From job interviews to global pandemics, stress is ever-present in our daily lives. While we can seldom control the circumstances that bring on stress, we can always choose how we respond to them. This is important, as leaving stress to burgeon can lead to a range of mental and physical health problems.
That’s why you need to know about and make use of the right solutions for calming the mind. Of course, what works for one person may not be suitable for another, so it helps to have a variety of activities at your disposal. This ensures that you can always pick the best strategy for the circumstances. Here are six great stress-relieving activities to consider.
Lighting a Candle
Filling the air with a certain scent, such as by lighting a candle, is a method of treating your mood known as aromatherapy. Several studies have proven its ability to decrease anxiety and promote restfulness. The most soothing scents include lavender, rose, bergamot, sandalwood and geranium. As an added bonus, your home will smell great.
One of the most important and effective things you can do to reduce stress is get a workout. This is due to numerous factors. For one, exercise lowers the amount of stress hormones in your body while releasing endorphins, which improve your mood and reduce pain. It also improves your sleep quality and boosts your confidence.
Try to find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Ideally, it should involve repetitive activation of large muscle groups, which is especially stress-relieving. If you don’t find the basics like walking and jogging fun, there are other options.
For instance, you can play a team sport like baseball. You can even enjoy it alone thanks to pitching machines that can shoot balls at up to 100 MPH, ensuring that you always have a challenge – even if you’re home alone.
Another great way to handle stress is to put your thoughts on paper. One approach is to detail what it is that’s stressing you out. Alternatively, you can focus on the positives and jot down what you’re grateful for. This is known as gratitude journaling, which is linked to a plethora of health benefits.
Looking for something super quick and easy? Well, one study by Cardiff University found that chewing gum contributes to reduced stress levels and a greater sense of overall well being. A possible explanation for this is that the activity enables brain waves related to relaxation, while some believe that chewing gum increases blood flow to the brain.
A stress-relieving activity humans have relied on for centuries is getting social support from friends and family. Being part of a network, be it a group of friends or a team at work, gives you a sense of belonging and improves your self-worth, thus making it easier to get through difficult times.
One study of women who spent time around friends and children found that the activity enabled the release of oxytocin, which is a known stress-reliever. Moreover, we know that people with fewer social connections are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Keep in mind that everyone can benefit from a bit of socializing.
When you perform a deep breathing exercise, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation. Whether it’s diaphragmatic breathing, belly breathing or abdominal breathing, your attention is drawn to your actions, which increases your awareness and slows your heart rate. This brings on a sense of peace.
Although stress is a frequent part of daily life, there are many effective ways to deal with it. Find those that suit you best and practice them frequently.
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