Stress is experienced when the demands on the body’s adaptive capacities outweigh its resources. To deal with useless stress, there are only 3 options: 1. Reduce demands, 2. Increase resources, or 3. Relieve or control stress. In the next article we will look at some methods to help you relieve your stress.
1. Breathing exercises: Breathing has been found to be a very effective stress relieving technique as it can be done anywhere and works quickly. Deep breathing will not only relax your muscles and calm your mind, it will also oxygenate your blood and give you more energy.
2. Music therapy: Nowadays, with the simplicity of using tools that allow you to carry your music with you in a small space, this is going to be very easy. Just load up your iPod or MP3 player with soothing music that you like to listen to. Turn it on and turn it inward as you sit on the bus to work or while waiting for the elevator. Research has found that, especially classical music, relaxes the body and mind and lowers blood pressure.
3. Meditation: Meditation involves the conscious use of the breath. As the mind concentrates on “nothing” and lets those thoughts pass like clouds in the sky, the entire system begins to effectively reduce the stress experienced. Schedule just 20 minutes in the morning as the first thing you do when you get out of bed. Find a suitable space in your home, light a candle and start the day relaxed. Alternatively, do it as the last thing before bed or when needed during the day.
4. Self-hypnosis and guided imagery: There are many CDs that offer relaxation techniques, guided visualizations, and guided hypnotic inductions. Hypnosis can help you kick bad habits, develop better habits, and reduce pain by speaking directly to the unconscious mind. Guided visualizations will help you as they can take you to a relaxing place, leaving stress behind and relaxing your body, even while on the bus. Make sure you don’t listen to those CDs while driving your own car.
5. Massage: Massage has been found to be one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. It improves your circulation, releases physical tension, and gives your body the nourishing effect and sensation of touch, which can be very healing. Make sure to book and enjoy a regular massage if you are under a significant amount of stress.
6. Go for a walk: Even if you have only 15 minutes, go for a walk. Physical exercise helps the body release endorphins, the chemicals that make you feel good, and reduces cortisol levels, which are directly related to the hormones that flood the body during times of stress. Whether you’re going to the park, walking around the block, or just stretching around the office, find an activity that suits you.
7. Talk to a friend: Social support can help you distract yourself and think about more than just your worries. Call a friend or loved one, download the events of the day with your spouse, and then remember to move on to something else, be it an activity you both enjoy, like going to the movies, or talking about a completely different topic.
Whatever you do, choose a technique that appeals to you and suits your needs and situation.