Stressed because your stress is out of control? There are easy, no-cost techniques for that!
Often times, when we feel stressed, we may fall prey to unhealthy or unhelpful methods of release, like eating junk food or lashing out at loved ones (we’re human!). But if you have a cheat sheet of productive stress-blasting activities at your fingertips, you can avoid bad habits from kicking in and taking over.
When it comes to stress, the more tools you have in your toolbox, the better. We’ve put together five stress-slayers that offer big calm at no cost.
When you’re feeling on (or over) the edge, one of the quickest ways to usher in good vibes is by moving your body. Not a member of a gym? No problem. There are a lot of workouts on Youtube and Instagram that can offer you an amazing endorphin-releasing burn.
Workout endorphins are your body's pain-relieving, feel-good response to the fight-or-flight stress of exercise. But to ensure you generate a happy buzz, you must challenge yourself. Try breaking up your normal routine by lifting heavy weights or getting your heart rate up with kickboxing, sprints, high-intensity interval training, or a 30-minute run.
Having a workout goal in mind will also help you refocus your mind away from the stress and on your end game. As a result, you'll push yourself a little bit harder. Other suggestions: add an upbeat playlist to your workout.
Pets benefit every single aspect of your life, from keeping you more active to improving health markers like cholesterol and blood pressure. Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of oxytocin, the love hormone, and decrease production of cortisol, the stress hormone. On another level, simply hanging out with your pets can zap your agitated thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and replace them with compassion and happiness. If you don’t have a pet, sign up to be a foster parent, donate your time at an animal shelter, or ask to walk a friend or neighbor’s dog.
How could you stay negative or stressed when surrounded by the awe-inspiring beauty of mother nature? Spending even a short amount of time outdoors offers an immediate, effortless way to calm the body. So find the nearest park. Hit the nature trail. Or take care of that gardening project you’ve been putting off.
Make a list of three activities that bring you joy and, when stress hits hard, pick one and do it. Select activities that you know give you positive energy and fuel your soul. Is it journaling? Art? Cooking? The more joy and gratitude you have in your life, the less likely you are to let stress set in and ruin your day. To keep anxiety away, it's important to always be connecting to the little things you love to do and making them a priority -- especially in times of turmoil.
Our addiction to social media may be stressing us out more than we know. If you’re already in a dark mood, turning to social sites and reading upsetting news, hurtful comments, or angry posts can make us feel worse. Even a small social media break can bring you back to the present and do a lot of good for your mood. Start with taking a break from all social apps for an hour, two hours, and then work your way up to a full day. You might feel a whole lot lighter and brighter afterward.
When you’re in the midst of a stress storm, it can be tough to get back to your happy place. Sometimes the best course of action is to slow down and redirect your thoughts with a little “you” time. Make a vow to try one of these activities the next time you feel overly stressed. They just may prove that there’s a simpler path to total calm.
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