Are you feeling that you just can’t get a break from the pressures and stresses of life? Are you struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel? We all know that a certain amount of stress can be beneficial and help to keep us motivated but too much of it and it starts to have an adverse effect on our health and well-being.
That’s why when you are feeling stressed it is so important to know how you can combat its effects before if starts to make you ill. This article will reveal five of the most powerful yet simple and effective ways to relieve stress quickly.
1. Slow Down!
Many people who are feeling stressed start rushing about all over the place trying to get everything done. The problem is, when you rush things you start to miss things or make mistakes. The result can be that the problem you are stressed about actually becomes worse rather than better. Of course this only serves to make you even more stressed!
Take your time. Just stop for a minute and think about things clearly. Perhaps things are not as bad as they seem. Evaluate your problems and then make a plan to tackle them. Personally I always find that it helps to write things down. If you have a list of things to do then you can tick them off as they get done. It is always nice to see that list get smaller and smaller and I find that as the list shrinks – so does my stress!
2. Breathing Exercises.
This is one of the oldest but still most effective ways to relieve stress. When you are stressed you may not notice but your breathing can become quick and shallow. What you need to do is take some slow, deep cleansing breaths. If you can find somewhere quiet to do this then all the better but it can be done at any time and in any place.
Try to breathe in slowly through your nose, hold the breath for a few seconds then breathe out again slowly through your mouth. Breathing deeply like this helps your lungs to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide so you will feel better. It also helps to relax your body if you feel tense. One extra little tip – when I do this I visualise myself actually exhaling my stress as I breathe out. It sounds bizarre I know but don’t knock it until you have tried it!
Sorry if exercise is a bad word to you but don’t worry I am not going to suggest any Olympic style training. When you feel stressed your body releases hormones such as adrenaline (epinephrine) in response to what it perceives as a threat. You have probably heard of the fight or flight response – well this is the body’s built in response to stress.
Exercise helps to use up your adrenaline. Now please don’t tell me that you’re not the athletic type – there is always some sort of exercise that you can do. Personally I enjoy cycling but simple things such as walking and swimming are just as effective. By burning off that adrenaline you will dramatically reduce your stress levels and completing some form of exercise gives you a sense of achievement. Do it!
When I have had a busy or stressful day then I find a nice massage is one of the most pleasant ways to relieve my stress. A gentle massage can help to rub away your aches and pains but it also helps to stimulate the pleasure centres in your brain and makes you feel good about yourself. Some scented massage oil can help too.
If you don’t have a partner to give you a massage then try some gentle self-massage techniques. Rubbing the pads of your fingers gently on your forehead or temples can be very soothing especially if you can have a pleasant daydream at the same time.
5. Eat Healthily.
When you are stressed it is easy to give into the temptation to eat fast or junk food. While it might give you a temporary good feeling to tuck into a Big Mac or a donut you will probably find that you feel slumped afterwards. You might even feel guilty or dirty for eating such junk.
Healthy food will make you feel better and more energetic and more able to deal with issues. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too. Dehydration can make you feel down, tired or lethargic which is the last thing you need when stressed.
Stress can have a dramatically negative impact on our lives but using these proven methods for managing stress you can start to bring your life back under control. These strategies work so try them yourself and very soon you will start to feel better about yourself and a lot less stressed.