Everybody stresses. It’s just a fact of life. However, while a little stress can actually help keep you focused, too much of it doesn’t do your body any favors.
In fact, multiple studies show that too much stress, over time, may actually lead to:
- Brain shrinkage
- Premature aging
- Heart problems
- Weakened immune system
But we know, we know, with so much to do and so little time, it feels impossible to take things down a notch and relax as much as you’d love to.
But…it’s not impossible.
7 Ways To Stress Less
You already do it anyway, so why not make it work for you? Sit up straight, close your eyes, and practice slowly inhaling. Try to visualize your breath actually rising up from your chest to your head. Count, if it helps you to better control your breathing. Using the same technique, exhale – slowly. Try to do this for several minutes throughout your day.
Instead of thinking about all the countless things you have to do, take a few minutes every day to just focus on your surroundings. Watch the clouds as they drift past your window. Pay attention to how your food tastes. If you’re going for a walk, listen to the sounds of your surroundings. Go to a park and watch how the wind blows through grass and trees. Also, you may want to add in a little meditation.
Experts say that when people spend time in the moment and focus on their senses, they tend to feel less stressed.
Study after study after study shows that a good laugh can lower cortisol, which is your body’s stress hormone (this is the same hormone that can make your body hold on to fat). Watch a funny movie. Go to a comedy club. Hang out with some friends that love to joke and laugh. Just laugh. And then laugh some more.
Get A Massage
There’s are few things as soothingly stress-relieving as a relaxing massage. Be sure to tell your massage therapist that you’re stressed, so that they can more effectively help you, such as by using particular aromatherapy oils or adjusting their massage techniques.
Listen To Music
Research shows that listening to certain types of music can lower stress, too. Create a playlist of songs that help you relax: this can be anything from jazz to the crashing of ocean waves.
Sitting at your desk? Get in the habit of getting up and taking a walk every day. Or at least get in a good stretch several times throughout the day.
In addition, try to work out regularly. In addition to helping your body stay healthy, exercise can boost your mental health and control your stress by releasing feel-good chemicals called endorphins inside your body.
It’s very difficult to stress less if you bottle up the things that are bothering you. Whether it be talking to a spouse, family member, friend or a mental health expert, talking about your feelings can help you figure out the best, and healthiest, ways to handle them.
Also, it’s not a bad idea to write in a journal every day. Write down whatever you’d like: what’s worrying you, what you’re grateful for, and/or things you hope for in the future. Getting your thoughts out of your head and into the universe is a key way to feel less stressed, and more fulfilled and content in life.