Feeling stressed from time to time is completely normal. However, constantly being under the pressure of stress for a long period of time can result in many negative side effects such as aches and pain, sleep troubles, high blood pressure, digestive problems, and many more. This is why stress management is very important.
One effective stress management strategy that you can do is to start forming healthy habits. However, what exactly are these healthy habits, and why can they help reduce stress? Here is a list of healthy habits that can help lessen the stress in your life.
It might sound like a contradiction, but physical stress (exercise) can help reduce mental stress. In fact, when your heart rate is high, your stress levels decrease. This is why following a consistent workout schedule is definitely a good idea.
The physical and psychosocial demands that your body experiences during workout can trigger a stress response. This response activates your Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) and sympathetic-adrenomedullary axes. As a result, stress is released along with inflammatory cytokines, microbial molecules, and catabolic hormones, allowing you to feel better.
You don’t need to do complicated exercises to enjoy its stress relief benefit. Spending 20 to 30 minutes per day doing cardio can make a lot of difference.
Besides, there are plenty of benefits that you can get from working out, aside from stress relief. It can help improve your overall physical fitness and make your body look leaner and stronger.
Meditation has been practiced for hundreds of years because of its long list of benefits. Yes, one of these benefits includes stress relief and stress management.
When practicing meditation, you are putting your mind and body in a deep state of tranquility and relaxation. This helps your mind eliminate the jumbled thoughts in your head that are causing you stress.
If you are planning to incorporate meditation into your life, make sure to be consistent with it. You can start by setting aside a few minutes after you wake up to meditate or whenever you feel like you need it. Eventually, as you get better at meditation, you will be able to control stressful thoughts, and if you do feel stressed, you will know how to deal with your emotions with your mindfulness.
Indulging in delicious, greasy food when you are experiencing a lot of stress sounds like a good idea. In some cases, you might even think that giving yourself some sugar can help you feel better. However, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Although delicious foods are indeed gratifying, the stress relief that you will feel from it is only momentary. Later on, your body will start feeling bad, and you are right back where you were before you started binge eating. This is where eating right comes in.
Following a healthy diet not only reduces your current stress levels but it can also be a good defense against stress in the future. This is because when you follow a healthy diet, you are giving your body the proper nutrients and vitamins it needs to eliminate free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
Let Go of Stress
Sometimes, when you have too much stress bottled up, the best thing that you can do is to just let it out.
One effective way of letting go of your stress is by crying. This is a natural way of reducing stress. According to studies, it is also a healthy thing to do because it flushes away negative chemicals from the body. So, don’t hold back and allow yourself to cry from time to time.
Another thing that you can do to let go of your stress is to write it all down. Doing this allows you to express your thoughts and emotions. Although writing is a very basic activity, it does have a therapeutic aspect that allows people suffering from a lot of stress to figure out its underlying cause and overcome inhibitions.
Another healthy habit that can make your life less stressful is doing breathing exercises. This is because breathing exercise requires you to breathe deeply. Doing this sends a signal to your brain to calm down and relax. As a result, the increased heart rate and high blood pressure caused by whatever is stressing you out will be lessened.
Doing breathing exercises is quite simple. These are its basic steps:
- Find a comfortable chair or floor.
- Breathe in using your nose and fill your belly with air.
- Once you feel like you can’t inhale anymore, breathe out using your mouth with a “HA” sound.
- Repeat this several times until you feel less stressed.
Aside from the steps mentioned above, there are other varieties of breathing exercises that you can explore later on. These exercises will not only help manage your stress levels but also help strengthen your core muscles and increase your body’s stamina.
It is impossible to live a completely stress-free life. But, you can definitely learn how to manage it by following the healthy habits mentioned above.
However, you can only enjoy these benefits after some time, so you will need both patience and consistency. In the meantime, you might want to consider checking out ReCalm. It is a supplement developed by physicians for veterans with lingering stress to help them get immediate stress relief.