“Don’t worry, be happy.” If only it were that easy, right? It seems like stressful situations are all around us, lurking around corners waiting to pounce just when we think we’ve got it all under control. Then that’s how we end up feeling—like we have no control. While we may not be able to control the cause of our stress, we can control how we manage it.
De-stressing is a huge factor in being holistically healthy. Not only does stress affect us mentally, it also affects us physically. It has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including mood disorders, loss of sleep, appetite problems, and even heart disease. Contributing to those health issues are the choices people make when they are under stress, such as eating unhealthy food, avoiding exercise, smoking, or drinking too much alcohol.
The good news is that we can change the way we handle stress. Here are some tips to help you manage your stress, instead of letting your stress manage you.
There are lots of techniques and practices you can employ when life starts to stress you out.
Laugh out loud
There may be some truth to that saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” Not only does laughter make you feel better mentally, it actually has some physical benefits:
- Stimulates organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air; stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles; and releases endorphins in your brain.
- Activates and relieves your stress response. A good belly laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response. It can also increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, leaving you feeling calm and relaxed.
- Soothes tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
- Laughter can also have some long-term benefits, such as improving your immune system (positive thoughts release neuropeptides that help fight stress), relieve pain, increase personal satisfaction, and improve your mood long-term.
So, whether it’s firing up your favorite comedy, watching a comedian do stand-up, playing a series of silly cat videos, or laughing because someone is trying to work the remote after you took the batteries out (oops!), find your go-to “Stay Calm and Laugh On” moments.
There have been many studies done on the benefits of meditation. Just a few of the benefits include stress reduction, emotional health benefits, increased self-awareness, improved memory, and so much more. So, if you’re looking for a way to quiet the “monkey mind” and achieve a state of calm, meditation is the perfect way to do that. It doesn’t cost anything, and you can meditate anywhere. The true benefits of meditation come from focusing your thoughts and eliminating the jumbled mess inside your mind generated by stress.
There are many different types of meditation, so don’t be afraid to explore your options and see what feels right for you. Consider guided meditation where you visualize imagery that relaxes you or practicing yoga.
We all know the benefits of exercise. It’s not only good for our bodies and a key to staying healthy, but it also does wonders for our mental state. Whether you’re a runner, a walker, a biker, a swimmer, a dancer, or you play a sport, do aerobics, or are a yogi, you generate endorphins and feel better about life after you exercise. It’s just a fact.
Thanks to a 24-hour news cycle, we see bad news all over the world and in our own communities. With updates constantly sent to our phones, we all need to get away. Even if you can’t physically go to another location without TV or the internet, take time during your day to unplug and breathe. Skip the news for a day (there will be more tomorrow). Avoid social media. Have a tech-free lunch break.
De-Stress Your Way
We all have our own unique way of eliminating stress. So, keep exploring what is right for you. Here are a few of my favorite ways:
- CBD! It comes in all forms these days: teas, sparkling elixirs, tinctures, lotion, salve, bath balms, etc.
- Take a warm bath.
- Read a book. Or two.
- Do a puzzle.
- Color or paint.
- Use essential oils and a diffuser to create a soothing atmosphere.
- Take a walk or run in the park.
- Do kickboxing! Get that stress out.
- Snuggle with your favorite furry friend.
- Listen to soothing music, or hip hop if that makes you happy.
- Find time to be outside and just watch nature. It’s amazing.
To live your best calm life, remember to breathe in and breathe out.
Looking for more ways to de-stress, check out this article from best-selling author Lisa Unger on finding creativity in chaos.