Stress, whether it be caused by an upset coworker, meeting a tough deadline or any other difficulty life throws at you, can lead to real physical problems in the human body. Constant stress has been tied to conditions like headache, appetite loss, mood swings and even heart disease. De-stressing your life doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take a dedication to take time away from your daily routine to turn that attention towards relaxing. Take a look at these ten tips and find out which ones will work best for you.
Science has again and again proven the effectiveness of even short periods of meditation. There are many techniques for meditating, but they all have the same goal of centering and focusing the mind. An important element to learning meditation is to not go too fast. Start with five or ten minute meditations, then move up in time from there. Even spending five minutes doing breathing exercises is enough to bring your mind back to a realm of focus, keeping it from being overwhelmed and overstressed.
- Pick Up an Instrument
Creative expression has been shown to alleviate stress by engaging different areas of the brain. Listening to music has also been linked to stress relief, so learning and playing a musical instrument is doubly effective at stress relief. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be taking it too seriously, but instead have fun with the sound. By the time you return to your work you’ll have a better perspective on it and as a bonus, you can start a new garage band.
- Pet an Animal
The effectiveness of therapy animals has been widely accepted by the scientific community, and makes complete sense to anyone who’s ever spent five minutes scratching and petting a favorite pet. Ear scratching and belly rubs aren’t just good for your stress levels though, I’m pretty sure your dog will enjoy it too.
- Go for a Ten Minute Walk
The health benefits of walking, even for short periods are widespread, not the least of which is the elimination of stress. The repetitive motion as well as fresh air and sunlight all contribute to relaxing the mind. Bonus points if you head to a dog park to pet the animals. Keep in mind, the walk doesn’t have to be strenuous in any way, so keep your carabiner at home!
In this age, most of our stress-causing factors are found on our computers and phones, so shut them down for a half hour. Take time away from whatever is making your life difficult at the moment. These short little vacations away from the work world can do wonders towards refreshing and revitalizing your work ethic.
- Get a Massage
Now you don’t have to pay for one, and it doesn’t even have to be particularly skillful. We share the same primate grooming response as our cousins in the monkey and ape world. Being touched by another person immediately releases hormones that relax and reassure the mind. Find a friend or spouse and ask for a quick back rub, you won’t regret it.
Build a list or schedule of the things that need to happen during the day, and be sure to include relaxation time. Taking big tasks in small chunks keeps the work manageable. Make sure that when you scratch something off the list, you acknowledge and appreciate your accomplishment. Keeping your thinking positive and self-affirming in this way is a great way to avoid stressing and spinning your wheels.
- Take Care of Yourself
Though a pretty obvious tip, this is one of the most important. A good diet and plenty of sleep goes a long way towards having a healthier outlook on the world. Though sometimes it feels impossible to fit in a healthy meal and a good night’s rest, work hard to schedule around these essential elements towards a less stressful life. It’s amazing just how much brighter the world seems after eight hours of rest instead of six.
- Find Something Funny and Laugh
As if you needed more incentive to laugh, true or even fake laughing have both been shown to release stress as well as a host of other health benefits. Whether its a viral video, a standup routine or just a friend who knows how to make you giggle, seek it out and bask in the joy of a good laugh. Not only does it make your life a little more fun, it makes it a lot healthier.
Hopefully this list has given you a few ideas for a how to take the stress out of your life, and remember, it’s not difficult, it just takes a determined effort. Good luck, and hopefully this human/cat hybrid gets you started on laughing!