Are you feeling the need for some good stress busting strategies in your life? You’re not alone! For many people stress has become a way of life. It’s almost as if we’ve given up on the idea that life could be anything other than stressful, and just accepted it as par-for-course for adults everywhere. The problem with constant stress however, is that it has such a detrimental effect on both our mental and physical health. Long-term stress can lead to physical symptoms such as: recurring headaches, high blood-pressure, stomach pains and insomnia, and can also reduce your body’s ability to fight off colds. Psychologically, stress can cause decreased productivity, anxiety, irritability and depression. Finding a way to reduce our stress-levels is therefore vital to our well-being.
With that in mind, here are 5 stress busting strategies that you can use to help you manage your stress levels. These are easy physical actions that you can take throughout your day to reduce tension and help bring on a more relaxed and peaceful feeling.
5 Easy Stress Busting Strategies
Strategy #1: Adjust your posture. When we feel stressed, we often slump over and hunch our shoulders forward as if we’re carrying the weight of all that distress right on them. This increases the tension in our shoulder muscles, neck, back and chest and just adds to the feeling of stress! Try straightening up… put your shoulders back, lift your chin and lengthen your spine. Proper posture eases muscle tension and helps to reduce the physical strain of stress.
Strategy #2: Do some stretches. By the end of the day, most of us can feel the tension in our muscles. We’re tense from the day’s events, and stress actually makes this feeling worse, adding soreness and strain to the general tension. Doing some gentle stretches at regular intervals throughout the day can help alleviate this build-up of tension. Something as simple as rolling your shoulders, tilting your head from side-to-side and stretching out your forearms by putting your hands in an upside-down prayer position can work wonders to relieve bunched up muscles and get your blood flowing again.
Strategy #3: Take a walk. Taking a short break from what you’re doing can make a world of difference in your stress levels. Not only do you get a change of scenery, but you get moving, which increases your circulation and wakes you up. If you can, leave your desk and head outside at lunch time for a mid-day walk and enjoy the sunshine for an added bonus. If you really can’t get away, then taking even just a few minutes to walk around your office floor can be really helpful.
Strategy #4: Just breathe. When we’re stressed, our breathing often become more shallow and rapid which just amplifies the feelings of panic and distress we may be feeling. Taking a few minutes to breathe deeply and slowly can do wonders for slowing down your heart rate and inducing a feeling of tranquility. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in, letting fill your abdomen up like a balloon. Hold that breath for a second or two, and then slowly let it out. Repeat this sequence three to five times and you are guaranteed to feel more relaxed! J
Strategy #5: Smile! This sounds oh-so-simplistic, but it’s such a powerful tool! You smile automatically when you feel happy, but did you know that smiling when you don’t feel happy can actually improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed? If you consciously try and make yourself smile when you are feeling stressed, it really does make you feel happier. And I have no idea how or why it works, but it does!
Next time you’re feeling tense and anxious, give one (or all!) of these five stress busting strategies a try and watch that tension melt away!
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I think that these are fantastic ways for people to help ease their stress. Sometimes…well a lot of times for me, I require a lot more to pull me through.
Have you tried meditation? Even just a few minutes of meditation can be a big help with relaxing you. Breath counting is a good way to start if you’re new to meditation (it’s kind of taking #4 to the next level). Close your eyes, make sure you’re breathing deeply and evenly and just start mentally counting your breaths. Your mind will start wandering off, but when it does, gently refocus yourself back onto the breathing. You can start small, with two sets of ten breaths, and then work your way up to 100 breaths (or ten sets of ten, whatever works best for you). Basically, you’re trying to still your racing thoughts and calm your mind. Focusing on the breathing gives you something to think about other than what’s stressing you, and helps you to breathe even more deeply and evenly. Which, in turn, helps to ease muscle tension within your body. And all of which help make you feel more relaxed. 🙂