Stress is a normal part of life but if you feel yours is far too consuming it’s time to take action. April is Stress Awareness Month and we’re sharing ways you can relieve stress to improve your day-to-day life and enjoy a healthier outlook.
With all the moving parts in your world, you may be among most people who report difficulty with stress. Studies show that over 75% of people struggle with physical and psychological symptoms of stress, and almost half of them find stress negatively impacts their personal and professional lives and causes them to lose sleep.
Stress takes a toll on both the mind and body and when stress increases, the two can merge. To reduce stress, it’s important to look at both sides of the picture and make changes before you put your health at serious risk.
Here are 4 ways you can relieve stress and escape becoming a victim to these statistics:
Exercise is good for just about everything, including stress. And it works on several levels. First, exercise increases endorphins, neurotransmitters that make you happier and give you a natural high after your workout. Similarly, exercise promotes production of norepinephrine, a neurohormone that improves cognition, memory and mood. It also helps reverse damage stress causes your brain.
And that’s not all. Exercise can be cathartic because it forces you to focus on something other than your stressors. Whether you do rhythmic exercise or intense interval training, your brain is working hard and doesn’t have time for what’s bugging you. In fact, some researchers believe it’s all the internal coordination and communication required during workouts that is the real benefit of exercise for stress. In the end, it may even help you cope with stress in the future.
Meditate, Breathe and Relax Your Muscles
Slowing down and spending time on meditation, breathing techniques, and muscle isolation and relaxation exercises are proven ways you can relieve stress. Popular forms of meditation include mindfulness, being focused on sensory experiences in the present, and guided imagery. All of these methods can be learned under the advice of a coach or therapist. Or you can simply find your own rhythm that calms your body.
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Participate in a Hobby
Doing what you love – whether that’s volunteering, being creative, or spending time at the beach – can help you de-stress. Not only are these enjoyable activities taking your mind off your stress and making you happier in the moment, they are building confidence and helping your brain work differently to better handle your stressors.
Get More Sleep
Sleep is the critical time when your body and brain are recharging, repairing, and resting. Sleep effects every aspect of your health. Without enough of it, you may open the door to more stress-related problems. According to the American Psychological Association, most Americans fail to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night which contributes to stress through irritability, less energy, lack of motivation, and feeling overwhelmed. And unfortunately, there’s a vicious cycle of being stressed from not sleeping and not sleeping due to stress.
Making sleep a priority is among the top ways you can relieve stress. Set a bedtime and stick to it, for the most part. And ensure your bedroom conditions and mindset are conducive to sleep.
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