Stress is a part of the human experience, something that is programmed into us. We used this to protect ourselves from danger back in the primal days. These days other things cause stress and this is where stress relief techniques become important.
Stress is now likely to be triggered by other things such as work, bills, family, etc. Sometimes stress triggers seem trivial, but the effect it has on our minds and bodies are not.
Stress can leave us feeling uncomfortable, sick, in pain, and finding ways to manage stress is key in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are several stress relief techniques that you can try out, and we detail some here.
1. Write a list of things you are grateful for
It can be hard to feel gratitude for anything when it feels as though the walls are falling. But, showing gratitude for even the smallest of things can be helpful. A sunny day, a hot cup of tea, snuggling into a favorite blanket… It’s the little things that can lift our spirits and lower our stress levels.
As stress relief techniques go, thinking of and writing down the things we are grateful for is one of the simplest and most effective.
2. One of the best stress relief techniques is getting enough rest
Sleep-deprived people are more reactive to negative emotional stimuli than those that manage a good night’s rest. If you are feeling more stressed than you normally do, think about the quality of sleep from the previous night.
If it wasn’t that great, good practice as far as stress relief techniques go is to try and go to bed a little earlier. Don’t look at any screen for an hour before bed either, as this allows the brain time to ‘cool down’.
3. Play with a pet
Petting an animal boost dopamine and serotonin levels. According to a study carried out by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, 74% of 2,000 participants experienced mental health improvements from owning a pet.
It has also shown that hanging out with a dog after a stressful event greatly reduces cortisol levels. High cortisol levels have a strong negative impact on mental and physical health.
4. Tidying your space is part of stress relief techniques you could try
Have a look at your desk. If it is untidy, give a quick clean-up. Many are surprised at how much this helps. Cleaning can give feelings of control, calm, and clarity. When your environment feels chaotic, that’s when stress relief techniques like cleaning can help. Set a timer on your cell phone for 10 minutes. Have a quick clean within that 10-minute window for an instant refresh of your space as well as your mind.
5. Set firm work-life boundaries
As people take on multiple roles, both at home and work, not setting boundaries between them can lead to chronic stress. Setting boundaries, and sticking to them, is one of the most effective stress relief techniques there is. Don’t answer work emails when you are outside of office hours, for instance.
Run a hot bath, or stand under a relaxing shower. Aromatic soaps help to relax too, with lavender being one of the more effective scents when it comes to relaxation.
6. Deep breathing exercise
Try deep breathing exercises. They have a positive psycho-physiological effect on relieving stress. Just breathing in, holding, and then releasing on counts of five can work wonders. It slows heart rate, lowers stress, and hits a virtual reset button.
People do find that a food thing about this technique is that it can be done anywhere.
Whatever you choose as your stress relief techniques, make sure you take time each day for yourself and an activity that you enjoy doing. If you’re looking for more in-depth stress relief, consider this post on mindfulness activities or mindfulness meditation!