4 Ways to Relieve Stress
We can’t avoid stress. It is the body’s inbuilt device to help us to cope with what life throws at us. From the moment we crawl out of bed until the time we return to the covers, it is a constant that we have to contend with. So, removing stress from our lives is an unrealistic goal.
What we can do is to learn to better manage the stress that we encounter. In this article, we present four scientifically proven ways to more meaningful manage your stress.
Stress Buster #1: Learn to Appreciate
Too often we take life for granted. Yet, learning to appreciate what we have by seeing the good and the value in what we have right now is a key stress reducer.
It is very easy to fix our attention on all the things that are going wrong in our lives. It takes real effort for us to see the good, even though it’s right in front of our faces. In fact, the very process of slowing down in order to ‘smell the roses’ is difficult for most people. The ironic thing is that it is this inability to slow down and appreciate the everyday little things that is a key stress contributor.
When you train your mind to think about the good things that you have, despite the negative curve balls that come your way, you can actually reverse the stress response.
Here is how you can purposefully implement the appreciation strategy:
When you wake up in the morning, mentally review the things you need to do in the day and include on that list two things that you are grateful for.
When you feel stress coming on, take two deep belly breaths. When you inhale for the third breath, let your mind focus on someone you love, a place you enjoy being at or an act of kindness someone has done for you.
Throughout your day, regularly focus on someone you love a place you enjoy being at or an act of kindness some has done for you for up to 30 seconds at a time.
Stress Buster #2: Slow Down
Life is hectic. Everybody is in such a hurry to get from Point A to Point B and to move from one thing to the next. We have appallingly short attention spans and we have lost the ability to be patient and wait. All of those things are bound to bring on stress.
The simple act of slowing down is a fundamental skill that will make your life more relaxed. It is only when we learn to slow down that we truly get to appreciate the beauty of the lives that we live. Slowing down is not difficult, but making it a practice in your life can be. To succeed you need to work at it.
Start by taking notice of what you eat. Take the time to taste and savor your food. This eating with attentive care will help you to make smarter food choices and avoid weight gain.
You don’t have to slow down all day long, but you should have an OFF switch which allows you to slow down when you want to. Slowing down will put less strain on your body and give you more energy as you go about your daily activities.
To instigate the slowing down process, simply tell yourself that you have all the time in the world. As you slow down become totally absorbed in and focused on what you are doing. Doing so will not only reduce stress – it will make you a much better person to be around!
Stress Buster #3: Relax Your Muscles
When we get stressed our muscles become tense. In fact, our bodies can become so used to this bunched up feeling of tension that we are no longer able to relax, even when we aren’t stressed. It is possible, however, to train the body to react in a relaxed manner to a stressful situation.
Stress brings about a natural tightness of muscle and restricted flow of blood to the hands and the feet. Teen muscles feel heavy, whereas relaxed muscles feel light. The interesting thing that our muscles are the most relaxed immediately after they have been tensed.
Consciously tensing and relaxing is a skill that you can develop in order to alleviate stress. You can even do this while driving the car. Grip the steering wheel tightly and then relax your grip. You’ll immediately feel how relaxed the muscles in your arms feel.
Stress Buster #4 Visualise Success
Visualising success involves removing from your mind the negative images of failure that you have and replacing them with positive images of success. When you visualise success, your body will immediately relax and the body calms itself. In contrast, the practice that most people have of constantly feeding themselves negativity leads to stress.
To make success visualisation work for you, think about an area of your life in which you are not successful. Now take three slow, deep belly breaths. Then build up an image of yourself succeeding at that activity. Next, describe to yourself what the image showed you about how to be successful at the activity. Ask yourself how success was different than the things you usually do. Now plan ways to implement that knowledge into your future performance.
Practice this process at least three times for every area of your life that you want to find more success in.