Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out? You are not alone.
Life can be pretty hectic these days, with work, family, and social obligations piling up faster than you can say ‘uncle’!
So let’s take a step back from the chaos of life and focus on some practical ways we can kick off our journey to a calmer state of mind starting today?
Here are 7 simple yet effective ways to reduce our stress levels – no fancy gadgets or exotic trips needed!
Let’s get started reducing those cortisol levels ASAP!
How Stress Affects the Body
Stress isn’t something to be taken lightly, but it’s definitely something that most of us can relate to on an intimate level. In stressful situations, our hearts beat faster, our stomachs may have butterflies, and we may have a hard time sleeping.
We all know the physical effects of stress on our bodies, but how deeply does stress really go?
The answer is deeper than you might think – stress influences nearly every system in our bodies, from breathing and digestion to immunity and cognitive function. What’s more is that these effects are cumulative: without proper management, ongoing stress can lead to some serious health concerns which include:
- Headache & migraine
- Insomnia/ sleep problems
- Decreased immune system
- High blood sugar
- High blood pressure
- And the list goes on!
Here’s the good news though: Stress is manageable, even if it feels overwhelming at times! I promise!!!
Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress. Not only does it release endorphins, which are natural mood boosters, but it also helps to clear your mind and improve your overall well-being.
Even a short walk or jog can make a big difference. For a bigger bang for your buck, invite a friend to hit the trails with you or schedule a workout class with your partner.
Having a buddy not only increases your chances of keeping up your fitness routine, but having a support system/community around us on a regular basis helps keep us grounded.
Already short on time to hit the gym? I get it! Try this primal movement workout that you can do anywhere!
Meditation is a powerful tool for reducing stress and improving overall well-being. It helps to clear your mind and relax your body.
There are many different types of meditation, including guided meditation, mindfulness meditation, and yoga. And even apps that can make the process easy breezy!
Having a super stressful day? Meditation can be a quick-fix to help you reverse your body’s stress response and physically RELAX!
This is what it looks like:
- Take two short, quick inhales through your nose
- Exhale one long deep breath through the mouth
3. Get enough sleep
Obviously, Lack of sleep can contribute to stress and anxiety. Practice good sleep hygiene and aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to ensure that your body and mind are well-rested and refreshed.
Sometimes stress can keep us up at night, furthering the downward spiral… if this is you, try journaling before you go to bed to get all your thoughts and feelings down on paper and out of your head!
Speaking of… Journaling is the ultimate form of stress relief: it’s low energy, rewarding, and best of all – it helps you to get your thoughts out of your head. Although it may sound like some hippy-dippy activity, it’s a proven method for managing stress.
Keeping a journal allows you to focus on what matters most as you reflect on your life. It can also provide an outlet for feeling so you don’t end up bottling everything up inside.
In other words, instead of silently suffering with stress in sadness and loneliness, writing about it once in a while allows the steam to blow off before things build up too much.
5. Spend time in nature
Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives by spending time in nature can be an incredibly healthy way to manage our stress levels.
Often thought of as a calming balm for aspects of life such as mental and physical health, recent studies suggest that there might even be more to it – spending time in nature could have positive effects on things as diverse as happiness, creativity, productivity and more.
So why not take a little break from the hectic urban lifestyle and step out into the wilderness… get lost!
Take a walk in a park, go for a hike, or simply sit outside and enjoy the beauty of nature.
6. Connect with others
It is no mystery that socializing with friends and family can reduce stress. Recent studies have demonstrated that when we spend time with the people we care about, we release oxytocin, a hormone associated with relaxed and emotional feeling.
In addition to this physiological experience, engaging in communities allows us to take our minds off the matters causing us distress and simply spend quality time with those we love.
So pick up the phone and spend time with friends and family, or join a support group for people dealing with similar stressors as you. Even doggie cuddles help a bunch!
7. Make time for hobbies and interests
Hobbies and interests can help to take your mind off of stress and improve your overall well-being. For example, my running hobby is a great stress reliever!
As a matter of fact, research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from low mood, stress and depression.
Any activity that gets you out and about can improve your stress markers.
Whether it’s reading, writing, or playing a musical instrument, make sure to set aside some time each day to do something truly you enjoy.
How you can relieve stress each day
Taking time for yourself daily is a very underrated activity.
Stress relief activities are not only good for your physical health, but often times more important for our mental health.
Working hard and pushing yourself every single day can make it feel like you’re in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion (and ultimately lead to massive burnout).
But taking the time just for YOU can be rewarding and empowering.
Remember: It doesn’t need to take up too much time either; even just 10 minutes a day dedicated to doing something special can help you reboot and refocus on what matters. You deserve to give back to yourself, so why not start with these stress-relief activities tdoay?
Understanding Your Stress Hormones
Stress hormones are powerful tools that, when monitored and kept in balance, can work in harmony with other hormones and bodily processes to keep you feeling good. (Really good!)
However, when they become imbalanced, stress can lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes in a hurry!
Our main stress hormones include cortisol, plus adrenaline and norepinephrine. Cortisol is good in small doses, but when it becomes chronic stress, that’s when the issues start!
By incorporating the tips above, you can have more control and decrease your stress hormones…. then be on the way to better emotional well-being today!
Stress relief is different for everyone
Obviously, stress management is a tricky thing to master! And the way each of us combat stress is very different…
Some people like to flex their creative muscles by painting, while others may find solace in talking out loud or writing thoughts down. Others may want to go outside and feel the sunshine on their skin.
Whatever sustains a person’s stress-free feelings can only be determined by them.
With countless ways to reduce stress, there’s something that works for everyone – even if it means taking five minutes just to breathe or walking around the block.
So don’t worry if you can’t seem to find the ultimate stress reliever for yourself: keep trying different things until you find one that checks all the boxes for you!
The wrap-up – Manage Stress on the Daily
Stress is an inevitable part of life and we all handle stress differently.
Regular exercise, meditation, adequate sleep, deep breathing, connecting with nature, connecting with others, and making time for hobbies and interests can all help to reduce stress level and improve overall well-being.
Remember to take care of yourself, and don’t hesitate to seek help if you find yourself struggling with stress.
You are WORTH IT!