Meditation is becoming more and more popular in the western world, and there’s a reason for it. Over 3000 scientific studies have proven the amazing health benefits of meditation, which includes decreased stress, anxiety and worry, improved mood and relaxation, increased mental strength and focus, and stronger immune system to mention some of them. The effects can be seen with only a few minutes meditation every day, and can be done anywhere at anytime. It’s a wonderful way to get back to the present moment, get rid of stress and tension and clear your mind during a stressful day. I can also highly recommend getting a meditation app on your phone, with both advice, guidance and guided meditations anywhere you are.
2. Breathe deep
Whenever you’re feeling stressed during your day, just stop for a second and breathe deeply. Repeat this a few times and just feel the air going into your lungs as you breathe in fully. Try to relax, let your shoulders fall down, and try to eliminate any tension in your jaw and face. You will quickly feel both stress and anxiety release. Breathing in deep can even quickly calm even stronger panic attacks and relieve pain. This is something that’s incredibly easy and simple to do in whatever situation you are in, either at home, during a stressful day at work, at a school exam or when having to deal with an urgent situation. Get into the habit that whenever something feels a bit overwhelming, or you feel stressed out – just stop for a second, take three deep breaths and clear your mind and relax before you continue.
3. Get some exercise
If you’re feeling down, put on a pair of shoes and go for a little jog. Exercising regularly lowers your stress levels significantly and heightens overall wellbeing. However, workouts are also great for immediate stress relief, taking your mind off work and things that may be stressing you out and releasing endorphins in your brain – the brain’s “feel good” chemicals. Try to get some good physical exercise at least 3 times a week. It doesn’t have to be a long hour session at the gym, or running outside for hours, it can even be just short 7-10 min workouts at your own home! It’s always possible to squeeze in a little bit of exercise in your day, even if it is just 20 pushups on the bathroom floor before you take a shower. In fact, newer findings point towards that even only 2 minutes a day (!) of intense exercise (30 seconds x 4 sets with breaks in between), 3 days a week is enough to get most of the positive health benefits available from physical activity.
4. Go out in nature
It’s scientifically proven that spending time in nature can improve mood, and ease negative feelings like anxiety, depression and stress. Make it a habit to spend some time in nature every week. Move some of your workouts from the treadmill to the forest or park if you can. Go for some hikes in the weekends. Bring a friend, some food and some hot drinks and go camping under the open sky. Bring your dog for a little jog in the forest, or go fishing at a local lake. There are so many ways to spend more time in nature, and the effects are amazing.
5. Get social
If you’re feeling down, don’t lock yourself in your room. Get out and socialize and meet people and friends. Just being with somebody else, talking face to face and having fun is a great way to improve your mood instantly. Just having someone to keep you busy and think about other things can help a lot releasing stress. Even if you can’t meet anybody, just talking on the phone with a friend also works very well. Anything that can take your mind off the things that make you stressed, while making you smile and enjoying yourself, will quickly fix a bad mood instantly.
Kick back with your favorite show, watch some funny videos, talk with a friend that makes you laugh, or see a comedy show. Laughing lowers your cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) levels, and boosts the brain’s “happy” chemicals (endorphins), which lightens up your mood and sense of happiness and pleasure. Anything that makes you laugh and smile will help against that daily stress we all face. Don’t forget to just lean back, relax, and have some fun every now and then. Don’t stress yourself out completely, make it a habit to set aside some time to just let go and enjoy yourself.
I hope some of these tips will help in battling the stress we face in work and personal life.