Stress can quickly take over your life if you let it. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to cope with the daily stress that can affect your health and happiness. Of course, you already know the negative effects of chronic stress on human health; it can lead to weight gain, depression, and even heart disease. However, knowing how to reduce your stress levels and focus on positivity can help you improve every aspect of your day (and your life). So here are a few things to help you de-stress:
1. Meditation & Breathing Exercises
Focusing on your breathing is a fast way to reduce stress when you feel like you’re about to blow a fuse. So whether you woke up to texts from your mother-in-law telling you she’s on her way to your house or traffic is making you late for work, you can practice breathing exercises to calm down. A simple breathing exercise you can do anywhere is inhaling, holding, and exhaling your breath for five seconds each and repeating until you feel calm.
Meditation is another relaxing activity you can try to help you de-stress. Since it requires more focus than a breathing exercise, you can’t do it just anywhere and will instead need your own private and quiet space. Meditation, like breathing exercises, can help quiet your mind. When you meditate, you let your thoughts flow and pass you by, but you don’t focus on them or react to them.
To relax, you can focus on your breathing or different parts of your body to help quiet your mind before taking deep breaths and returning to an even breathing pattern.
2. Take Breaks
If you have a stressful job, you should take regular breaks to detach yourself from the computer screen. Believe it or not, breaks can make you more productive. Even if you take more breaks, which equates to more time away from your desk, when you turn from your break, you’ll feel more energized and get more done. A simple break, such as stretching at your desk, standing up to get coffee, or even looking away from the screen to rest your eyes, can help.
3. Go for a Walk
Have you ever realized that everyone in movies goes for a walk when upset? This technique works because exercise can help you think more clearly while your body naturally releases happy hormones to improve your mood. Walking also means leaving a stressful situation. For example, if your boss was critical of your work, you might grab your walking shoes and go for a walk on your lunch break to get away from them.
Of course, going for a walk at any point during the day can reduce stress because your body will release endorphins to improve your mood. When going for a walk, keep your phone in your pocket so you’ll have nothing else to do but think about how to improve your situation and reduce your stress levels.
4. Start a Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal reminds you of all the good things you have in life. You can commit to writing in it every night before bed to remind yourself of what you’re grateful for before dozing off to sleep. Your gratitude journal doesn’t have to be anything special. However, you should use a journal dedicated to it and nothing else. Every night, you’ll list all the things you’re grateful for, and repeating things every night is okay because it will keep your favorite things at the top of your mind.
5. Get a Pet
Becoming a pet parent isn’t for everyone, so you shouldn’t make any hasty decisions. However, if you think you can provide a good home for a pet in need, you can consider adopting a dog or cat from a local shelter and have a best friend who you can always count on. Pets show affection in many ways, and taking care of a pet will give you something to focus on other than stress since some can be more demanding than others. In addition, several signs your dog loves you, such as gazing into your eyes, can make you feel calmer and happier.
6. Find a Hobby
When you’re not working, what are you doing? Many people spend their weekends doing chores or watching television. However, finding a hobby you can immerse yourself in during your time off can reduce stress because it gives you a little me-time that allows you to focus on an activity you enjoy. Luckily, you don’t need much time for a hobby, and you don’t have to engage in it every week. However, you should still make time for your hobby because it can be a great stress reliever to help take your mind off of negative things in your life.
We’ve already talked about how walks can help you de-stress. However, daily exercise can keep stress at bay long-term. Since exercise boosts your mood and energy levels, you’ll be more equipped to deal with daily stress. In addition, daily exercise can give you an outlet for your stress because it allows you to focus on an activity, especially a difficult activity like cardio when running or using an elliptical machine.
The clutter in your home may be causing you to stress without you knowing it. Clutter has a way of making our homes and offices look and feel more chaotic. When you have clutter, you have more distractions around you, making it difficult to focus. In addition, decluttering can help you de-stress because it allows you to enter a state of mindfulness where you pay attention to everything you’re doing.
De-Stress for a Happier, Healthier Life
Chronic stress can affect your physical and mental health, making it difficult to focus on the simplest tasks while wreaking havoc on your blood pressure. The more stressed you are, the more likely you will become stressed by small inconveniences. However, with the right coping mechanisms and using a few of these techniques to stay calm, you can improve your quality of life.