Have you ever felt that stress has already taken its toll on you? The weighty burden of workloads, meeting deadlines, irritating traffic, family obligations, bills to pay, we are exposed to an innumerable stress-inducing factors brought about by this modern age. While stress clings to 8 out of 10 working Americans, it shouldn’t be regarded as a new societal norm.
Early symptoms of stress, if neglected for some period of time, can turn into more severe case that can seriously wreck your health. People who ignore the early signs of stress are more likely to experience chronic health problems in the course of time. Some terrifying symptoms include weaker immunity, lowered libido, high blood pressure, hair loss, sleeping disorders, and chest pain.
Stress management comes in a wide variety of methods and techniques. Here are 4 easy yet effective ways to relieve stress that you can do conveniently on your own (my personal ways to finger an elephant, yes, believe me.. these work!)
- Take a break from electronic media.
Most people believe that watching TV or playing video games after a tiring day’s work can help them relax. Wrong! Doing so actually causes more feeling of shame and guilt. Studies show that frequent use of smartphones is partly responsible in increasing stress level. Another study also revealed a decline in happiness on most people hooked on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. So why are we stressed out by these modern electronic media? While they are initially intended to provide entertainment to the public, the excessive use of these media has rapidly getting out of hand. We are living in a society where we get easily worried by the number of “likes” our posts are getting. We are in the era where turning on the TV only presents devastating bad news.
The solution is simple and it is actually as easy as clicking a button. You can lower your stress by following these tips:
- Monitor your time spent on electronic media. Make your own media diary to keep track of how often and how long you’ve been using the internet, TV, phone, etc. Just like cutting down calorie intake by counting the calories you’ve been taking in. The lesser time spent on these things, the higher your chances of avoiding being stricken by stress.
- Consider media detox. If you think you can’t survive a minute without your cell phone, then ditching it in an instant will probably put you in shock. Take it slowly and start small. You don’t have to necessarily give up your smartphone forever. Try a cell phone-free weekend, hang out with your friends and families and leave your cell phone at home. Skip watching TV for an evening and never log in any social media for a couple of days. You can gradually feel yourself drifting away from these habits and you’ll get to enjoy a more stress-free living.
Eat stress relieving foods.
Choose foods that can help you reduce stress. Here are some foods to grab whenever you feel bothered by the symptoms of stress:
- Citrus fruits. Citrus fruits such as berries, grapefruit, and oranges are rich in vitamin C that helps reduce stress level. The recommended daily dose of vitamin C for adult men is 95mg while adult women only need 75mg. A cup of fresh oranges contains the recommended serving of 95mg of vitamin C. You can get vitamin C from other sources such as broccoli, tomatoes, kiwifruit, and peppers.
- Dark chocolate. It contains essential antioxidant that relieves stress by reducing the amount of stress hormones in the body. Eating a recommended daily serving of 1 to 2 ounces of chocolates containing 65 percent cacao can help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, it can also help enhance mood.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring are great sources of omega-3 that helps lower depression and anxiety. Consume at least 2 servings of approximately 3.5 ounces of cooked fatty fish every week. If you’re not a fan of fish, you can get your supply of omega-3 from avocados, chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.
- Get active.
Regular exercise and other physical activities are great ways to manage stress and maintain a fit physique. Here are some workouts that focus on the development of both mind and body:
- Yoga is a mind-body practice that can help you relax and relieve stress. It offers wide array of health benefits by bringing together mental and physical disciplines that helps you attain peace of mind and relaxed body.
Yoga comes in variety of forms, styles, and concentrations. Beginners can opt for yoga involving easier movements and slower pace. Advanced yoga involves more challenging movements and faster pace. You can benefit from any of these yoga styles.
Generally, yoga’s core components are 1.) Poses – also called postures, are a sequence of movements which include relaxing poses and stretching in order to improve flexibility and strength; 2.) Breathing – breathe control is a great way of controlling your body and soothing your mind; 3.) Meditation and relaxation – exploration of inner self can help you become more aware and mindful of the reality.
- Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition popularly practiced even today which involves graceful form of movements following a self-paced system of stretching and physical exercise. It is performed in a focused and slow maneuver that flows into the next posture without a pause to ensure constant motion of the body.
Tai chi also comes in a variety of styles. These styles focus on different tai chi methods and principles. There are styles that centers on health maintenance, while other styles are more inclined to martial arts.
- Pilates method is another mind-body practice designed to improve strength, develop flexibility, and support proper alignment. It has been also proven to relieve stress and maintain healthy emotional and mental well-being. Pilates involves slow and gentle movement that allows you to focus entirely on your body. It is a very mindful form of practice that incorporates deep breathing to create a relaxing response in the body. Unlike high-intensity workouts, Pilates develops your skill of mindfulness to help polish your concentration. Learning to control your focus has an essential impact on how you manage stressful situations in your everyday life.
- High-energy activities like dancing, running, and sports.
- Get more sleep.
Lack of sleep has been associated with heart problems, weaker immunity, anxiety and depression. If you’re experiencing sleeping problems such as insomnia or sleep apnea, that is an indication of stress. Follow these simple steps to ensure better sleep:
- Never drink coffee after 3pm. Consider skipping your afternoon coffee. Caffeine keeps you active and awake for at least six hours.
- Turn off everything. Try unplugging all the technology when it’s time to sleep. It is important to have a clear mind before going to bed in order to have a serene sleep. Checking your phone or watching TV before going to bed can leave unsettling thoughts that might keep you awake throughout the night. So make it a habit to turn off your TV, computers, and cell phones before hitting the sack.
- Prepare your room. Make your room more conducive to a good night sleep. Put away the things that can potentially disrupt your sleep such as books, foods, or cigarettes. The ambiance of the room has significant influence on the quality of sleep. Consider essential factors such as light, noise, and temperature.