We all know stress is bad for us. So, why don’t we do more to reduce it? Reducing stress is good for us and it takes less time than you think. Developing some simple practices that that take less than 15 minutes a day can improve your health and well-being significantly.
Here are 7 of our favorites…
Just a few minutes of meditation a day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach. Don’t know how to start? There are ton of Meditation apps for your phone that can help you get started. The Headspace app is great for beginners.
Slow your heart rate, relieve anxiety by taking just a breathing break. When you slow your heart rate, you can lower blood pressure, lower cortisol, and give your body a chance to just catch up. Like meditation taking a time out to close your eyes, and take deep breaths can be the interrupt you need to relieve stress.
3. Reach Out
When we are stressed we often feel alone. We feel like we are the only ones dealing with problems. All of us have faced challenges in our lives. Reaching out for support and talking to others, preferably in person is a great way to relieve some stress. When you share what is going on, you might get an outside perspective that could surprise you.
4. Laugh Out Loud
Laughter is a natural medicine. It is contagious, brings people together, can help us feel more alive, and more and more research is pointing to its therapeutic value. Laughing increases your oxygen intake, stimulates your heart and lungs, relaxes muscles, balances blood pressure, and can even relieve pain. Can’t find anything to laugh at? Just google “try not to laugh” on youtube. We dare you! LOL
5. Listen to Music
Research has shown that listening to music can actually lower blood pressure and relieve anxiety. Whether you turn on a classical channel and focus on the melodies or sing loudly to your favorite upbeat song, you are sure to relieve some stress!
It is no secret that exercise is good for you. When you exercise your brain releases feel-good chemicals that help your body deal with stress. Any form of exercise works, including yoga, walking, running, taking the stairs, or simple stretches. As long as you get your body moving you are making a difference.
7. Be Grateful
Stress has a way of putting your thoughts out of balance. We start to forget about what is really important and the good things in our lives. Science agress that gratitude is good for your health. “Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” said Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.” When we think about what we are grateful for, it calms part of the nervous system which can in return reduce cortisol levels, and increase oxytocin, the bonding hormone that makes us feel good. A simple way to start the practice of gratitude is through journaling. Spend a few minutes every day to record things that you are grateful for. It can be from the laughter of child to a new accomplishment. When you are feeling stress you can re-read your journals and remind yourself of the good in your life.