GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – I don’t know about you ladies, but I’ve been feeling SUPER stressed out these past few weeks. This month just seems to be so busy! The holidays are definitely over and the “after-the-holidays” grind and is in full swing and it seem like you’re in constant catch up mode. I know I feel like that anyways and it’s stressing me out! There’s always somewhere to be and something to do…I can’t even find time to celebrate my small daily victories like deciding to go for the salad instead of the burrito at lunch or forcing myself to go to the gym after a long day at work….HELP! I’m hitting the slow down button on life right now and getting my self together with these 10 scientifically proven ways to de-stress. We all deserve to relax a little and spend some time smelling the roses.
1. Go For A Walk
Sometimes all you need to relax is a little fresh air! Even if you only go on a 10 minute walk this quite time in a peaceful setting rejuvenates the mind and releases endorphins. Going for a walk goes along with this theory known as “Involuntary Attention ” which happens when something is able to hold our attention, while simultaneously allows for reflection at the same time. This puts us in the “meditation” like state which naturally allows our bodies to relax.
2. Just Breathe
My family has this saying for whenever things seem chaotic or stressful that goes “breathe in with the good, and breathe out with the bad,” turns out we were on to something! Taking a deep breath can actually really help reduce tension and minimize your stress. In yoga, breathing is actually referred to as “your life source” because of how important oxygen is to your body. When you take a deep breath you are inhaling a larger amount of oxygen than usual which gives your body a little extra boost and relaxes it. When you’re stressed out your breathing can become shallow, minimizing your oxygen intake increasing blood pressure and can cause your body to tense up. Doing breathing exercises or even just taking a few deep breaths will greatly decrease your stress level. Just breath ladies, all storms run out of rain eventually.
3. Buy Yourself A Plant
Ok this may sound weird but it’s actually not a bad idea. Washington State University did a study with a group of stressed-out people. The group who walked into a room with plants had a lower blood pressure level than the people in the group that walked into a plant less room. Plants are natural air purifiers and clean fresh air actually can help calm you down. It may sound weird but maybe trying putting some more house plants in your home or have a little one on or near your desk to decrees your stress levels. How can you stress out when you’re surrounded by pretty flowers right?
4. Send Your Mind On a Vacation
We all can’t afford to go on a vacation every time we feel stressed…we have things to do and get done! Unfortunately it’s just not always an option, however you can send your mind on vacation whenever you’re stressing out. Take a moment, whether at home or at your desk in the office and just close your eyes. Visualize a nice relaxing scene maybe its your favorite beach, or some place you’ve always wanted to go, maybe seeing yourself in the future accomplishing a goal brings you peace whatever it is just visualize it and keep that picture in your mind. Whenever you start to feel stressed, think of this picture and visualize it in your head. What this does is it uses “guided imagery” to trigger a relaxation response in your body which can help you find your balance again. I’m totally trying this!
5. Separate Yourself From Your Screen
I’m sure you’ve heard this before but it is so true! Researchers have proved a correlation between uninterrupted screen use is not only associated with stress but also sleep deprivation and depression in women. YIKES! The best thing for you to do is to give yourself some screen breaks at work – go get some water, another cup of coffee, anything that takes you away from your screen! This gives your eyes a break and gives your neck and shoulders a chance to relax. We hold a lot of stress and tension in your necks and shoulders so giving these muscles a chance to relax can reduce your stress level. Another thing you can do is make sure that you’re turning off your screens about an hour or so before you go to bed. This will increase your quality of sleep making you less tired which in turns translate to less stressed out!
6. Turn Up The Tunes
Have you ever heard or seen someone put on classical music while they work? Well there’s a reason to this madness, and good news you don’t have to like classical music to enjoy musical stress reducing benefits! Listening to any music you like can release feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine in your brain. These positive neurochemicals have positive influences on your body and on your mind which reduces your stress levels. Music soothes everyday anxiety so cranking the tunes in highly stressful situations is a great stress release!
7. Treat Yourself!
Go ahead, you can have one…or better yet you deserve one! If you’re stressing out and all you want is a piece of candy or a little something, go for it. Treat yourself! Indulging in a sweet treat or drink every once in a while can be beneficial. Sugar is soothing because it’s part of the makeup of the stress hormone, glucocorticoid. I’m not saying completely go crazy and take your feelings out on your kids Halloween candy or anything but a reasonable sized treat can do wonders in releasing stress.
8.Anyone Have Any Gum?
Personally, I love gum! I think it’s a great stress reducer because you can get all your frustration out while you chew. Sure you might sound like a mad cow, but who cares if you’re reducing your stress…like sorry, not sorry. Researchers however have a much more scientific explanation as to why gum chewing reduces stress. According to a test done by Andrew Scholey, a Ph.D., professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, chewing gum relieves anxiety, improves alertness, and reduces stress – especially in multitasking situations. Who knew gum could solve your life problems while freshening your breath at the same time!
9. Have Some Gal Pal Time
Your BFFs are your BFFs for a reason! Call them and hang out when your feeling stressed. Your friends are there to support you and give you a safe place to let off some steam. Sometimes just getting your stressful thoughts out and hearing them for yourself can make you feel better. Venting gives you the opportunity to regroup and collect your thoughts. Venting to your friends gives you the added benefit of having fun because you’re hanging out with a good gal pal who is making you forget all about your stress. Who knows maybe your friends will have some good advice for you to eliminate some sources of your stress all together. Sometimes we just need a little help from our friends.
10. Get Your Knit On
Who doesn’t like a good homemade scarf, or sweater, or really anything? Apparently you can enjoy all of these things and reduce your stress at the same time with one simple craft – knitting! The repetitive motion is known to sooth anxiety. Mindfulness expert Dr. Herbert Benson agrees and believes the repetition of a sound, word, phrase prayer, or movement can help reduce your anxiety due to a developed comfortability you have with whatever it is you keep doing or repeating. The repetitive sound or movement is a natural and familiar action bringing comfort to you which reduces stress levels. Also by focusing on a simple task you are subconsciously setting aside intruding thoughts which will also reduce your stress.