Some minor challenges to some major crisis, stress is a part of life. Especially when you are, immensely affected by the pandemic, and, the economic slowdown, it is inevitable to keep oneself away from stress these days. It is indeed challenging, to relieve stress and find some peace in the midst of all these.
When you are overwhelmed with stress, it starts taking a toll on your health, as well as impacts other aspects of your life too.
That is why, it is primarily important for you to work out ways on how to relieve stress and calm your body and soul.
How your body responds to stress
When you are stressed, your body gives a “fight or flight” stress response through symptoms like increased blood pressure, faster heartbeat, and muscle tension. However, externally you may respond to stress in different ways.
Your specific stress response can help you identify the best way to quickly relieve stress.
- When you are angry, agitated, and emotionally disturbed, you are likely to respond best to the stress-relieving techniques, that calm you down.
- Similarly, if you tend to become depressed and withdrawn under stress, you are likely to respond best to the stress relief activities that are energizing and stimulating for you.
‘One size fits all’ might not be effective when it comes to stress relief. Consequently, what works for you might not do well with others and visa versa. So, it is important to know various stress-relieving techniques and opt for a strategy that works out best for you, under current circumstances.
How to relieve stress
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Let’s look at some techniques, which can help you relieve stress quickly.
Meditation is one of the effective and lasting ways to relieve stress naturally. Meditation involves deep breathing and relaxing your mind by clearing your thoughts. It requires you to choose one thought to focus on. You might also develop a mantra and repeat in your mind while taking a deep breath.
Another form of meditation is visualizing, which requires you to imagine a peaceful scene in your mind.
Choose a calm place at your home for practicing meditation, so that you can have some quiet moments alone.
While meditation and mindfulness require practice, practicing it for as little as 10 minutes can help you a great deal in reducing your stress levels.
2. Use your senses to relieve stress
Your senses can help you get attain quick relief from stress. It is one of the speediest and most reliable ways to do it, by engaging your senses – sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. Since each individual is different, so is the strength of their senses. So, you need to do some experimenting, to figure out, the sensory experiences which work best for you.
Once you know it, employ those techniques to quickly relieve stress. This will help you stay calm, focused, and productive.
You can try some of these and many additional ones, to find out the appropriate sensory technique which soothes your mind.
Guided Imagery Technique
This involves imagining yourself being in a “calm and rejuvenating place”, like – picturizing yourself, enjoying nature, watching the approaching waves, sitting on a beach, or enjoying the smell of the rain.
Simply close your eyes for a few minutes, engage yourself in the sensory experience, and imagine as you are there for real. After a few minutes, return to the present moment. You will notice your stress levels drop.
Aromatherapy relates to your sense of smell.
- Try lighting scented candles
- Surround yourself with fragrant flowers
- Experience the clean and fresh air outdoors.
- Or simply, wear your favorite perfume to soothe your senses and relieve stress.
Soothe Your taste Buds
If you are a foodie, nothing better can be a stress buster, than savoring your favorite treat. But, be careful, not to overindulge, as it will only add to your stress and your waistline too.
- Munch healthy snacks like fresh fruits and salads.
- Sip a steaming cup of cappuccino or latte.
- Other than that, you can try chewing gum, as chewing gum promotes blood flow to your brain, making it relaxed.
Healing through Sounds
- If you’re a music lover, listen to the music you enjoy.
- Listen to the calming music like a soundtrack of nature – the sound gushing waves, birds chirping, rustling of leaves, etc
- You may find the tingling of wind chimes soothing as well and help you relieve stress.
Feel The Touch
- Get yourself a body massage
- Get yourself into comfortable soft clothes
- If you are a pet lover, keeping your pet close to you will help you reduce stress.
3. Exercise for reliving stress
Needless to say, there are several benefits of exercising, it can help you reduce mental stress, is one of them. Consequently, if you exercise regularly, you are less likely to experience anxiety.
Exercising reduces your body’s stress hormone called ‘cortisol’. It also produces endorphins – a chemical that elevates your mood and acts as a painkiller too.
Therefore, a few minutes of any type of cardio activity, like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing, aerobic exercises, will help you relieve stress and anxiety naturally.
4. Practice Yoga
Practicing Yoga regularly is also an excellent way of relieving stress. It is a combination of meditation, light exercise, and controlled breathing, that provides multiple physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits.
Incorporating Yoga in your lifestyle, will keep you fit and benefit your health in the long term as well.
5. Practice muscle relaxation
Muscle relaxation is yet another effective de-stressing technique, which involves relaxing all the muscles in your body.
For this, you need to tense your muscles and hold it in a tensed position for 5 to 10 seconds, and then release them. This will instantly create a feeling of relaxation.
When you are stressed, you tense up your body. And when your body is tensed up, it reinforces the message to your mind to be stressed.
Initially, you may take some time to learn this de-stressing technique. However, with practice, you will learn and help your body and mind relax.
6. Eliminate factors, which add to the stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to get rid of the things which add to your stress. It may include:
Reducing caffeine intake
Reduce your caffeine intake, as high doses of caffeine, can cause stress and anxiety. Caffeine is a stimulant found in tea, coffee, and energy drinks.
Disconnecting yourself from digital devices.
If you are constantly connected to digital devices, about what’s happening around the world, then it can be sometimes depressing and may add to your stress and anxiety.
Make some lifestyle changes to combat stress and anxiety.
7. Jot it down
If you are not in a position to share your stress with someone, better express it by writing it down in your journal. Jotting down, what you are stressed about will help you feel lighter and thus, relieves stress.
However, do understand, that journaling isn’t a substitute for talking about your emotions. Sharing it with a trusted person in your life, might help you better.
8. Be grateful to your blessings
Being, grateful for what all you have in your life, will keep the negative thoughts and worries at bay.
Do not forget to celebrate your sweet childhood memories, good health, your accomplishments, mastering any task, or a new hobby.
When you are stressed, focus your thoughts on positives in your life. This will help you divert your attention from stress.
9. Engage yourself in creative work.
It’s not too late to pick up a hobby or any other activity which interests you for that matter. Getting in touch with your creative side may be a long-forgotten activity of your childhood, which might work out for you as an effective stress reliever.
However, if you are not much into painting and drawing, consider doodling, coloring geometric patterns, or designing Rangoli. All these can be of great help in relieving stress.
Research believes, that coloring can have a calming effect on your mind and has also shown that people who engage in coloring geometric patterns, their anxiety levels have dropped.
10. Reach out to your friends and family
Having supportive family and friends around can help you manage stress and get through stressful times. Being part of a supportive friends’ network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth.
Reach out to a family member or a friend, and confide your problems with them. This may help you come closer and get the emotional support you need from them, thus, helping you relieve stress.
11. Laugh out loud
It is well said that ‘laughter is the best medicine.’
Laughter relieves tension by relaxing your muscles and, also, relieves your stress response. It not only lowers ‘cortisol’, your body’s stress hormones, but also releases ‘endorphins, a chemical that elevates your mood.
So, when you are stressed, lighten up by tuning to your favorite comedy show, or simply chat with someone who has a keen sense of humor and makes you smile.
12. Take care of your financial health
Financial problems can impact you significantly, adding to your stress. High debts, low savings, volatile stock markets, real estate issues, and worries about a limited budget, can lead to poor physical and mental health, which can also affect your sleep and relationships.
Money can cause you stress, because of its serious consequences.
To manage money induced stress, plan for managing your finances by:
- Creating a monthly budget, and learning to operate within the budget.
- Keeping some money aside each month as compulsory savings,
- Creating a provision for unforeseen expenses.
- Cutting down unnecessary expenses and minimizing credit card usage.
- Investing in a Life Insurance Plan.
- Seeking for additional sources of income, like taking up a part-time job.
Keep a track of all your income and expenses. This will help you evaluate your current financial situation accurately and, reveal the areas where there is a scope to reduce your expenses or earn more.
Planning wisely your finances, and being aware of your financial well-being, well in advance, will make you feel in better control of your life and thus relieve stress.
13. Declutter your space
Chaotic environment can create more stress. If the mess, around you, is causing you stress, make it tidy.
Cleaning up your space will create a feeling of control. Simultaneously, the newly organized space, can give you a calming effect and help your mind relax.
Take some time, to organize your space, and feel refreshed instantly.
14. Eat A Balanced Diet
You must have observed, that when you are stressed, you often forget to eat. Instead, you resort to starchy and sugary snacks to instantly relieve stress and, elevate your mood.
Stress and a proper diet are closely linked. Though high sugary foods may instantly boost your mood, it can be detrimental to your health.
A well-balanced diet, consisting of all the vital nutrients, and food rich in omega- 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress.
15. Sleep Well
Last but not the least, adequate sleep is essential for our mind and body to function properly. Stress can cause you to lose sleep. Unfortunately, if you are deprived of sleep, it will cause more stress, only getting worse with time and affecting your health even more. Stress and inadequate sleep can lead to problems like hairloss, and slow metabolism too.
Give yourself some time to relax before going to bed. Follow a sleep routine and try to get seven to eight hours of sleep a day to be stress-free and get recharged for the next day.
Life has never been easy, but it seems exceptionally tough this year. Due to the pandemic, with all kinds of physical, emotional, and financial upheavals, it’s immensely distressing for everyone. We are all trying our best to manage our stress and, standing strong, next to our loved ones.
Krishna is a Management graduate in Human Resource. She is an avid reader, knowledge seeker, and an adoring mother of two lovely kids.