Stress is toxic to your body and mind. If it’s not addressed right away, it may lead to more serious problems affecting you physically and psychologically. Stress has two main causes; internal and external. Internal causes may include stuggling with yourself, thinking about something too much or thinking negatively, while external causes might include stress from your surrounding environment, workplace issues and negative people surrounding you. Now that the holidays are upon us, there can be additional holiday stress at hand.
The Science of Stress
Stress is a normal response to any stimuli that the body deems to be threatening. When the body has a sense of danger or somehow feels the threat, the body or mind will produce its automatic stress response. The body produces adrenaline and cortisol hormones, rousing the body to become alert and increase your reaction time.
Stress response isn’t all negative, rather it can also prompt you to protect yourself, be alert and energized. It can also prompt you to be competitive. However, when stress becomes too much and you have low stress tolerance, then it may take a toll on you. Stress overload and constant stress may lead to chronic stress.
20 Ways to De-stress and Enjoy Life
#1 Get active.
Exercising releases happy hormones. Sweat it out and you will be able to formulate those easy answers to your problems later. Hit the treadmill, use your gym membership or run in the open and relax with nature. Surely, you will be feeling less stressed and will be fitter to face more challenges.
#2 Reduce sugar intake.
Consuming lots of sugar when you’re stressed is a short term solution. When the sugar crash happens, you’ll feel worse than ever. So make sure you cut the consumption to avoid all other health consequences which may go with it. Sugar may also be filled with free radicals once it’s consumed haphazardly. The only way to battle these free radicals is to consume more food with anti-oxidants.
#3 Talk to a friend.
Have you ever had that experience of being consumed by your feelings, but it suddenly disappeared after talking to a friend? Talk to your best friend, go for a walk in the park or grab a cone of ice cream to help you overcome the anxiety you are feeling. It can be therapeutic, making you realize that you had so many options all along.
Sometimes your biggest stressor is your lack of naps. When everything gets too overwhelming, hit the pillows and snooze. Create a perfect sleeping environment, turn off or dim the lights, put away all the gadgets you have, take a warm shower or soak in a bath filled with aromatic oils, exercise for a few hours before and cut caffeine in the afternoon. With these preps, you’ll be able to relax without the meds and be rejuvenated the next morning.
#5 Get a hobby.
Your hobby should be close to your heart. It can also be something that will take you places and help you see new surroundings. Try painting and take a visit to the countryside. Try photography and travel to the pacific. Or, write and blog. These hobbies will make you more productive and are a good de-stressing activity.
#6 Get off Netflix or the TV.
Television can stress you out. It can act as stimuli especially if you are watching action packed movies or even seeing current news. The internet too can be a source of stress or can add to your already forming stressors. And this goes for your other gadgets, too. So if you think you’re getting something from watching The Walking Dead for 12 straight hours, then you’re wrong. Of course you’ll get to see a glimpse of Darryl and his crossbow but that doesn’t really make up for the half day of being sedentary. You could have taken a walk, cleaned the house or laughed with friends instead.
#7 Eat superfoods.
Superfoods can be your great escape from stress. Day by day, you can start including these foods in your diet so that you will increase your body’s antioxidant level, fighting more free radicals. These superfoods may include fruits, fish and other lean meats. It can come from supplements like a pack of Chia seeds or bottled fish oil for omega-3.
#8 Conquer your problems by taking small steps.
You don’t have to leap and jump right to your stressors to solve them. It will cause you more anxiety. Instead, take baby steps towards solving of your problem. Take the steps carefully and know every possible diversions that may help you lessen the burden.
#9 Get things in order.
Put your day to day to-do list in order. List them down in order of difficulty. Always strive to finish a day’s work. Ticking off your tasks will help you feel the satisfaction of finishing things. This will lighten the burden of your stressors.
#10 Take a shower.
Taking a shower helps you think plus it’s one way to be alone and contemplate on things. Focus on cleaning up or try to feel the water enveloping you. It can be very therapeutic as well.
#11 Go on that long vacation.
Why stress over the rush of this month when you can go and plunge in the cool blue waters of the islands in the Pacific? Leave the holidays alone and rush to a long vacation instead. But make sure before you go, you have finished all matters that are urgently needing attention and are important. This way, you won’t be thinking of them when sipping some tropical drinks. After this, you will feel invigorated, with all the stressors thrown away.
#12 Laugh a lot.
No, not alone or in the mirror (unless you are watching something funny on TV). Laugh with other people. See friends and talk about past mischief. It’s the time to reminisce. Or if a group reunion can’t be possible, call your closest friend and watch a comedy. That will surely shoo away any mounting stress you have.
#13 Reduce caffeine.
Caffeine can be addicting and it can also be one of the causes for your jitters. So try to cut off on soda, coffee and tea. Instead, go for fresh fruit juices. Get rid of caffeinated drinks from your refrigerator and replace them with fruit juices you squeezed and juiced yourself or you can buy them organic.
#14 Gather your bubble wrap!
So, have you got that package from online shopping lately? That may have contained bubble wrap you can pop for an hour. Bubble wrap popping is actually very therapeutic and fun to do. It takes your mind of things with your concentration focused on those little bubbles.
#15 Count ten things you are thankful for.
If you’re feeling a little low and burned out from various stressors, try to list down the things that you are thankful for at the moment. It can be your recent salary raise, your dog recovering from an operation or the chance to see a concert. Gratitude is one stress-alleviating feeling. List them down and find yourself smiling from ear to ear.
Writing is another way to ease the burden of your current problems. Write about them in your journal or on your blog. After writing, you will discover that you have so many avenues to solve these things as long as you know the causes.
#17 Know the root of your stress.
Check within yourself to find out what causes you to fret during these moment. Sometimes, these jitters may appear at the most unlikely times while the real reason is masked by your subconscious. Take time to meditate, pinpoint the real cause of your anxiety and stress and chop it up piece by piece. After that, you will be enlightened.
#18 Search for affirmations.
Always be positive in whatever you do. Face the mirror, smile and say affirmations to yourself. You can even do these affirmations for people around you. Say something positive about them. Next time, instead of critiquing your old worn shoes, be thankful they’re comfortable.
#19 Eat fish.
Fish contains the famous omega-3 fatty acids which is known to help various diseases. It can help alleviate stress, reduce mental conditions and strengthen the immune system. It can be taken in supplements or through fish consumption.
#20 Let go.
When there are things that are out of your grasp, don’t let them bother you. Be bothered only of things that are within our scope of decision and action. You can think about it but for only for a while. Then let it go.
Every problem has a solution. Every stress has a cause. Knowing the cause and planning the course of action will help you get over it fast. Now, breathe in and out and throw the stress out of the window.