Reducing Stress In Your Life

STRESS affects everybody every day. Stress can make you more susceptible to infections, headaches, and can even cause serious health problems. Try some of these quick techniques to reduce stress in your life and improve your mental and physical health.



Try “progressive relaxation” before you get out of bed in the morning. The idea is to tense up a group of muscles so that they are as tightly contracted as possible. Hold them tense for a few seconds and then relax them. You will find that by tensing the muscles first you are able to relax them more than you would if you just tried to relax them directly. Tense your feet, then relax them. Move up to your legs, buttocks, abdomen, chest, hands, shoulders and face. Once you learn the technique, you can use it throughout the day.



Listen to twenty minutes of upbeat music every morning to jumpstart your day. It triggers endorphins to make you happy and reduce anxiety.



A good laugh reduces the level of stress hormones in the body. The effects of a good belly laugh can last a whole day. Even thinking about a funny situation can calm some people. Read funny stories or watch funny movies. Take time to laugh out loud.



Letting your feelings out is a healthy way to relieve stress. Talk, laugh, cry and show you are angry when you need to. If you don’t feel like talking, keep a journal and write down whatever it is that is bothering you. Getting things off your chest will help a lot.



Exercising regularly can reduce feelings of anxiety and help improve sleep. Even taking a five or ten minute walk to calm down when you are feeling stressed can stop the stress response.



Practice slow, deep breathing. For five minutes sit quietly and take deep breaths - inhaling for five seconds or so and then exhaling for five seconds. This not only calms you but also forces you to stretch your shoulders and loosen up tight shoulder muscles.



Surround yourself with calming fragrances. Researchers at Yale University have discovered that the fragrance of apples can not only relax a person but can actually reduce anxiety attacks. Other calming scents to try are mulled cider, lavender, vanilla, ginger or citrus.



Spending time with family and friends, even caring for your pet, can help you relax when stress becomes a problem. Having close friends and family on whom you can count provides comfort and reduces stress.



Try practicing daily meditation. It can ease stress by helping your body learn to relax. There are many tapes available on the market to help you learn to relax and meditate. I really like Doreen Blumenfeld’s Journey Into Deep Relaxation.


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