Whether it’s school, work, family, or something else entirely, life has a tendency to pull us in a million different directions. With all of these areas requiring constant upkeep and attention, it can be hard to remember to make some time for yourself! But if you want to keep functioning at your absolute best, maintaining healthy levels of stress is a must. But how exactly do we do that when we have a million different things calling for our attention? Although it seems impossible at times, there are ways we can incorporate little stress relievers into our lives, and today, I’m going to list a few of those ways!
If you’ve been to my site before, you know that I’m big on this one. One of the best forms of stress relief is exercise! It produces endorphins that act as pain relievers to your body (Fun Fact: when scientists first discovered this chemical in the 1970s, they first called them, “endogenous morphine” because of how they acted like drugs for the body!). These hormones are secreted every time we work out and exercise our bodies, and they are great for relieving the stress that accompanies everyday life.
Another nice thing about exercise is that it doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your day if you don’t want it to. Studies have shown that even going for a 20 minute walk each day leads to an increase in levels of happiness and positivity within the body.
2. Light a Candle
Not all forms of stress relief have to be big or grandiose actions. Something as simple as lighting a scented candle can go a long way in terms of stress relief. Using scented materials to help regulate your mood is called aromatherapy. Studies have shown that using this type of “scent therapy” can decrease anxiety and depression as well as improve sleep (which is a big stress causer in and of itself).
There are many different scents out there to choose from, but some of the best in terms of stress relief are:
- Ylang ylang
3. Write it Out
A third option for stress relief is to take a few minutes and just write down everything that is bothering you. Or, if you would prefer, you can take another approach and write down everything that you are grateful for. Both of these options are a great way to take a step back from things and either visualize what is going wrong and what you might do about it or what is going right and how you can recognize and be grateful for it.
4. Take a Deep Breath
When life starts going really fast, we tend to get so caught up in it all that we forget to breathe. And I don’t just mean the shallow, mundane type of breathing that merely keeps us alive–I’m talking about those deep, meaningful breaths that help to re-center our focus and bring us back to the present moment. When was the last time you did one of those?
There are many different breathing techniques out there to choose from, but there is one in particular that aims to reduce anxiety and helps people when trying to fall asleep. This is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It is also known as the “relaxing breath,” and it involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and then exhaling for 8 seconds. This is one that I LOVE and recommend to everyone dealing with added levels of stress in their life (and who isn’t?).
5. Listen to Soothing Music
This is another simple, yet effective way to help manage and relieve stress. Music has a calming effect on our minds and our bodies, and if you choose the right kind, it can be a huge benefit in terms of stress relief!
There are countless genres and playlists to choose from, but it is most important to make sure you are choosing a type of music that helps you to feel calm and relaxed. What works for others might not work for you. Be sure to pay special attention to the areas of tenseness in your body, and try to recognize whether the type of music you are listening to adds to or takes away from that tenseness.
If you’re not sure where to begin, there are many platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music that make finding relaxing music easy. There are also many web articles and research studies showing various types of music and the effect it has on the body. In fact, there was a recent study done that found that the “most relaxing tune ever” was a track called “Weightless” by Manchester trio Marconi Union. If you haven’t heard it before, give it a try! My only advice would be to wait until you’re done driving to listen as it can be pretty effective at inducing sleep!
I hope these 5 areas of stress relief were helpful! Make sure to follow the blog so you don’t miss future mind and body tips to come!