Use these 11 activities to help reduce stress levels now.
If you’ve read our post ‘Are you Addicted to stress‘ you may now be looking for some ideas on how to relieve stress or just to help get those stress levels down.
We think these 11 activities and hobbies below achieve that, oh and we especially like the Chocolate one!
1. Meditation using visual imagery
Find somewhere that you can relax, quiet, away from the bustle.
If this is the first time using this relaxation method then you might try it sitting up and not lying down as it is easy to fall asleep when lying.
If you find that you really enjoy meditation and want to do it a lot more, it might be worth buying yourself a great quality Meditation cushion like this one to avoid a painful bottom!
With eyes shut let your cares drift away, imagine a place of peace and quiet that to you is restful. As clearly as you can picture the peaceful place, try to sense the smell, feel and what you can hear in the imagined place.
Using your senses
Using as many of your senses as possible letting images come in that appeal to you.
If you are thinking about a coastal scene for example:
- Walk slowly along the beach noticing the colors of the sea and the beach and sky.
- Explore the scene with your senses hear the sea, the wildlife and your feet as you walk along the beach .
- See the light on the water.
- Hear the cry of the gulls and the birds singing.
- Smell the sea and the beach.
- Feel the water on your feet and the sand as your feet sink in. Imagine the sand running though your fingers.
- Taste the salty air.
Take pleasure in the deep relaxation that you should feel as you slowly discover your chosen peaceful scene.
Come back into the present when you have finished with your exploration, slowly and gently opening your eyes.
You may experience feelings of disorientation during a session of visual meditation this is normal.
As are feelings of heaviness of the limbs or involuntary muscle movements even yawning or coughing these are all normal responses.
Most people under stress want to revert to a place where there were no pressures and for most of us that is childhood.
Colouring is the new adult stress reliever and experts are advising that this hobby is an excellent way to relieve everyday stress.
By focusing on the colouring of an intricate picture we are almost in a meditative state unconcerned about the past or worrying about the future. There is no competition or possibility of failure it is creative and peaceful.
A recent study found that stress is dealt with far better if a creative activity is followed outside of work.
Adult colouring books are readily available and super cheap at places like Amazon or if you’d prefer you can download 45 free adult colouring pages from us here.
3. Eat Dark Chocolate
Full of nutrients that help reduce stress hormones but make sure it’s 70% or higher in cocoa content like these Cocoa nibs as that’s the kind that will help you the most.
Great thing is it’s Yummy too!
Research has shown that massage as a stress reliever is perfect but some massage techniques are better than others.
Stress the body’s natural survival tool triggers the “fight or flight” reaction in all of us and occurs when the sympathetic nervous system produces large quantities of adrenaline and nor- adrenaline and cortisol.
These chemicals help to protect us from dangerous situations but over time non life threatening stress activation can contribute to chronic medical problems such as high blood pressure, insulin dependency, anxiety and depression.
Many studies have shown that massage is an effective stress reliever as it reduces the chemicals caused by stress.
The top four best massage methods of stress relief are:
This method of massage uses long gliding strokes to relax as well as vibration, kneading, shaking and friction to stretch tendons, improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure.
This is the most common method of massage.
This method works on the ear, the ear contains hundreds of pressure points and massaging the ear in the area corresponding to the central nervous system helps to encourage the release of the body’s natural stress relieving hormones.
A well-known stress reliever is head massage, the cranium has thin muscles that can hold a great deal of tension. A Swedish Massage normally includes a head massage but an Indian Head Massage treatment uses an Ayuverdic head oil which is particularly relaxing.
When essential oils are added to the oil or lotion used in the massage treatment the results can be powerful to the relief of stress.
The inhalation of the essential oil through the nostrils, which are attached to the limbic system, the area of the brain where the emotions are regulated and where the nervous system and hormones are affected, can directly influence stress mechanisms.
There are other massage methods and it is a personal preference.
How to relieve stress the natural way? Laughter and it’s just what the doctor ordered.
Laughter has a positive effect on the bodies intake of oxygen, as laughing stimulates the muscles it fills the lungs with new air and triggers the body to release endorphins, by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure a relaxed feeling results.
By having a good laugh the circulation of your body is stimulated aiding muscle relaxation and reducing physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter can also help to improve the immune system by negating the chemical effects that stress has on the immune system.
It can also trigger the body to produce its own natural pain killers lifting our mood generally helping to lessen depression and anxiety.
If you are struggling with depression and it is putting a strain on your relationships, laughter can go a long way to helping rekindle that flame.
How to relieve stress in a 100% natural way?…Yoga
Disciplines help bring about a peace in body and mind, it is considered to be a mind-body complementary and alternative medicine practice. It aids relaxation allowing the management of stress and anxiety to those who practice Yoga.
There are many different styles of yoga and all are beneficial it is just personal preference.
The practice of yoga is done through the of poses or postures they increase strength and flexibility. As well as the poses controlling the breath is an all important part of the practice by controlling the breath the body is controlled and the mind becomes quite.
The practice of yoga can have health benefits including the reduction of stress and anxiety, helping with depression, improvement of flexibility, strength and range of movement. The risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease and blood pressure can be reduced.
As with all exercise regimes before beginning if you have health conditions consult your GP. There are many online websites that have yoga postures for practice but it is best to find a local class with a registered yoga teacher as they will advise on the safe practice of any poses.
Why not double up and maximise your relaxation levels by using essential oils whilst practising yoga?
7. How to relieve stress in the easiest way possible? Get out in the Sun
Nothing beats feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, it’s just that simple! It raises the bodies Serotonin levels which in turn helps lift your mood. Plus it just feels wonderful!
How to relieve stress and get some exercise at the same time? What better way to achieve this than Walking.
It doesn’t need any special clothes or equipment, the joining of a gym or exercise class, it can be done in a lunch hour or a spare 20 minutes any time of day. It really can be a little as just taking a nice slow walk to reduce muscle tension and lower anxiety, breathe in some fresh air.
As well as the loss of weight and getting into shape, walking has the added benefit of calming nerves and improving your mood, a 20 to 30 minute walk has the same benefit as a mild tranquilizer.
Walking or any physical exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the brain chemical that relieves pain and stimulates relaxation.
Studies have shown that a gentle stroll is just as beneficial as a brisk walk as it increases the blood flow to the brain.
By concentrating on the breath whilst you walk and allowing yourself to enjoy the sun, breeze or rain on your skin and your surroundings the trees, flowers, birds or store windows that you are walking past you are giving yourself a break from your worries.
We talk more about the benefits of walking in our post ‘The huge benefits of Walking more’ and also some ways to increase you daily step count.
Research shows that physical activity not only helps energy levels, quality of sleep and boosts your mood it reduces stress and depression.
Being physically active also lowers the risk of many chronic diseases type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes and some cancers.
Any exercise is beneficial to the relief of stress and anxiety, it is the concentration that is required whist performing the chosen exercise that allows relaxation, lowering the symptoms of anxiety and mild depression.
Exercise also improves sleep which stress, anxiety and depression often disrupts. By concentrating on the movements of the exercise regime can help dissolve the day’s irritations
Simple and quick, try Aromatherapy, a few drops of an essential oil on a tissue, cotton pad and inhaled deeply can help reduce anxiety and stress, by invigorating the smell receptors that connect to the area of the brain that controls emotions.
Always go for a good essential oil as the purer the oil the better. The following are some of those that can help with stress and anxiety, but any smell that you enjoy will help.
Rose: To help with all stress issues
Lavender : Soothing
Marjoram: For grief and emotional pain
Ylang Ylang : Anger and frustration
Geranium: Improves a down mood
Chamomile : Calms and is medicinal
Vertiver: Grounds and cools emotions
11. Listen to you favourite Music
The beneficial effects of music have been known about since ancient times the Greeks and Assyrians appreciated the organic reactions in the body that listening to music can elicit.
Life is better with music, whether it is waking up to music, dancing or singing to your favorite piece, music affects our emotions, perceptions and physical well-being.
Sad songs can help release emotions that have held back the move to a happier place and heavy rock music can help to relieve anger allowing a calmer mood and relaxation.
Music is an inexpensive way to stem the downward spiral of stress and anxiety, music helps our mood by negating the negative thoughts in our subconscious mind that fuel our fears and result in stress.