions for greater peace and ease. You can read more about non-violent communication at cnvc.org.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
Do you feel drained by certain friends? It is time to ditch them. It sounds cruel but you are doing yourself a kindness by surrounding yourself with positive, supportive, and encouraging friends.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Lie down in a quiet place. Breathe. Clench our toes and feet as you breathe in. On the out breath, let everything go. Work through all the muscle groups in your body in this way, from toes to head.
Japanese finger pressure is a relaxing and healing kind of massage, which utilizes the 12 energy meridian lines in the body. It is well known to be relaxing and great for getting rid of tension.
A naturopath will look at the whole person to determine advice, which can include diet, supplements, vitamins, massage, or homeopathy. This can help with stress symptoms.
Affirmations are present tense statements in the first person (“I”), which help you change negative thinking to positive. Louise Hay and Shakti Gawain are the ”grandmothers” of affirmations.
“I think I can, I think I can, I know I can”. Just like the “Little Train Who Could,” when we talk positively to ourselves we can accomplish much more than we thought we could.
When you raise the corners of your lips to a smile, your brain is tricked into believing you must be happy, and starts making “happiness hormones” for you. So smile, even if you don’t feel like it. It will make you happy! Smiling also relaxes the muscles in your face and helps you release tension that way.
Inner Smile Meditation
In this meditation, you imagine a benevolent being smiling down on you. You send this positive, loving, smiling energy, all around your body. It helps you relax and feel a warm glow of happiness on the inside of you.
Having sex is a great way to bust some of that stress. Studies show that it helps you release tension and relax deeply. It aids deeper sleep. It helps boost your immunity and it’s good cardio too!
Tantric sex multiplies the above benefits by allowing you to prolong the pleasurable period before orgasm. It trains you to slow down, relax, and enjoy the ride! The buildup of sexual energy can be sent to areas of the body for healing purposes.
Alcohol dehydrates you, corrodes your liver, and can create dependency, not to mention make you act in terrible ways at times! If you want a less stressful life, a sure-fire way is to get rid of alcohol.
Stimulants such as sugar, coffee, and amphetamines have been shown to keep your adrenals overactive and your stress levels high. Your sleep will suffer and you will experience fatigue, so you then take more stimulants to stay alert and the cycle continues.
Give Up Coffee
The experts tell us that coffee taxes the adrenals, and robs the body of vitamin C, as well as dehydrating us. It can make you anxious and jittery, and does nothing to alleviate stress. Cut it out gradually to avoid the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
By contrast chamomile teas helps you sleep by inducing a drowsy state of well-being and relaxation. Sip a cup in the early evening to help you get to sleep.
Scientists have found that green tea is loaded with antioxidants and lots of nutrients. Even though green tea contains some caffeine, it will not give you the jitters, and it has a compound in it, which reduces anxiety levels. Some studies have found if you drink up to five cups of green tea per day, you may reduce your stress levels, significantly, although studies that are more conclusive are needed.
Many supplements claim to reduce stress. These include magnesium, a muscle relaxant, melatonin, to help you with sleep cycles, valerian for anxiety and B-complex for improving mood.
Homeopathic medicine uses very minute traces of a medicine found in nature, to treat “like with like.” It is recommended to seek a qualified and experienced practitioner because it can be very difficult to find the right remedy if you are trying to treat yourself. For acute and mild symptoms, this is okay.
Avoid Fried Foods
Fried foods are high in fat, calories, and salt and have been shown to contribute to serious problems like heart disease and obesity. If you have stress in your life, it is a good idea to avoid this type of greasy food.
Adjust Your Expectations
Does everything have to be perfect, and have to be done “Now”? Perhaps you are setting impossibly high standards for yourself and others around you. Life is messy and impossible to control. As soon as you learn to let go, you will feel so much better. Lower your expectations and you will feel less stressed.
Once you learn the art of saying, “NO,” you will be able to set much healthier boundaries for yourself. You will be less likely to overload yourself and you will feel empowered and capable. Perhaps surprisingly, most people are able to receive a “No” with understanding and respect. Try it and see!
Express Your Feelings
Find a way to safely express yourself. Bottling up your feelings only increases your stress and can lead to health problems. It is far better to find a way to release your emotions.
Express Your Creativity
Whether it’s painting, dancing, writing, singing acting, poetry or a combination of any of the above, being creative can leave you feeling satisfied, accomplished, and complete.
Avoid Stressful People And Situations
Surrounding yourself with people of like-mind can be a great way to avoid generating stress. If someone is aggravated, loud, or vexatious, it is a good idea to avoid them if possible!
Often we have a plan in our heads about the way things should go. Often, life has a different idea. Things don’t always go according to plan. Being able to bend like a willow tree, or go with the flow, is a skill worth cultivating. Embrace unexpected change graciously.
If you can’t win, compromise. It saves a lot of heartbreak. Just think to yourself “How important is this issue? Do I want to be right, or kind?”
Manage Your Time
Print off a weekly schedule and organize each day. Leave ten minutes earlier. Prioritize. Make lists. Cross off each item when completed. Delegate. Know your limits and learn to say, No!
Being disorganized can exacerbate your stress levels beyond measure. It may feel counter-intuitive, but taking an extra five minutes to organize your desk can save you headaches and sleepless nights of anxiety in the long run. Instead of procrastinating, take a few minutes getting organized. You will thank yourself.
Anticipate Don’t Procrastinate
Rather than say, “I need to” or “I have to,” tell yourself, “I choose to.” This helps empower you. Give yourself rewards for tasks accomplished. Tackle each task as it arises so things don’t build up. Look forward to the outcome. Do the most unpleasant tasks first.
Emotional Freedom Technique
EFT is a technique that stimulates various energy meridian points in the body by using gentle finger tapping, while simultaneously saying custom-made verbal affirmations. This technique helps you eliminate emotional “scarring” and reprogram how your body responds to emotional stress.
Find What Works For You
Just because you read it in a self-help article (such as this) does NOT mean it’s going to be useful to you! Simply take what you like, and leave the rest.
Do More Of What Works
When you discover what works for you, do more of it. If getting a massage, for example, helps, then regularly invest in it as a vital part of your stress-busting regime.
Flow happens when you are doing what you love. You lose all sense of time and become completely absorbed in what you are doing. All your stressful thoughts, sensations, and emotions will melt away and you will feel a sense of spaciousness and presence. Get into the flow as often as you can.
Make Meal Times Social Times
Inviting friends over might seem like a lot of effort, but it will pay off: connecting with friends over food can bring a sense of warmth and togetherness that helps the stress dissolve. Laughter and social engagement gives you a healthy break from stress. If a dinner party is too much, organize a potluck. Everyone brings a dish and it’s so easy!
Joining a group of like-minded individuals can help overcome any sense of isolation and bring a healthy sense of belonging into your life. Community is vital to our well-being as we are social animals. Reach out and connect.
Love doesn’t have to be in an intimate relationship. Love can come in many forms. The old myth that we need a partner to sustain us can give way to the idea that we can find Love in many ways.
Count the number of ways love comes to you in your life, a friendly smile, a sunny day, the laughter of children, a puppy wagging its tail to greet you. The Taoist masters say that, “Love heals.” And it does. And if you want Love, give Love…
Turn Towards One Another
If you are in an intimate relationship, one of the ways to help each other maintain equilibrium and dissipate the stress of an argument is to “turn towards one another.” Embrace, forgive and look towards each other (rather than turn your back, or give the cold shoulder).
Find A Life Partner
Studies show that people in long-term intimate relationships are happier and live longer than people who live alone. Be specific about what you are looking for: Write it down in detail. Then, go out and date.
The key is, don’t stop until you find who you are looking for! Dating is a numbers game; it is a bit like getting a job. If you persist, eventually you will succeed.
Be OK Being Alone
Learn one of life’s ultimate lessons, the art of loving yourself. This is a skill you can cultivate over time. Be gentle and kind with yourself at all times. Practice sending loving-kindness to yourself.
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