Life in today’s 21st century is undoubtedly more advanced and complex than ever before. This modern intricate world has imposed varied demands on our lives, something that we were not created nor designed for. Our present day crowded lives are increasingly run by deadlines, latest hifi gadgets, together with scores of other demands which put immense pressure on our time as also our whole beings. These demands could be work-related, challenges of balancing the family time and work front, sicknesses/ailments, fear of failing, relationships or even financial. There are constant, impressive and far-reaching changes that have occurred worldwide in a short period of time. While living in our fast-moving, ultra-modern world can be advantageous, it has also resulted in added duress on our physical and emotional health. The fact remains that we cannot go back in time to the pre-Industrial Revolution era and hence the need to maintain a healthy balance between the pressures of life and the mental capacity to cope with the same.
Stress, in simple terms, is the strain caused by the pressures of our daily lives. Small doses of stress may be beneficial in keeping you alert and energized and serve positively to react, adapt or motivate you in any situation. But if there are continual challenges, without adequate rest and refreshment, you can end up exhausted, depressed, and irritable. Instead of being helpful, stress now begins to adversely affect your attitude, your proficiency, your relationships, your way of living, and your health. Repeated exposure to stress can lead to illnesses like diabetes, ulcers, strokes, hypertension, and heart attacks.
In view of the above, your goal would be to manage stress in a manner that would motivate but not overpower you. Stress Management begins with identifying the mindset of the cause of stress and determining strategies to effectively minimize it. It involves assuming charge and bringing positivity into every aspect of your life and schedule: your thoughts, emotions, surroundings and difficult situations. This is not seeking quick-fix solutions, but planning for results that will bring much-needed balance and change in your daily life.
Overwhelming situations in life trigger your response to stress. But those who ensure to make time to unwind and let go of inner turmoil and tension do far better in facing life challenges. This is possible with some knowledge, insight, and a sincere commitment to learn and equip yourself with new strategies in dealing with areas of stress in your life.
In this list, you will find 15 proven, effective and trustworthy stress relievers which can be put into practice in a variety of situations on a daily basis with desired results.
Top Stress Relief Activities
Regular exercise is highly recommended as it improves your all-round health, feeling of well-being, and adds a fresh bounce every step of the day. It is a natural remedy to enable you better tackle stress by brightening your mood, helping you relax, while enhancing your self-esteem. A good workout session will allow you shed your inner frustration and rage effectively while boosting your fitness level. Its best to choose an activity to your liking, whether it be swimming, jogging, brisk walking, or cycling. The key is being consistent for you to experience an ease in your level of stress and giving you a feeling of command with regards to your health and life.
A healthy diet consisting of fruits, whole grains, vegetables, together with lean protein, supply you the required nutrients to sustain health, feel fit and energetic. It is imperative as your body requires the appropriate nutrition to function efficiently. A well-balanced diet can fortify your body from sickness and hence better disposed to face with stress. A poor diet laden with processed and sugar-rich foods, on the other hand, can lead to an increase in anxiety and fatigue.
A noteworthy fact is that as you introduce a balanced diet in your life, you feel vibrant, energized, less tense and go on to achieve and fulfill much in life in lesser amount of time than with your earlier poor diet regime.
Music is known to have a tremendously calming effect on our emotions and has often been used in the treatment of several illnesses helping to rejuvenate and revive balance amid mind and body. Slow soothing music can hold your attention, unwind your mind and act favorably on your body by lessening pulse rates/blood pressure thereby reducing overall stress levels. Listening to music in your car, while working out, or in the shower are some useful ways to include music in your busy schedule, also making it an enjoyable stress relief tool.
We have come to recognize that cares and concerns of this life will neither change nor improve the circumstances, rather just disturb our inner peace. Few moments spent daily in quiet peace brings in much needed solace. Studies have proven that those who have taken recourse to prayer are able to let go of their worry, feel relaxed and experience healing quickly. Apart from it being spiritually edifying, prayer acts as refreshing springs to the weary soul, and ushers ease and calm in the body, making it a very desirable stress relief tool.
Sleep, a natural stress reliever, and required for our survival, is an essential bodily function which facilitates our brains to revive and refresh while our bodies are at rest. Lack of sleep can negatively affect your frame of mind, memory power and perception, leaving you listless and tired, lowering your ability to tackle stress. Since sleep is so beneficial for the well-being of mind and body, it is essential for you to ensure that a proper balance is maintained between your working time and your time of rest.
It has wisely been said for a while now of laughter being the best medicine. Laughter, which is a spontaneous physical reaction of enjoyable and amusing feelings among persons, can help connect them when shared. Laughing diverts your attention from the disappointments and stress of life, brings much cheer, serving well as another natural stress reliever. While laughter is not a problem solver, it works adequately in keep our difficulties in proportion.
7) Gratitude journal
As we know it, gratitude is a warm sentiment of thanks and appreciation, and its proven that people with an attitude of gratitude are more cheerful and content in life. Its beneficial to start the day recounting few things you are grateful for, from the smallest gesture of some kindness shown to you, to some big favour that has come your way. This mindset of nurturing gratitude for individuals, things and different situations in your life, while making you emotionally strong, leaves less room for sadness and anxiety. A journal of such positive moments maintained regularly is undoubtedly worthwhile. In the event of a stressful situation, where you may feel overwhelmed by the pressures of life, this journal will remind you of things which are still in your favour, enable you bounce back, and prove a reliable stress reliever.
8) Positive Self Talk
Self talk or an inner voice that constantly thinks silently or speaks aloud is a blend of your conscious opinions as also your innermost hidden viewpoints. It is now emerging as an influential tool for motivation, for self-confidence to rise and thrive while keeping a check on defeatist emotions. Its essential to first discern which areas of your day to day life, whether issues of the office, home, health or even a relationship that get you to think or react negatively. You can begin by paying attention to one situation that gets you down, and make a conscious effort to confess words or phrases of encouragement, positivity and motivation that will function as a guide to counter and overcome that stressful situation. Phrases like those stated below, if spoken regularly as per the need, will transform the mind, improve your life, as also limiting the stress levels:
I am an overcomer
I am filled with boundless energy
I am capable
I am a happy person
I am valuable
I am enthusiastic
Promoting a life-style of positive self-talk may seem an insignificant change, but one with vital and significant impact.
9) Deep Breathing
One of the eminent and ideal ways to lessen body stress is deep breathing. When an unforeseen stressful situation occurs, the body responds with a rise in heartbeat, blood pressure and rapid breathing. Immediately pausing to catch a few deep breaths can help relieve the build up of pressure, as deep breathing communicates to the brain to be still, at ease and restful. This message to relax is then relayed by the brain to the body, reducing the stress factor, and allowing you to think well and take control of the situation. Breathing exercises are simple and when done routinely are a great way to relax and be stress-free.
10) Slow Down
With our contemporary life being often fast-paced and overloaded, we definitely need to occasionally unwind and adapt a more slow and unhurried pace in life. When always in a rush, you will be unable to be present at important events in the lives of those closest to you, be it family or friends. Alas, these moments can never be revisited. Slowing down will help you re-capture the essence of your relationships as you give valuable time to your loved ones. Also, when often in a hurry, or too many things to attend to, stress levels can possibly rise, leading either to errors or job not performed to your capability. Slowing down allows your mind to think clearly and come up with effective ways with getting the work done limiting flaws and the stress factor. It would be remarkable to examine our lives and look for ways to chill out periodically as this works magically as a stress reliever.
Walking is known to be an enjoyable and satisfying stress reliever. Going outdoors and inhaling fresh air enables you to savour different scenery, offers you a diversion from the mundane of life, while achieving the advantages of exercise. Maintaining a regular walking schedule is highly recommended as it brightens up your mood, lowers stress levels, enhances the memory power and immunity system, while activating weight loss together with improving your overall health.
12) Talking it out
When overwhelmed with anxiety, talking it over with a person you trust, whether it be a family member, doctor, friend, therapist or even a spiritual leader, can help lower the level of stress. Suppressing the hurt and tired emotions further damages the state of mind and intensifies the stress; sharing the troubling situation, done in an atmosphere of understanding and empathy, helps in taking the load off your heart, stimulates positivity and perhaps change your perspective. Speaking to a counselor may serve as a blessing since they are professionals, competent in handling many problematic issues, and everything will be kept in confidence.
13) Refrain from destructive habits
Its crucial to avail of healthy and fruitful methods to cope with stress. Regrettably, several people resort to unhealthy ways which only further aggravates their mess. Habits like taking drugs or pills, overindulging in drinks and caffeine, smoking, and the like, cause long-term damage to health. You have to be determined and be ready for change, especially in the way you react to the trying issues of life, the key being acquiring calm demeanor.
14) A winner mentality
When situations of stress and distress show up, the tendency is to feel defeated and hopeless. The past accomplishments seem to fade away in the background. At such times recalling former moments of great success, even in the midst of the trials would be encouraging and uplifting, giving you the power to think of yourself as an overcomer, a winner in life, and boldly rise up to face the current difficult situation with new found confidence.
15) Set Boundaries
Often times work and personal life seems overcrowded with deadlines, meetings, commitments and much more. You may overstep the limits of being either too big-hearted or being unwise. You cannot carry on for long in an exhausted state and it’s absolutely imperative to delete and limit certain unimportant activities that place needless demands on your precious time. Recognizing the desire to set boundaries and resolving to decline to overbook yourself would give you more time for things of importance and interest, thereby reducing stress level. Avoiding negative people whose constant murmuring or irrelevant drama can be detrimental to your own peace of mind would be beneficial and a worthy stress reliever.
Stress is currently a common as well as a huge problem and hence the urgency to adopt stress management methods that can salvage every aspect of your life. It is responsible for emotional and physical dysfunction paving the way for suicides, major ailments, divorces, brutality, road rage, conflict in families, etc. The 15 stress relievers dealt with above are extremely cost friendly and user-friendly. It calls for you taking a firm decision to implement definite adjustments in your lifestyle in addition to discovering healthy, wholesome and fun ways to cope with stress. By acting on this consistently you will feel more calm and in charge over your life situations.