5 Ways to Relieve Stress

Stress is a normal part of life, in fact, some stress helps us. Think back to a time when you had to give a presentation at school or work, some stress probably motivated you to prepare for the presentation instead of taking a nap or going out with friends. Our body’s nervous system is designed to respond to stressors, one term people often use to describe this response is ‘flight-or-fight’. Stress becomes problematic when our bodies are in a constant state of stress. When our bodies are under too much stress for an extended period of time we can begin to see the impacts physically and emotionally. Below are a few tips to help you ease your mind and body to relax and hopefully relieve some stress. 

Exercise

As physical stress goes up on our body through physical exertion, mental stress goes down. Creating a consistent exercise routine will help you reap the most benefits. According to the American Heart Association adults should try to get at least “150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic” exercise a week. Additional benefits to regularly exercising include improved mood, strengthened muscles and bones, and can increase energy levels. Another added benefit to a regular exercise routine is it may lead to better sleep. If you are not one who enjoys going to the gym, that is okay. There are many ways to move our body and get the needed exercise for our general wellness. Try a new sport or find new hiking trails in your area. The important thing is finding ways to move your body that you enjoy. 

Write it down

Keeping a journal is a great way to track milestones and growth. Writing the good and bad allows you to look back and reflect. Writing in a journal is also a good way to unwind and the end of a day and can prepare you for a better night’s sleep. Try writing what you are stressed about. Sometimes putting our problems down on paper lets us see them proportionally to what they really are and solutions will become clear. Writing down our problems can also give us the validation that yes, the situation is not ideal. When writing down what is stressing you, try completing the following sentence, “All I have to do right now is—-”. Lastly, do not forget to take time to write down what you are grateful for. Making a list of gratitude can shift our perspective, giving us a fresh outlook on life. One study published by the University of Gonzaga in 2015 showed that people who better show gratitude are likely to attract new friends, which is also a great way to reduce stress.

Spend time with friends and family

Spending time with friends and family often brings a feeling of a sense of belonging and self-worth. Aristotle taught, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.” Those around us can have a big influence on our life. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a time-out and get dinner with a friend. Building a network of people who are willing to step up and be your own personal cheerleader will help you both in times of difficulty and happiness. Not sure where to start with re-establishing friendships or other relationships after distancing yourself? Try sending a funny story or joke to your friend/family. Laughter is a great way to bond and can bring happiness to everyone involved. Making time to build relationships is well-worth the investment. 

Deep breathing

Breathing exercises provide both mental and physical benefits to users and do not need to take an hour to be effective. Try this five minute breathing exercise and observe how you feel before, during, and after. 

 

Resonant Breathing

  1. Find a quiet place to sit or lay down
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Inhale for 4-6 seconds
  4. Exhale for 4-6 seconds (the same length that you inhaled for)
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 for 5-10 minutes

 

The goal behind resonant breathing is to have 6 or less breaths per minute. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system and slows your heart rate. 

CBD Oil

CBD Oil is a plant derived product that has been getting a lot of attention in the U.S.. since it became federally legal in 2018. Scientists have noted that cannabinoids produced by Hemp plants are similar to those produced by our bodies endocannabinoid system. The goal of our endocannabinoid system is to help our body establish homeostasis, or in other words, help our body find balance. When our bodies find homeostasis we are better able to cope with daily stressors and anxiety. CBD oil has the potential to help you get a better night’s rest, which in turn will help you be healthier and happier. 

Although small amounts of stress is a normal part of life, you do not need to live in a constant state of stress and exhaustion. Take time to figure out which ones of these methods of stress relief can be incorporated into your daily life. There are also many other great things you can try like finding a new hobby or jumping back into an old one. Remember, there is not a magical formula that works for everyone, it might be a trial and error process but keep going until you find what works best for you!