Stress can have massive impacts on your health. Symptoms of stress include headache, anxiety, depression, memory and concentration issues, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
We have all experienced stress at some point or another, but what can you do about it? We've put together a list of the top ten ways you can reduce and better manage your stress - getting you one step closer to a healthier (and happier) life!
1. Exercise: Activities like walking or jogging that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups raise our levels of anti-stress hormones and improve our sleep quality and our self-image.
2. Supplements: Try stress-reducing products like lemon balm, omega-3 fatty acids, valerian, green tea, and kava kava, either alone or in combination. Aromatherapy with candles and essential oils also calm the mind and body. Bergamot, frankincense, geranium, lavender, and orange blossom are among the most popular.
3. Cut back on caffeine and nicotine: These commonly consumed substances stimulate the central nervous system which can increase productivity in the short-term but can also increase anxiety.
4. Journal: Writing our troubling thoughts and feelings down on paper often helps to remove them from our minds. Also, regularly jotting down the things we’re grateful for redirects our thoughts to the positive aspects of our lives.
5. Chew gum: Several studies have shown that chewing gum promotes relaxation, and the effect is enhanced with stronger chewing.
6. Invest in relationships: Spending quality face-to-face time with friends and family members provides a sense of belonging and self-worth that resets our nervous system to calmer thought and behavior patterns. Relationships with our pets can achieve many of the same benefits.
7. Laugh: Humor has the direct opposite effect of stress on our bodies. It relaxes tight muscles and improves our moods. Studies have also shown improved immunity among people who regularly enjoy a hearty laugh.
8. Say no: Understanding and working within your limits of time and energy can reduce the needless stress of overcommitment. Say yes only to things that really matter. Do fewer things, but do them better. Create a healthy margin in your life where you can relax.
9. Don’t procrastinate: Stay on top of your agenda and finish well ahead of deadlines. Make a daily to-do list and prioritize it. Enjoy the satisfaction of crossing things off as you complete them and reward yourself with adequate rest, recreation, and relaxation.
10. Be quiet: Find a time and place to pray, meditate, and consciously release your stress. Deep breathing activates the nerves that control your relaxation responses.
There are many factors in our lives that are beyond our control, but managing the things we can control greatly diminishes stress. Developing good habits that manage our time, our money, our health, and our relationships can go a long way to reduce the stress in our lives!
Want more ideas for reducing your stress? Schedule a call with our educator, Kent, to discuss other ways to stay on the right track!
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