What is your go-to method for stress relief? Do you take a walk? Listen to music? Do you binge-watch Netflix? Everyone experiences stress and have their own way of dealing with it. What might be a minor issue for some can be completely overwhelming for others. While there is no one-size-fits-all response, some ways to relieve stress can be unhealthy and even harmful. If any of these behaviors describe you, perhaps it’s time to consider some new stress-relief strategies:
- Eating too much or lots of high-fat, high-sugar comfort foods;
- Withdrawing from people and activities that have been a support and pleasure to you in the past;
- Pushing reality away by oversleeping, zoning out in front of the computer or TV, procrastinating or overworking;
- Needing pills, alcohol, nicotine or drugs to relax or sleep; and
- Feeling a tendency to get angry more frequently and to lash out at others.
Stress Relief Ideas To Help Find Your Inner Calm
Stress can creep up in a million different ways. However, although we can’t escape stress, we can develop powerful and effective ways of coping with it. Furthermore, learning new forms of stress relief will massively benefit your health and could extend your life. Here is a round-up of the best ways to relieve stress according to research. See if any of these destressors inspire you to discover new ways to relax.
Deep Breathing Exercises — One of the fastest ways to change your emotional state, deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing decreases stress hormones and activates your parasympathetic nervous system. Your parasympathetic is the part of your nervous system that is in charge of rest and relaxation. Proper deep breathing can reduce stress in a matter of a minute or less.
Biofeedback, Body Scanning, and Other Relaxation Techniques — Biofeedback is one of the coolest, most innovative ways to relieve stress. There are many types, but biofeedback is even available in the form of computer games. Basically you have an electronic monitor for your stress levels, and with the help of your feedback device, you can actually learn to control your stress level. Google it to learn more; it is very powerful!
Meditation — There are many types of meditation, and different kinds work better for different personalities. Prayer can be meditative; so can yoga. In some cases mindfulness can be an excellent type of meditation; others prefer transcendental meditation. Whichever type of meditation you choose, make sure that it helps you gain a sense of calm and centeredness. It can be one of the best ways to relieve stress.
Strong Social Networks — Some people refer to the “tend and befriend” response as a highly effective counterpoint to “fight or flight.” When we spend loving, genuine face time with those we care about, cortisol drops and oxytocin, sometimes dubbed the “hug hormone,” rises.
Cognitive Flexibility — Change how you respond to a stressful situation, understanding that a lot of stress comes from trying to control the uncontrollable. A shift in mindset can do much to reduce stress.
Money Smarts — Financial insecurity and debt are two of the most commonly reported sources of stress today. Increase your financial literacy—working toward a goal and creating a cushion for harder times.
Stressor Avoidance — Toxins come in all forms, including people. If there is someone who consistently makes you anxious when you’re around them, then limit or eliminate your time with them. If shopping malls agitate you, order things online. If traffic jams make you want to tear your hair out, find an alternative route or a different arrival and departure time for work. Start saying “no” more frequently to activities you do out of obligation rather than necessity.
Health Inventory — Make sure you’ve addressed other areas of your life that may be contributing to stress or that might help you to better manage it. For example, your sleep habits, your diet, your outlets, exercise, etc.
Scheduled Relaxation Time — Instead of waiting until your yearly two-week vacation, find a little bit of time every day to unwind, whether taking a short nap, playing with your pet, or sitting quietly by a stream and daydreaming.
Have a Sense of Humor — Dr. William F. Fry, a professor of Psychology at Stanford University, was the first scientist to suggest in 1964 that laughter was a legitimate field of study. He became the first self-proclaimed Gelotologist (an expert in the science of laughter, from the Greek root gelos, to laugh.) Laughter helps the brain regulate the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. Scientists also discovered a link between laughter and the production of antibodies and endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Apparently, even anticipating a funny joke or outcome can reduce stress hormones. So start Youtubing some viral videos, and get laughing!
Massage — This is probably most people’s favorite form of stress relief. The gentle manipulation of muscles and soft tissue helps to rid the body of toxins and stimulates the relaxation response.
Music — Music is a simple and mostly free way to reduce stress. It has been shown to lower cortisol levels, helping to facilitate recovery from a psychologically stressful task.
Natural Supplements Can Help
Because there is no cookie-cutter approach to stress relief, the best route is to experiment and find what works for you. Think about ways to find a holistic approach to de-stressing. What can you do for your mind, body, and spirit that will help you regroup?
One thing that could help you is adding a natural supplement to your daily routine. Certain herbs and extracts actually contain stress-relieving ingredients that will help you maintain balance and emotional resilience throughout the day. For example, Ashwagandha or Winter Cherry is a very popular herb right now that relieves nervous tension and promotes relaxation. Another go-to supplement is Ginseng, which can have immunity and mood-boosting effect.
There are many other herbs and formulas that can help provide stress relief. A good starting point is our Procera Mood formula, which contains Ashwagandha, Ginseng as well as other powerful agents such as L-Theanine and Magnesium. These ingredients aid in relaxation and reduction of stress. Formulated to address all aspects of mood enhancement, Procera Mood is a great way to get all of your herbal support for stress relief in one supplement.
If you’re in a place where you know you need to reduce stress in your life, try some of these methods we’ve listed. Also, be proactive in getting around others who manage stress well. Sometimes relationships can open doors and help us discover new avenues for wellness and stress relief. To learn more about Procera Mood and how it can help you reduce stress, check out the product page at procerahealth.com.