De-Stress Easily: How And Why You Need To Do It
A constantly ringing phone, a tightly-packed schedule and fighting kids. Stress can seem unavoidable, and, for many people, it is. In fact, the majority of American adults report feeling overly stressed, which is more than usual. While it may seem normal, the health implications of living a stressful life can be devastating – now it’s time to de-stress.
What is stress?
Stress is a natural response to dangerous situations. For example, if a dog starts barking at you, your brain will likely release more of the stress hormone cortisol in an instinctive response to protect itself. The body’s reaction to cortisol, increased blood pressure and faster heart rate, can be vital tools in a fight or flight response. It’s a natural way to defend yourself from danger.
Most modern stress, however, is typically not caused by a dangerous situation. Work, relationships and an unhealthy lifestyle can all wreak havoc on the nervous system, and it’s this everyday stress that can be harmful to your health. Unnecessarily keeping your body in a constant state of alertness and strain can lead to long-term health issues like high blood pressure, anxiety, and even heart disease.
For your health, it’s critical to find ways to de-stress that you can try every day. Here are four of the best, and easiest, ways to relax and clear your mind.
1. Try yoga
Yoga might seem like a foreign practice to some, but it has been found to have some serious mental health benefits, including an ability to lower stress levels. The slow movement, controlled breathing, and relaxing thoughts that are staples of yoga can all help you de-stress and clear your head of anxious thoughts.
Plus, yoga isn’t just retreats and hour-long sessions. If you have busy schedule, you can still fit yoga into your day. A quick routine before bed still allows you to reap the mental health benefits and improve your sleep. Even just a few minutes of concentrated breathing or meditation during a lunch break can improve your overall wellbeing.
2. Cook for yourself
Cooking has many benefits in stress management. Losing yourself in the flow of meal prep can be therapeutic, just as troubleshooting and problem-solving in the midst of a recipe can give you a sense of calming control. Cooking or baking can even act as a creative outlet, boosting happiness and feelings of relaxation and confidence.
These natural stress-relievers couple with the nutritional benefits of home cooked meals to set you up for a healthier day that doesn’t break the bank. In fact, eating healthier has been found to boost serotonin levels, the hormone that controls happiness.
3. Go outside
Like cooking, going outside has a two-fold benefit in stress management. First, the impact of physical activity on endorphin levels, and therefore, positive feelings of self-worth and excitement, cannot be overstated. Simply being outside, however, can also directly affect stress levels. Studies have found that spending time in the woods lowers cortisol levels as well as blood pressure.
Any kind of physical, outdoor activity can be beneficial for your stress levels. Try to get the entire family involved in order to stay motivated and boost social interaction. There are some great family and budget-friendly activities that come with the fall season. Raking leaves, navigating a corn maze or picking apples all make great and simple ways to look after your mental and physical health.
4. Get more sleep
Sleep is a crucial part of any healthy lifestyle, but it plays a particularly important role in stress management. Sufficient rest can help lower your blood pressure and feelings of anxiety, while also boosting your mood. In fact, getting enough zzz’s can help better prepare you to tackle future stress.
It’s recommended that adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night depending on their personal needs. If you struggle to hit that requirement, like most Americans do, you’re not out of luck! There are a lot of ways to improve your sleep quality. Try to keep your bedroom cool by setting your thermostat to around 68 degrees Fahrenheit and stay comfortable throughout the night. Another option is investing in a more supportive mattress and pillow set that allow your body to relax into slumber.
Bottom line on de-stress tactics
Stress is normal and will inevitably be part of our lives, at one level or another. By addressing and finding the best ways to respond to the stressors in your life, you set yourself up for improved mental and physical health. It’s important you find the right fit for your lifestyle and determine the best way to de-stress your lifestyle.