Stress affects people in so many ways. Whether it’s something random and small like a stuff left at home or getting caught in a traffic jam to bigger issues such as getting laid off from work to the death of a loved one, stress has impacts in your lives that go beyond the psychological.
Some researchers have noted that a bit of stress is good enough to motivate the body and encourage good memory. However, being stressed more than 80% of the time is alarming and often leads to further concerns such as physical and mental problems.
Here are five things you can do to combat stress as it begins without having to take pills or consult a psychologist.
1. Breathe Deeply.
When you start to feel the stress caving in, stop what you’re doing and take a deep breath. Do this for a minute until you feel yourself relaxing and your heart rate slowing down. For better results, pick a quiet place then lie down on a mat (unless you’re at work then this is not a good idea) and close your eyes. Place your hands with palms facing up beside you and take deep breaths. The quiet and consistent breathing will help calm you down.
2. Stretch Your Muscles.
Stress is bad for your body as it tends to tense your muscles in painful knots. As soon as you start to feel the tension and worry, relax and begin stretching your arms, shoulders and even legs. The movement takes your mind away from your concerns and the stretching relieves your body.
3. Work It Out.
Doing exercise helps your body sweat and pushes it to release endorphins, which produces “happy hormones.” Don’t have the time to hit the gym? That’s okay. A simple cardio routine at home could already keep your heart pumped up. Do 40 repetitions of jumping jacks, high knees or running-in-place to help boost your heart activity.
When stress creeps in, try to focus your thoughts on things that have a calming effect to help you relax. Listen to soft music (yes, jazz is okay), look at something green, as the color is famous for its soothing effect or light an aromatherapy candle (lavender scent is best). Basically find things to do that would keep your mind of what stresses you out. You can also opt to watch a funny movie or read a book. The key here is to find an activity that would distract you from your stressor.
5. Step Away From What Stresses You.
It may sound so simple but it’s actually very hard to do especially when a deadline is involved. But soaking yourself in what worries you won’t do you any good. So it’s best to leave it off for a while. Close that document or spreadsheet, reply to that email later or walk off away from an annoying colleague. You can deal with that later but for the moment it’s important that you step away and collect your thoughts so you don’t end up doing or saying something you would regret.