Stress is a bitter enemy. It can creep up on us when we least expect it and brings with it multiple consequences for our health and well-being. Doing what you can to reduce your stress now will pay dividends now as well as later on. The good news is that reducing stress is possible and you can start to put some of these 7 tips to work right away.
This article is going to discuss stress in general, the health consequences of a stressful life, and different solutions for fighting back and reducing stress. Please comment at the end of this post with some of the ways that you have been able to fight back and beat stress.
Why Stress is Killing You
Stress can cause many illnesses, and make you feel generally pretty terrible. The following is the list of possible consequences you might face if you are unable to appropriately manage and reduce your stress:
- Increased risk of cancer and lung disease.
- Suicide can occur if stress leads to an overwhelming bout of depression.
- Children who are exposed to stress are more likely to develop a mental illness, providing that there is family history of mental illness in the family.
- Stress decreases our ability to regulate our emotions, which can affect our relationships, our jobs, and more!
- Excessive teeth grinding due to stress can lead to teeth and jaw problems.
- Heart disease and stroke can be caused by high stress levels.
- Weight gain and eventually obesity due to the potential of eating a lot more when we are stressed. Take the classic ice cream binge for example!
- Stress can actually cause you to age faster.
- Weakened immune system which can lead to many other illnesses and issues with your health.
For ways to combat the rising tide of stress related illnesses we must take action using the following suggestions below!
7 Outrageously Easy Ways to Reduce Stress
1) Partake in foods/drinks that reduce Stress
There are many foods and drinks out there that can help you to reduce your stress levels. With your next dinner, try a glass of Red Wine. Red wine has been shown to possess many health benefits and while you definitely don’t want to over do it with alcohol, wine can indeed slow your system down and help you relax. Drink sparingly, but when you are in a pinch, this is definitely a trick to remember!
Other options that will help you to reduce stress:
- Drink water constantly. Keep your system hydrated to keep your brain charged and ready to deal with the challenges that life throws at you.
- Whole grains to boost serotonin levels.
- Add a variety of teas to your cabinets and drink them regularly. Chamomile, black tea, and citrus teas work wonders for your body.
- Eat Nuts and seeds to reduce your blood pressure.
- Eat salmon, other varieties of fish, spinach, and other foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
2) Break Free of the Noise of the World
Shut your phone, computer, and I-Pad off and take a break from technology. Especially when you are not at work, don’t check that work email. Checking work email constantly can lead to high levels of stress. Don’t become part of the 83% of the population that checks their work emails after work. When you go home just be home and enjoy the company of your family, or a good book.
3) Do Something Active Every Day
Exercising is one of the best ways to relieve stress. I personally make it a point to go on a long walk or go for a run when I am feeling particularly stressed out. Working out unleashes pent up endorphins and can make you feel much happier by giving you something to focus on other than the thoughts that are flooding your mind.
When you workout or go on a walk, focus on your breathing to remember that you are only human. You can only do so much in one day and there will always be tomorrow.
4) Find a Project to Work On
Finding a project to work on is an excellent way to forget about the stressors in your life and do something you really enjoy. Here are some examples of fun projects you can undertake to give yourself drive and motivation to push past the tougher parts of life:
- Build a birdhouse
- Write a book
- Do a puzzle
- Create a blog like this one!
- Learn something new, like how to bake a pie or play an instrument like the guitar.
Regardless of what it is, make a project for yourself. Your sense of accomplishment will be sky high and I guarantee that you will feel better. I am convinced that finding projects to work on is one of the key components of a happy life, and you would do well to make your life about more than just the daily grind of work and responsibilities.
5) Try These Relaxation Techniques
- Meditation is a great way to relax your mind and calm your system down. Even just a few minutes a day can do wonders for your stressed out body!
- Take a deep breath. Breathe in and out slowly to gradually lower your heart rate and calm your mind.
- Think positively and tell yourself that you can do it. A higher degree of positive thinking can give you focus and direction and relax your mind.
- Laugh. Find a good joke online or text a buddy for a funny story. Laughing is a great way for the body to calm down and it also brings on a smile, which just happens to be technique #6!
Smiling is a great way to reduce your stress levels. Smiling releases endorphins which work to counteract stress hormones. This one is the easiest things you can do, and the good news is you don’t need any fancy equipment or any extra money. All you need is your face, a happy thought, and the will to curve your lips upwards.
7) Sleep More Often and Longer
Sleep is one of the most under-appreciated and under-utilized mechanisms for dealing with a multitude of ailments and injuries. It also happens to be one of the best ways to counteract stress!
I know that sleep is something that can get put on the back burner as something that is not overly important. It is true that I often don’t get enough sleep and when I get really busy sleep is one of the first things that get pushed aside. Don’t fall for the lie that you don’t need that much sleep as it will always catch up with you.
Losing a few hours here and there is fine (and totally normal!) but if you think you can survive on 4-5 hours of sleep per night you are surely mistaken. Most adults need about 8 hours of sleep per night, and if you are not getting enough it will eventually catch up to you in the form of a sickness or a much needed nap in the middle of the day at work.
Final thoughts on Stress
Stress is something that you shouldn’t take for granted. Start to fight back right away and do what you can to reduce the impact of stress on your body.
Please let me know if any of these methods work for you by commenting below!
Thanks for reading and I wish you a stress free day!