Relax. You deserve it! It's good for you and it relieves stress. Although stress is a natural and normal part of life, there are ways to reduce it. And if you're thinking of a day at the spa or a weekend away, those work! However, I've compiled a list of other ways to reduce stress that work starting today.
Studies show that a few minutes of mediation each day reduces anxiety. Each morning, before I get up, I spend 5 minutes mediating. I simply close my eyes and focus my attention on a positive mantra such as "I am blessed" or "I feel at peace." I then place one hand on my belly, the other on my heart and sync my mantra with my breathes. I let all negative thoughts float away on clouds.
2. Be Grateful
When you are thankful for what you have there is no reason to compare yourself to others which can cause stress. I suggest keeping a gratitude journal to help you remember all the things that are good in your life.
3. Reach Out
Sometimes all we need are our friends and family. In fact, your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talking face to face or sharing what's going on via telephone can give you a fresh perspective on whatever is stressing you out.
4. Listen to Music
Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. Try creating a list of calming songs or nature sounds to allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, singers, or instruments in each piece. My favorite way to blow off steam with music? Singing at the top of my lungs, of course!
Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. If you prefer to take a hot shower, that works too!
6. Laugh Out Loud
A good laugh lowers cortisol, your body's stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins which liven up your mood. Lighten up your mood by watching your favorite comedy movie or hanging out with a friend who makes you laugh.
7. Stay Active
No need to run a marathon, sometimes all we need to do is get moving. All forms of exercise, including yoga, can ease depression by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals, a.k.a. endorphins. A quick walk around the block or stretching will do!
8. Be Present
Slow down and take a few minutes to focus on what is happening in the moment. Notice how the air feels on your face or how each bite of food tastes. When you focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.