Ever wonder why some people aren’t bothered with stress? They’ve learned techniques for stress relief to help them deal with it more effectively, and so can you.
Did you know that stress actually is NOT harmful in itself? It’s our poor response to it that causes health problems like headaches, indigestion, muscle tension, high blood pressure, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and more.
Here are a few good stress relief techniques, tips, and exercises I’ve used:
Breathe: One of the best techniques you can do for yourself is to learn to breathe correctly. We take breathing for granted, having done it all of our lives, but few of us are doing it right. Most of us take small and shallow breaths that don’t adequately fill the lungs or diaphragm. When we become stressed or nervous, our breathing becomes even shallower and quicker. Our muscles tighten, we feel tense and our mind reacts by feeling stressed.
Practice the technique of breathing slowly from your diaphragm through the nose and out through the mouth, a few times each day, or whenever you feel particularly stressed. This often will relax your body and reduce your feelings of anxiety.
To breathe correctly, you need to get over the idea of holding your stomach in. How can you get a decent amount of air in your lungs if you won’t let your diaphragm, chest, and abdomen expand enough to let it in?
Your tummy should move out when you inhale and in when you exhale. I found it easier to do this while lying on my back. Try it that way, relax, and let your abdomen move out and in with each breath.
The next time you feel yourself becoming stressed, or know ahead of time that you'll be going into a stressful situation, practice the simple breathing technique. You will feel much calmer and relaxed. Try it - It really works!
Meditation: This is a form of relaxation that has been around for centuries. It's a fairly common method of stress relief.
Forget all you have heard about meditation is difficult.
Anyone can do it and really, for stress relief purposes, it’s hard to do it wrong. The key is to find a place where you can sit quietly and clear your mind. When your body and mind are calm, you allow yourself a moment of peace which is very healing. Practice this on a regular basis and you will notice the benefits.
Get enough sleep: Adequate amounts of sleep help your immune system work at its best, helping you be more resistant to disease. Your hand-eye coordination increases and you perform better overall.
When we are over-tired, even the smallest problems seem much worse than they are. I know I worry MUCH more when I’m tired than when I’m rested. Sleep replenishes your body and mind, making you more able to cope with stress.
Also, you'll be MUCH less grumpy; something everyone else will appreciate. I know my husband does. Ask him how much less cranky I am when I’ve gotten a decent night’s sleep. ;o)
Also, it’s important that your bedroom is a place you associate with rest and relaxation, so don’t use it for paying bills. You’ll literally take your problems to bed with you. Save bill-paying for the kitchen table or desk.
There are those people who say they can get by on only a few hours of sleep a night. But why?
You can “get by” on one gallon of gas for your car, but you’re not going to get far. Your body is an exceptional creation. It can handle all sorts of complex functions at once and perform most excellently.
But why make it difficult? Give it what it needs to work at its best. Sure, you can get by, but why just get by? How about instead, getting the proper amount of sleep and feeling great?
Be Kind to yourself: This technique may turn out to be more difficult than you first believe. Most of us are much harder on ourselves than anyone else. (I wonder if women have this problem more than men). Pay attention to your thoughts and comments to yourself throughout the day. Do you find yourself saying things like "I can’t", or "I’m so stupid/fat/or whatever?"
There’s no need to beat yourself up. Would you say these things to your best friend, acquaintance, or stranger? No? Then be at least as nice to yourself as you would be to an acquaintance. Friends may come and go in your life, but wherever you are, you’ll find yourself there too. Don’t you think it’s time to start treating yourself like you should? Constantly criticizing yourself only makes you feel bad, lose confidence, and feel stressed about whatever it is you don’t think you’re doing right.
How about whenever you find yourself thinking those destructive thoughts, you change them to something positive? Remove the word can’t from your vocabulary. Instead of saying I can’t do this, say: I haven’t mastered this skill YET, but I will.
You’ll find that your outlook on life will improve and your stress levels will go down if you give yourself a break and a little encouragement.
Exercise: As you have probably heard before, when we experience immediate stress, like a shock or a quickly escalating stressful situation, our body will release adrenaline to deal with it.
This heightened state is often called the "fight or flight response". The problem is that in our modern lives, we don't often have the chance to work it off. That doesn't mean it's not there. A good helpful technique for this is to exercise. It allows a vent for all the extra stress.
Many of these are quick tips you can do anywhere and some require a little bit more privacy or thought. So far, all of the suggestions on the Techniques-2 page have worked for me in some way, shape, or form. Also, take vitamins and try aromatherapy.
Smile: This may seem a little bit corny. I have to admit that when I first heard of this technique that it seemed too silly to work. Perhaps that‘s why it does. I tried this one almost as a joke and to make a point.
I was feeling pretty low one day. My husband suggested I try the smile technique so (rather grumpily) I made a huge fake toothy smile at him to just show him how absurd it was.
I kept grinning at him, making smiley faces and feeling really silly. It was so ridiculous that soon we were both grinning and laughing. We both felt better.
Laughter: When was the last time you laughed out loud? When we were kids we probably laughed a lot more than we do now.
Remember laughing so hard your stomach hurt? Afterward, didn’t you feel good? Laughter IS good for you. It brings oxygen into our bodies, is a great tension reliever, and reduces stress hormones.
Studies have also shown that laughing helps your body release endorphins which we all know help produce a sense of well-being and you guessed it – reduce stress.
Take a break: There are times when life is just hectic. For example The moment I walked in the door after work my kids were all over me clamoring for my attention. It was so stressful after my hectic workday that I could not focus on anyone and all the noise just made me feel overloaded.