Stress, Part Two

 

Are you, or is someone you love, the type of person who is always feeling stressed out? Last week we learned how chronic stress can be really bad for our health.

Here are some ideas for quick ways to reduce the negative impact of stress:

  • Chew gum. Studies show that chewing gum lowers anxiety and stress. Some researchers think the rhythmic act of chewing may calm us and improve the blood flow to our brains, while others believe the smell and taste of gum help us relax.
  • Go outside. Being active is best, especially in a setting that you find beautiful. But even close to home, just quietly being outside is sometimes enough to achieve a respite from stressors.
  • Smile. Even if you don’t feel happy, keeping a genuine smile on your face (including the muscles around your eyes as well as your mouth) reduces the body’s stress response. It helps lower our heart rate quicker once the stressful situation is over. Turns out “grin and bear it” is actually pretty good advice!
  • Smell lavender. One study demonstrated a significant reduction in stress when nurses pinned a vial of lavender to their clothes and sniffed it throughout their shift. WebMD cautions that lavender can intensify the effect of some pain killers and anti-anxiety medications, so checking with your doctor for possible interactions is always a good idea. If lavender doesn’t do it for you, there are other essential oils that can provide calm, such as chamomile, frankincense, and vetiver.
  • Listen to music. Sometimes listening to music you like is even more calming than listening to trickling water or other relaxing sounds. One study showed a positive benefit from listening to Latin choral music such as “Miserere” by Gregorio Allegri.
  • Take some deep breaths. Focusing on our breathing distracts us from negative thoughts and quiets the body’s fight-or-flight response. Sit or lie comfortably and take in a full, deep breath that makes your belly move. Really engage the diaphragm! Breathe out slowly—it should take a few seconds. You can say a word or phrase as you exhale that helps you relax. If nothing else, think: inhale relaxation, exhale tension. Repeat ten times.
  • Practice self-compassion. We have something like 50,000 thoughts in a day, and a large percentage of them are negative. We tend to be especially hard on ourselves. Using more positive self-talk helps us calm down and come to better terms with our situation. Self-compassion includes gently talking to ourselves with as much encouragement as we’d offer to our best friend. Try reassuring yourself with “Everything will be OK,” for instance, or “I can figure out how to handle this.”
  • Journal. This one has helped me so many times! Sometimes we just need to write our thoughts and feelings in a free stream of consciousness, either with pen and paper or electronically. Once we have it in front of us, it’s easier to make a plan. And you can write the plan down, too! But the most important thing is just to give yourself an outlet to be honest and let stuff flow out of you.
  • Talk with a friend. When we’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s nice to share with a good listener we trust. If you have a friend who’s dealing with the same worries that you have, even better! You can share ideas and concerns, and feel less isolated.
  • Exercise. When we work up a sweat, we improve our mood, clear our head, and take a breather from whatever is stressing us out. Go for a hike or a swim or a bike ride, hit the gym, dance as if no one is watching. As long as we don’t overdo it, moving always helps us feel better!
  • Play. Be silly. Do something joyful!
  • Enjoy a reflexology session. Human touch is powerful, and there’s almost nothing better to get our nervous system out of fight-or-flight mode than relaxing foot reflexology.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/balance/ss/stop-stress-now

Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy Posted on July 26, 2017

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