Over time, stress takes a major toll on both our minds and our bodies. Even just mild stress can impair our cognitive ability that controls fear and anxiety. Stress is linked to a weakened immune system, premature aging, and weight gain. Chronic stress is also linked to many illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, fatal accidents and suicide. While it may seem like stress is just a part of life – there are different strategies you can use to help you stay cool, calm and collected. By managing your stress levels effectively you will not only improve your day-to-day life but you will also improve your life by lowering your chances of a whole host of long-term illnesses.
1. Write It Out
Start writing in a journal about whatever is bothering you or causing you stress. Spend just 10-15 minutes each day to write whatever first comes to your mind. Think of this as a way to both “talk” about your feelings and also start to track your stress levels. This activity will help you figure out what is causing your stress, and you can use this information to help find better ways to cope. Since the power of positive thinking has numerous benefits, you may want to have a separate journal where you list everything you’re grateful for and all the amazing things that you experienced during your day
2. Do Something You Love
Make time in your week to focus on something you love. While you may think your schedule is too busy, remind yourself just how important it is to take care of yourself! Work on a painting or craft project, plant a flower, or go shopping. You can even spend this time doing volunteer work for a cause you love and support, that way at least you won’t feel guilty about your “me” time.
3. Modify Your Life
While it may seem extreme, one way to eliminate stress is to get rid of the factor that is causing your stress. If a certain friend is causing you to feel stressed, it may be time to cut ties and stop spending time together. If your job is stress inducing, start looking for other places to apply. While this advice may be difficult to hear, remember that your wellbeing is ultimately the most important and will influence not only you, but also everyone around you. Also note that if you do not learn the proper coping mechanisms, stress may follow you and show up in a different way. This method is a way to gain a new perspective and change your outlook instead of running away from your problems.
Meditation allows you to focus all your attention on things that are happening right now. Focus on the feeling on the chair beneath you, the air touching your skin, and gentle sounds of leaves hitting your window. There are many forms of meditation, so you may want to experiment to find the one that resonates with you the best. You may find it helpful to start with mindfulness-based stress reduction, many studies have shown it to be extremely effective at reducing stress levels and regulating your emotions.
5. Try ASMR Videos
Autonomous sensory meridian response (or ASMR) is a feeling characterized by a pleasurable tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the neck and back. It is extremely relaxing and it has become quite popular for people to make ASMR inducing videos on the Internet. If you’ve ever felt a tingling and relaxing sensation when someone whispered to you, read aloud to you, or brushed your hair, you’ve experienced ASMR. The online community offers unique videos, as long as you keep an open mind you may find something that works well for you.
Scientifically, exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Start and end your exercise with some gentle stretching to relieve any muscle tension. Go on a walk outdoors and enjoy this time to move your body and relax your mind. Try out different workout classes or videos online to find what the best fit is for you. Exercise should be a habit that fits well into your routine, and you won’t be able to stick to it unless you choose something you truly love. Not only will this help you to reduce stress, you’ll also become stronger, leaner and healthier. Truly a win-win
7. Breathe Deep
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. When you breathe deep, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain sends this message to your body, which will then slow down your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and help you feel more relaxed. Practice different exercises and find what works for you best.