Sleep, nutrition and physical activity all help relieve stress. Substances like alcohol and nicotine that exacerbate stress should also be avoided to minimize long-term strain on our bodies.
Human contact releases the hormone oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone.” Interacting with family and friends, volunteering, or spending time with pets all reduce stress levels.
1. Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to alleviate stress. These exercises involve deliberately breathing in and out air in a pattern of counting breaths in order to focus the mind and help relieve tension.
Stressful events may be necessary and even healthy, but prolonged stress can have devastating repercussions for health – from high blood pressure and headaches to heart disease.
Breathing exercises can provide relief from chronic stress by slowing the body’s fight-or-flight response. They also promote relaxation and can improve sleep quality – something especially valuable for those having trouble getting the recommended amount.
Exercise is one of the best self-care tools for relieving stress. Exercise increases energy levels, enhances mental focus and concentration and helps maintain a healthy weight.
Stressful situations cause our bodies to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol that can disturb sleep patterns, raise blood pressure and cause muscle tension.
Stress relief comes in many forms. Studies on exercise and stress have largely focused on aerobic workouts like running, swimming, biking and dancing – however anything from taking a walk or doing yoga may also do the trick! Finding something you enjoy doing will ensure a long term commitment to physical activity as a source of relief from anxiety and tension. Exercise may even serve as a socialization activity and help alleviate feelings of isolation that contributes to stress reduction.
Hugging is an effective natural solution to stress relief. By hugging someone or being hugged yourself, your body produces oxytocin which decreases cortisol levels in your system.
Cortisol has long been linked to cardiovascular disease and other health issues. According to research, those who received daily hugs had lower blood pressure and heart rate levels.
An embrace hug is the ideal form of affectionate gesture, showing that you care deeply about someone and supporting their wellbeing and comfort. Additionally, such an embrace fosters feelings of comfort and community among its recipients.
Cuddling or petting your pet may also bring comfort; just ensure to seek permission first! Furthermore, avoid touching any sensitive areas such as their genitalia; this could make them feel uncomfortable or could even be perceived as inappropriate behavior.
4. Listening to Music
Music as a means to reduce stress can help both mind and body relax, says the owner from the green lantern bar. Finding music that helps relieve your anxiety will depend on personal preference; finding one that helps focus your mind may require listening to classical, jazz or nature sounds.
Stressed out? Music can help us relax our nervous systems into “rest and digest” mode and relieve some symptoms, according to Ringgold. By creating and listening to music, our nervous systems can be coaxed into entering a “rest and digest” state which may alleviate anxiety symptoms.
Make music part of your end-of-day relaxation routine by turning off the TV, setting aside your phone and turning up some favorite tunes – this way, focus on their lyrics as they help soothe both body and mind.
Building long-term stress management strategies is important, but there are also quick solutions to relieve tension quickly. Breathing exercises, exercise, getting enough restful sleep and forgoing alcohol may all prove useful in combatting stress.
Writing can be a wonderful way to ease stress. Writing can provide an escape from things that are bothering you and help you gain perspective on the situation, while at the same time giving an outlet for expressing emotions safely and freely.
Try keeping a journal or gratitude journal each day to record your thoughts and emotions, such as through emotional release exercises such as those found at PsychCentral’s “12 Journal Prompts for Emotional Release.” A gratitude journal can also serve as an effective stress reliever by helping to focus on all that’s positive in your life.