In a study from 2011, 22% of Americans felt that they were extremely stressed. Believe it or not stress effects more of your everyday life than you may realize, including not just your emotional health but also your physical health. For patients dealing with chronic pain conditions, rises in stress often mean rises in pain and flare ups. Here we have listed some tips on how to reduce stress and hopefully in turn reduce the secondhand effects stress has on your body.
Check Your Diet
The various chemicals in food can help to elevate your mood, or in turn to make you unhappy and susceptible to stress. Whole grains, fatty fish, black tea, nuts, and milk are all foods that have been proven to reduce your stress.
Use the 4-7-8 Exercise
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, try using this exercise. Sit up straight and put the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth. Exhale through your mouth, and make a “whoosh” sound. Inhale quietly through your nose and count to 4. Hold your breath and count to 7. Exhale through the mouth, making a “whoosh” sound and count to 8. Do this for a cycle of 3 times.
Relax Your Muscles
Holding tension in your muscles is bad for stress. When you need to calm down, focus on your feet. Focus on the muscles in your toes, feet and ankle and let them relax. Once you have done this, start moving from the bottom up and go to your calfs, your knees, your thighs, all the way up to the top of your head. Let every muscle relax and by the end of the exercise you will feel much less tension throughout your body.
Find Creative Outlets
Making time for yourself is important for stress release. This may be drawing, painting, working on cars, making furniture, the options are endless. Something that you enjoy doing and you are not rushed to finish. Taking this time to yourself is a great way to relax and find yourself in a place of peacefulness.
Listen To Music
Put on your favorite tunes and listen to some music. It’s hard to be stressed when you are listening to something that makes you happy. Feel free to get up and dance around.
Using mindfulness meditation is a great way to reduce stress and calm your mind. Meditation has so many benefits other than just stress reduction. It can help reduce your blood pressure and increase heart rate consistency. If possible, try meditating once a day for 20 minutes. Clear your mind and as thoughts come into your mind, let them pass through without focusing on them. As you gain experience you will be able to sit with a clear mind, but it is not about focusing on having no thoughts, rather it is about letting those thoughts pass and not ‘stick’ in your mind.
Get Some Exercise
Activities such as aerobic exercise, yoga, swimming, running, dancing and staying active are great ways to release endorphins in the body and reduce your stress. Try to get 30 minutes of activity for 3 to 4 times week. It has also been said that if you are finding yourself in a stressful situation right now, get up and take a 20 minute walk. That easy exercise can help get your mind back into the right place and is a great way to knock out your activity minutes for the day.