Most of us live stressful lives. We have too many commitments and too little time. We say “sure I can do that” when we should say “no, I don’t want to take on anything else right now.” Sometimes we don’t even know how stressed we are until we realize we are cranky and short-tempered or feel the tension somewhere in our bodies. We can’t avoid stress completely, but here are some things that can help reduce it:
1. Focus on your breathing. Slow things down by breathing in through your nose to the count of 4, then out through your mouth to the count of 4. You can also breath in and out through your nose if that is more comfortable. Take normal breaths and just focus on the breath going in and out.
2. Clench your fists. Clench both fists and hold for about 5 seconds, then release. Do this 4 or 5 times, anytime you feel anxious or stressed out.
3. Show your pets some love. Research tells us that petting your dog or cat lowers your blood pressure. It is soothing for both you and your pet, so everybody wins…
4. Take a warm bath. Essential oils, such as lavender, cedarwood and sandalwood are very relaxing just remember to dilute them before adding them to your bath. Mix 5 or 6 drops of the essential oil with 1 Tablespoon of olive, sweet almond, or jojoba oil, then add this mixture to the water. And always use 100% pure essential oils so you won’t be breathing in any artificial scent! Click here to learn more about the dangers of synthetic scents: https://www.serenegreenlife.com/2018/05/10/toxic-air/
5. Move around. Some of us feel less stressed after a fast walk or a sweaty workout. And some of us fight off stress with stretches and yoga. Both involve movement and that helps reduce stress.
6. Meditate or pray. Both are said to slow down breathing and heart rate and lower blood pressure. And both can help us to think more clearly when we are dealing with a stressful issue.
7. Just say no. Seriously, if you are that person who says “yes” to doing one more thing when your calendar is already full, you have to learn to say “no.” Know your limits and don’t feel you have to do it all.
8. Practice gratitude. Before you go to sleep at night, think about the good things that happened today, even if it wasn’t a really great day. Maybe someone slowed down to let you into traffic. Or maybe something you were worried about turned out to be OK. Gratitude is a great way of keeping the things in perspective.
9. Eat dark chocolate. Researchers say it can lower your blood pressure and raise the level of serotonin in the brain, so you just feel happier! But go for the chocolate that contains 75%-80% cocoa.
10. Spend time with friends. Those friends who make you laugh and make you feel good. Building up a network of positive, supportive friends will considerably lower your stress level.
11. Write it down. If something is worrying you, write it down in a journal. There is something about writing it down that allows us to stop thinking about it – and if we want to worry about it we can always open the journal, read it, and worry. But we don’t have to.
12. Listen to music. Whatever kind of music makes you feel happy. Sing along. Dance if you feel like it.
So there you have it…12 things you can start doing right away to relieve stress. Which one will you start with?