How To Relieve Stress | 5 Tricks to Reduce Stress
It is important to do what we can to relieve stress for our mental health and well being. While small amounts of stress can actually be beneficial in motivating us to pursue our goals and improving our performance, ongoing or excessive stress can weaken our healthy coping mechanisms and seriously damage our health, emotional wellbeing, and relationships.
The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is highly stressful for most people. The uncertainty and stress go hand in hand. And these days, all of us are feeling unsure and anxious about how long will this crisis last, whether we or someone close to us will get infected, how will the crisis impact our financial situation, or when will we be able to go back to school or work. These concerns are natural and expected.
Except for social distancing and self-isolation, there is not much we can do in situations like this one. However, we can make a conscious effort to keep our stress levels under control. So, here are a few stress buster ideas to help you alleviate tension.
1. Keep a Stress Journal
Keeping a stress journal is a great way to keep track of situations that trigger stress and emotional responses. Make sure to keep the journal daily and note the time, date, and place of stressful episodes. This will help you to notice what causes your stress and to track patterns of your stress responses. In other words, journaling can help understand how effective your behavior is in stressful situations, so you can come up with better stress-coping mechanisms.
Laughter is much more than a mere response to humor. Research has confirmed that laughter releases neurotransmitters such as endorphins (hormones of happiness) that interact with the opiate receptors in the brain and have an analgesic effect very similar to antidepressant medicaments.
At the same time, laughter increases energy and reduces tension by lowering the levels of cortisol and epinephrine, the stress hormones. According to some studies, laughter produces brain wave frequencies very similar to those of a state of mindfulness meditation, which improves focus, resilience, and ability to relax.
3. Meditate Regularly
Simple 10-minute mindfulness exercise can help regulate stress levels, decrease anxiety, and improve relaxation. Lie down or sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Breathe in, focus on filling your lungs with air and then slowly breathe out. This simple exercise will help quiet your brain, improve mood, and help you relax.
4. Get Enough Sleep
It’s hard to overstate the importance of sleep. Make sure you get eight to ten hours of sleep each night. Research shows that well-rested people are more resilient and have a stronger immune system. Being well-rested improves your ability to cope with stress and improves your overall well-being. If you struggle to get the proper amount of sleep, try meditating, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath before going to bed.
5. Do Some Gardening
Connecting with nature has energizing and rejuvenating effects. Gardening is a perfect outdoor activity if you are self-isolating. Tending to your garden is a calming activity that will provide distraction form things that trigger stress.
It has been scientifically proven that spending time in nature helps reduce stress. Apart from getting your daily dose of sunshine and vitamin D, gardening allows you to take in nature’s beauty, giving you a break from anxiety-provoking thoughts.