Many of us experience stress on a daily basis. Chronic stress can lead to serious health problems – it’s thought to be one of the leading causes of heart attacks! Whilst sometimes you can remove the causes of stress from your life, this isn’t always possible (raising kids can be a big stress, but no-one wants to get rid of their kids), which means you need to look into forms of stress relief. Whether it’s your job, parenthood, financial problems, relationship problems or something completely different triggering your stress, here are seven ways in which you can make your stress disappear.
Treat yourself to a hot bath
Ever wondered why a hot bath is so relaxing? The sensation of hot water stimulates every nerve ending which floods our body with feel-good endorphins. These endorphins clear away the cortisol (the stress hormones) in our body. The buoyancy of the water meanwhile is excellent for relaxing tight muscles (our muscles often tight when stressed). Some people find that adding Epsom bath salts to the water helps, whilst other scented products can also help. It may not be easy to find the time to have a bath if you’ve got a busy life, but if you can find the time it could be very beneficial.
Exercise can also be a great stress-buster. This is because stress is a primal instinct originally developed to help us in fight or flight situations – stress fills us with energy. By being active, you can release this energy. Like having a bath, exercise also releases endorphins that help to combat stress. Any type of physical activity is effective – you may be able to squeeze a simple five minute workout into a lunch break at work by going for a brisk walk.
Meditation is a way of reprogramming your mind to relax by emptying it of negative thoughts. You don’t have to sit cross-legged and hum – closing your eyes and controlling your breathing is the most important part. To meditate effectively, take yourself to a quiet location where you have no distractions and try to free your mind (many people find it easiest to escape to bathroom or their car).
Listen to music
You can also relieve stress by listening to your favourite music. Music similarly releases endorphins to help flush away cortisol in our bodies. You can also listen to music whilst doing other stress-busting activities such as meditating or exercising.
Take the right pain relief
Pain is a stress trigger. If you suffer from chronic pain, using medication could help to relieve stress as well as relieving pain. This could include over-the-counter drugs such as Imigran for migraine relief or herbal remedies if you feel these work for you. Avoid self-medicating with unhealthy forms of pain relief such as alcohol or cigarettes – these may have short-term effects but they can exacerbate pain and stress once the high has worn off.
Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep and stress can form a vicious circle that you need to try and get out of. When you’ve had little sleep, you’re more prone to stress. One of the effects of stress meanwhile is keeping your mind alert, which can prevent you from getting to sleep. We should all be getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night to feel well rested and yet many of us don’t get this amount of sleep. A boring as it may be, going to sleep earlier could help you to catch up on the sleep you need. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, consider using sleep supplements such as Natrol Melatonin to help. Improving the comfort of your bed and introducing sleep introducing scents such as lavender and chamomile could also help.
Laughter is also a stress reliever. If you need to destress, consider putting on one of your favourite comedy movies or hanging out with friends that make you laugh. This could help to release endorphins around your body and banish the stress away.
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