We have already discussed how to identify signs of stress. Now let's talk about how to relieve stress.
Today, too many people turn to alcohol, drugs, and prescription medications to cope with their overburdened lives. The problem with that is that these methods can have serious side effects and consequences that will only increase stress over time. And they can conceivably destroy your life if addiction becomes an issue.
There are many safe and effective strategies and techniques that are proven to reduce stress. The trick is finding the ones that work for you.
Tips on How to Relieve Stress
Here are a few simple but effective ways to relieve stress. They may not seem like much by themselves, however, combine a few into a daily practice and the results will be significant. I will be exploring some of these techniques and others in more detail in future posts.
Schedule some electronics free time
Do you know people who never put their phone down? Are you one of them? Everyone, including small children, are tied to a cell phone these days. Social media is an obsession. There's always something new on the newsfeed and gaming is easier than ever. Have you ever spent time with a friend who spent the whole time you were with them playing Words With Friends on their phone instead of actually being with their friend? It's impossible to have real conversations with people these days because they give you only a small part of their attention. The rest is on their phone. If you want to know how to relieve stress, put down your phone. Actually spend time with family and friends. Play games for real. You will be happy you did.
Turn off the news
Yes, we all need to know what's going on in the world, but we don't have to watch CNN 24/7. Today watching the news is like watching a very scary movie. It's bound to raise anyone's stress level. Take a break and let skimming the headlines be enough every now and then.
There is no better way to quiet the mind than meditation. When done properly, meditation allows the mind to reverse the physical effects of stress. It slows your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. A lot of people have trouble meditating because their mind won't cooperate. There are many guided meditation programs out there that are easy to follow. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Guided Mindfulness Meditation, by Jon Kabat-Zinn is an excellent place to start.
Get out in nature
Tree huggers know how to relieve stress. Clinical studies have proven that a process called “Earthing” or grounding reduces stress by syncing your body's electrical field with the Earth's electrical field. The negative ions act as antioxidants neutralizing free radicals and moves anything out of balance into balance. In addition, studies show that 2 hours of nature sounds a day can reduce stress hormones up to 800% and activate 500-600 DNA segments responsible for healing and repairing the body. A simple practice that will cost you nothing.
Aromatherapy takes the natural healing essence of plants and delivers it straight to your brain through your nose. Essential oils have many proven therapeutic qualities including the ability to reduce stress. Lavender is probably the best known essential oil for stress relief. Also helpful are cedarwood, sandalwood, rosemary, basil, patchouli, and rose when used in combinations. It is best to buy a stress relief blend from a trusted source.
Yoga relaxes the body while it quiets the mind. It coordinates movement with the breathe in a moving meditation that releases the knots in your muscles while cleansing toxins from your bloodstream. Doing yoga for stress relief will not only reduce your stress, it will also help you get lean and fit.
Vigorous exercise is another way to reduce stress. In her book The SuperStress Solution, Roberta Lee, M.D. states that “virtually any form of exercise can decrease the production of stress hormones and counteract your body's natural stress response.” Your body also produces opiate-like chemicals during exercise that help combat anxiety and depression. It's also a great way to work off the negative emotions of anger and frustration. The nice thing is that there are so many different ways to exercise your body. You don't need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment. Take a walk or go play ball with your kids if that's all you can manage.
So now you've learned several methods to relieve stress. Try one or all of them. See which works best for you. Check back often for more information on how to relieve stress.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, by Valerie Ann Worwood
The Super Stress Solution, by Roberta Lee, M.D.
The Tao of Health, Sex, & Longevity, Daniel P. Reid