Due to current events happening around us, the need to look after our mental health has never been greater. This article will focus on 6 ways to reduce stress.
What is Stress?
Stress is known by some experts as the “silent killer” due largely to the fact that it can be difficult to diagnose and can lead to other chronic illnesses and conditions which could potentially be fatal. Stress can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, organ failure, not to mention several mental health disorders as well. For more in dept about stress, check out Stress Psychology and Biology from Britannica.
We all feel stressed from time to time, and while some of us deal with stress better than others, how we deal with stress doesn’t change the fact that stress itself is something that we need to eliminate as quickly as we possibly can.
Studies have shown that in the United States alone, as many as 70% of adults have admitted to regularly suffering from bouts of prolonged periods of stress.
The good news is that stress can be managed and avoided entirely in some instances, and to prove it we’re about to look at exactly how that is. Here are 6 things to do to reduce stress.
Causes of Stress / Signs of Stress
Below are a list of possible signs and symptoms of stress, or effects of stress on the body you need to be aware of:
- One of the causes of stress is tension. Getting over-involved in work could raise your tension level.
- Prolonged anxiety over a health issue can lead to stress. These could trigger an increase in your heart rate and elevated blood pressure.
- Studies show that someone who is stressed would experience an increased hunger hormone and craving for unhealthy foods.
- Other causes of stress include depression, anger, low self-esteem, guilt, and feelings that one cannot express.
- Feeling deprived of support, friendship, or feelings of lack of attention from a friend or spouse could also cause stress.
- Life-changing experiences such as divorce, loss of a job, death of a spouse or parent all contribute to stress.
- Some known physical signs of stress include indigestion, sweaty palms, headaches, sleeping too much, diarrhea, bad skin, tense muscles, pain, sleeplessness, cold hands, and fatigue.
1. Get more exercise
If you are thinking of physical activities that can best relieve feelings, then we need exercise for a whole variety of different reasons. Exercise can strengthen our hearts, it can boost our immune systems, it can make us feel stronger, it can increase longevity, and it can help to significantly reduce stress.
Now, in terms of your physical health, exercise does indeed place physical stress upon your body, but mentally, exercise is one of the best things you could ever wish for.
Exercise helps to reduce the production of stress hormones such as cortisol while increasing the production of endorphins which help us to relax and feel happy. Exercise can also boost self-confidence levels and help us get a good night’s sleep.
A lack of sleep has been linked with stress and can often act as a catalyst for stress, so if you are getting enough sleep each night, you will be less likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, and other similar conditions.
2. Go for a walk in the countryside
This could technically be considered as exercise, but as it is so important, we’re giving it its very own section right now.
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, uptight, or if you just feel as if you need to get out more, going for a walk in the countryside or nice surroundings, in general, is one of the best things that you can do.
Walking is a form of exercise and as you now know, exercise is a great natural stress buster. Not only that, though, but walking is a great way to let your brain switch off.
If you head outdoors and get some fresh air in amongst nature, you can escape the stresses of modern living and can listen to the leaves of the trees rustling in the wind, along with the sound of birds singing.
Combine all of these things and you have the ultimate recipe for relaxation.
3. Consider chewing gum
This may sound a little bizarre at first, but hear us out because there is science behind it.
Studies have found that people that chew gum are decidedly less stressed than people that don’t.
Chewing gum is believed to be a stress reliever as it can help to promote brain waves which are similar to those which are found in people that are relaxed and chilled out. As well as that, by chewing you can help to increase the amount of blood flow to the brain, which means more oxygen to the brain, which means a healthier brain.
As a bonus, chewing on gum will also strengthen your jaw muscles and give you a stronger and more defined jawline.
4. Talk it out
One of the worst things anybody suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issues can do is to keep everything bottled up inside and suffer in silence. Bottling everything up only masks the problem, and eventually, it will become overwhelming.
If you find yourself feeling stressed, take the time to speak to a friend, family member, or loved one and let them know how you feel.
If you’re stressed you can get everything off your chest and the person you’re talking to will likely be able to reassure you that everything will be okay.
5. Try to laugh more
Now, this may sound a little patronizing, as the last thing people who are suffering from stress want to do is laugh. Studies have shown that laughter reduces stress.
If you can laugh, though, it has been proven that laughter can help alleviate feelings of stress and can also help to ease and relieve tension as it helps to relax your muscles. Laughter also helps to promote the production and secretion of endorphins which make you feel happier and more content in life.
If you want to laugh more, watch funny TV shows, read jokes, read funny stories, look at hilarious memes online, or spend time with friends, family members that make you laugh and smile more.
6. Use natural supplements
Finally, if you are suffering from stress, another simple but effective strategy that you could employ would be to use natural herbal supplements.
There are now numerous tried and tested herbal supplements on the market that have been found to significantly reduce stress and alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
While there are many supplements currently available, some of the most effective supplements for stress management are:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Kava Kava
- St John’s Wort
- Lemon balm
- Green tea extract
The supplements listed above all have been found to provide significant mental health benefits. Whether this is through promoting sleep and relaxation, improving cognitive health, providing sedative effects, increasing endorphin productions, or simply just improving mental health in general.
Just be aware that supplements do not work miracles, and to get the most out of health supplements, you should avoid unhealthy processed junk food and instead consume plenty of fresh and nutritious produce.
Other ways to Manage Stress / Ways to Deal with Stress
There are several others ways in which one can manage stress, deal with stress, or ways to reduce stress when you start experiencing the symptoms. This includes but not limited to the followings:
Deep Breathing Exercises: If you are feeling stressed or have anxiety then taking ten deep breaths while in a relaxed state will help relieve stress and tame their anxiety.
Muscle Relaxation – Body massage: Progressively relaxing your muscles is another option for dealing with stress and anxiety. Being able to relax the whole body helps to keep the mind and mental thoughts focused. This also helps to relieve tension in the muscles. A good option here is the body massage.
Relaxing Music – Meditation: Not many people are aware of the effectiveness of meditation. Listening to a piece of relaxing music for stress relief music goes a long way to keeping the mind calm and relaxed. You can also find a local meditation group to join and gain better concentration skills.
Warm Bath: I know a lot of people would love this. Taking a warm shower may assist in reducing stress levels.
Resting: I can not overemphasize how important it is to rest well. Some people become stressed due to overworking the body. Rest is a simple natural stress reliever and everyone needs time to rest well when possible.
The above 6 ways to reduce stress are but many of the effective way to begin reducing stress in your life. There are also guided meditation to relieve stress, interestingly gardening reduces stress as well. You may also consider some stress reduction techniques, one of my favorite is meditation to reduce stress.
So think of what works best for you and focus on it. Also don’t forget to seek experts advice or medical advise if needed.