Do you need stress relief tips?
We all encounter so many stressors on a day-to-day basis — work, kids, money, time. The list goes on and on. Keep your stress level at bay with these nine tips.
1. Laugh It Up.
Laughter really is the best medicine. When we laugh, physical changes happen in our body that help us reduce stress. Laughter enhances our intake of air, stimulates our heart and lungs, and increases our endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers.
It also feels really good to laugh, Go on, chuckle a bit.
When we exercise our body produces endorphins. Endorphins help us sleep better, which in turn can reduce stress too.
Go for a run or a bike ride after a hard day’s work. Yes, it’s very enticing to sit in front of the tube with a cold one, but get a quick run in first and you’ll feel better in the long haul.
3. Get intimate.
High blood pressure is a physical symptom of stress. Getting under the covers can help lower high blood pressure.
Sex encourages us to physically touch and connect with another being, which helps relieve stress. We exert physical energy and release endorphins during sex, all of which add up to lower stress. Just in case you needed another reason to get frisky.
4. Avoid Screen Time.
Researchers have found that smartphones can actually increase stress levels. We have gotten so used to being glued to our phones that it can be hard to disconnect and turn our brain off. Feeling the need to respond to messages adds to our stress and prevents us from unplugging.
Try putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode after the work day. It is actually freeing to not check our phones every five minutes.
5. Get a Pet.
Did you know that pet owners are more heart healthy? Pet owners often have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels compared to non-pet owners.
When we play with our pet dog or pet cat, our levels of seratonin and dopamine increase. These two are nerve transmitters that have pleasurable and calming properties. Playing fetch or walking a dog also encourages exercise, which as we already discussed helps reduce stress.
If you believe in a higher power, talk with them. Praying can relieve stress and remind us that the world is much bigger than us.
It can be calming to remember that here is a greater being looking after us. Spend some time in prayer and you will reduce your stress levels.
Similar to prayer, meditation involves relaxing the mind and focusing on breathing. It trains us to take responsibility for our mental state and how we respond to situations. Even when practiced for as few as 10 minutes each day, meditation can help us control stress, decrease anxiety, and improve our capacity for relaxation.
8. Do Something Creative.
Shifting our thoughts to something creative can be incredibly rewarding and take our mind off of stressful situations. Writing, painting, or even completing a DIY project can help reduce stress.
When we work on creative projects, we distract ourselves by focusing solely on the task at hand and don’t let other things enter that creative space. Naturally, the stressors of the day melt away.
Sleep is so important to relieving stress. Not getting enough sleep can leave us cranky and irritated.
Establish a better shut-eye routine by avoiding caffeine and exercise in the hours leading up to bedtime. Try going to sleep and waking up around the same time each day to get your body into a routine. Read or take a warm bath or shower to relax your mind before hitting the hay.
Next time you feel your blood pressure rise or your muscles tense, take a deep breath and choose a few of these stress relief tips to help you manage your stress levels. When practiced regularly, we can create routines that help us manage stress throughout our lives.
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Author: Dr. Kurt Smith
Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching, a Northern California counseling practice that specializes in helping men and the women who love them. His expertise is in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their relationships better.