Stress is a fact of life. Sorry to break the news to you but it’s true; and some of it is actually good! Without some stress, we wouldn’t be motivated to get out of bed, be on time for that meeting, or get everything done in time for our wedding. It comes down to ‘managing stress’ and so when your stress becomes out-of-control, come back to this guest post by Adana Baro and relax a bit!
“It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye
Physical stress is easier to remedy than mental and emotional stress. Seeing as the latter two always have manifestations in the physical aspect, this article will instead concentrate on methods to ease your physical stress—fast.
Stress is triggered by many external factors. Work, exhaustion, colleague/peer pressure, and so forth. Inside the body though, it’s all chemical. Various chemicals and hormones (particularly cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine) flood the bloodstream and force the body to shift into flight or fight mode. That means sweating and an increased heart rate. The body then experiences a massive energy slump or fatigue afterwards.
You don’t have to wait for the adrenaline high to go down before you can do something about being stressed. If you feel that your body is being pushed to its limits, here are some things you can do to calm yourself and bring down the stress chemicals in your body:
- Play with animals. Yes, this can be a very effective stress reliever, especially if you are fond of dogs and cats to begin with. This will work because playing with animals will take your mind completely away from what’s causing your stress (unless, of course, if the cause of stress is the animal in front of you. In which case you’ll be better off skipping to the next item in this list). In fact, Yale and Harvard have therapy programs wherein students may “rent” pooches to help ease their stress during exam periods. These programs are acknowledged to be a huge success, even attracting students and other customers outside the universities.
- Eat dark chocolate. The cocoa in chocolate is rich in calories, antioxidants and neurochemicals. Basically, it gives you additional energy to continue with its activities and at the same time, it lowers cortisol levels in the body. Cocoa also increases endorphins, which is known as the happy hormone.
- Stretch and Exercise (if you can wing it). Exercising does a lot for the body, but for this purpose, its greatest benefits are releasing your pent-up energy and increasing the body’s production of endorphins. Remember that stress conditions activate the body’s flight-or-fight mode. That’s why when you feel stressed, you get this strange urge to grab your hair, stomp around, scream, hit something, and so forth. Instead of doing any of these destructive things, you can release it all through exercise. Even simple stretching and jumping jacks may be able to release some of your tension.
- Take a Short Break. If your work is what’s causing you stress, or if you are in the company of people who are stressing you out, take a short break and remove yourself from the room. Your brain and body will benefit from the break, even if it’s only for 10 to 15 minutes. During that time, do something else to de-stress. You can munch on a dark chocolate bar or climb a few flights of stairs, for instance.
- Read or Watch Something Funny. Laughter can be a very effective stress reliever. This is largely psychological, but studies show that mirthful laughter actually promotes the release of endorphins in the brain. This is why when you laugh, most of your muscles are at rest and any existing pressure or stress is released.
- Do Breathing Exercises. Deep breathing can help relax the muscles and bring oxygen to the brain. It helps stabilize your blood pressure and calm the fast beating of your heart. This is highly recommended especially if you are already feeling fatigued and cannot focus on your work.
- Prepare Soothing Scents. It depends for each person, but the general consensus is that lavender, apple, peppermint, coconut and various orchids are the most calming scents around. Find a scent that works for you and stock it. There are kits sold in the market today that consists of portable burners and scent oils or herbs. If you prefer not to use burners, you can easily purchase an electric apparatus or a packet/can of Glade. (Editor’s Note: Live Lighter recommends natural scents rather than the commercialized, artificial ones.)
- Prepare a Bath. Actually what you’re going to do here is hydrotherapy. The warm water is soothing to tense muscles. It doesn’t even have to be a bubble bath. Add real, fragrant flowers or any choice herbal baths to enhance the effects of the therapy. You can choose the scent that relaxes you the most. The only letdown is that you can only do this at home.
- Have Comfort Food at Hand. Each of us has a preferred comfort food that gives you an incredible sense of satisfaction, minimizing mental stress, at least somewhat. If it’s not chocolate, there might be another kind of food you love the most: juicy hamburgers, donuts, New England Clam Chowder, etc. Comfort foods are usually not very healthy, but they increase their worth as stress-relievers because when you eat them, you feel so indulged and gratified. (Editor’s Note: Just make sure when using comfort food to lower your stress that you aren’t reaching for that crutch ALL the time.)
Observe your body’s reactions to these tips and remember which works best for you. Stock what needs to be stocked, or formulate a routine so that when the need arises, you can quickly jump into your anti-stress routine.
About the Author
Adana Baro is a professional blogger who enjoys writing about nutrition, health, wellness, and beauty. She currently writes blogs and guest blogs for Pender Medi Spa. The medical spa specializes in Vancouver Juvederm treatments.
Do YOU have a de-stressor that works for you time-and-time again? If so, please share it with us!