That stress can kill a person is hardly an understatement, considering the number of health problems associated with it. Stress is believed to be the cause of many physical and emotional disorders. It can affect your heart, and even your muscles and joints in the long run. It is detrimental to your immune system and also your skin, lungs, stomach and reproductive organs. Headaches, back ache, digestive problems and sweating are, of course, common symptoms of stress-related problem. If the stress factor aggravates, it can lead to panic or anxiety attacks, which in turn can cause other physical and mental complications and can, in fact, become an obstruction to normal life.
Fortunately, there are several simple ways of tackling stress and preventing it from affecting your health and well-being. Here are a few things you can do to nip the stress bud before it blooms into a chronic problem. You can use these techniques, individually or collectively, to unwind and relax your body and mind to relieve yourself of unwanted stress. Different techniques work well for different people, so you’ll need to find your own special stress relief solution by working on some or all of these techniques till you’re able to figure out which one is good for you.
9 Stress Relief Techniques
1. Deep breathing
Deep breathing – a common technique in yoga, is believed to be quite an effective stress-busting solution if you know the correct way to do it. Your whole being should, for a few minutes, be concentrated on breathing as you slowly inhale through your nose while sitting in an upright position, with your eyes closed. As you do this, you’ll feel your breath move from your nose towards your stomach region. Now follow this up with exhaling through your mouth while allowing your breath to move from your stomach to your head. Repeat the process for a few minutes to feel the difference. Try it regularly for some days for best results.
2. Meditate regularly
All it needs is a few minutes of meditation to clear your body of all the stress that tends to pile up inside it through the day. Chanting a mantra, while sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed, is said to be beneficial in tackling stress. While this is a basic meditation technique, there are several variations proposed by different proponents of meditation as a stress reliever. Ideally, you should choose a quiet corner for meditation with no distractions. For sitting, you can choose your most comfortable position. Control on breathing is considered a key facet of meditation. Some people find praying while meditating to be helpful in alleviating stress and anxiety.
3. Look inwards
It may sound somewhat weird but merely by looking inwards to see how stress is affecting your body and mind can teach your how to control it. This technique works best while lying down or sitting upright. It’s a way of becoming aware of those parts of the body which are stressed or tense, and then concentrating your energies on releasing the tension in those regions. While there’s no clarity on how this technique works, some say it’s the power of your mind which is being used to reduce your stress levels.
4. Laugh aloud
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine. In fact, laughter therapy is an accepted and acknowledged stress relief technique. Laughter groups are commonly formed by people to maximize the benefits of laughter. Actually, there’s a medical aspect to laughter – it brings down the stress hormone, or cortisol, in the body, while increasing endorphins (mood-boosting chemicals) in the brain. Laughter acts by boosting the circulation of oxygen in the body and has a soothing effect on the mind. Once your mind is soothed, the stress in your body also starts reducing.
5. Listen to music
The health and emotional benefits of music have been the subject of much research over the years. Music has a strong soothing power that effectively relaxes the body and the mind. It helps lower blood pressure and also keeps the heart rate under control. Not only does music bring down the stress hormones in the body but also works as a distraction from the problems leading to stress. While soft, classical music is said to work best in stress alleviation, you’d be better off choosing the music that you like as that would be the most effective in helping you reduce stress.
6. Socialize and network
Networking is a good way of relieving yourself of stress-linked anxiety. Talking with people helps to look at your own problems from a new perspective, which in turn facilitates stress relief. Socializing is also found beneficial for people suffering from chronic stress.
7. Exercise regularly
Medical experts swear by the benefits of exercising, including walking. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking can reduce your stress levels by helping your brain release endorphins. Engage yourself in whatever physical activity you enjoy, be it swimming or jogging or just stretching exercise.
8. Decompress away the stress
This involves wrapping a warm piece of cloth around your shoulders and neck. Just keep it wrapped around you for about 10 minutes and close your eyes. You’ll virtually feel all your stress and tension ebb away.
9. Slow down the pace
It’s basically about reducing the pace of your hectic lifestyle to allow yourself to unwind, thus giving yourself more time to indulge in the little pleasures of life. By merely focusing on your senses while eating, watching television or simply walking around, you can alleviate your stress levels considerably.
While addressing your stress problem, do what your heart and mind tells you to. It’s not necessary that what worked for your friend or neighbor will work for you too. Go for what’s best for you. And while you’re working on reducing your stress levels, remember the good things in your life and push back the negative memories to be a happier person. It may help to keep a record of all those positive things that make a positive difference to your life.