Stress Got You Down? How To Relax

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We've all been there. We become stressed from work, stressed from running a household. Life is crazy, and it stresses you out. I totally get that.

Being stressed actually decreases the function of your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness and diseases. You might get tension headaches, insomnia, and your risk for a heart attack or a stroke is increased.

With your health being at risk, you need to learn how to relax and to relieve your stress. Whatever the causes may be for your stress, your health is more important.

What is stress?

Stress is our physiological response to a situation -- a situation that is beyond our control. Stress is when your "fight-or-flight" response is put into overdrive and pumps chemicals through your body, such as cortisol.

How do you maintain stress?

There are many ways that you can maintain your stress and help your body to relax. What you choose to do it all up to you and what works for your body.

Breathe deeply. Take in a deep breath in. Try to relax your muscles while expanding your stomach and chest. Exhale slowly. Repeat several times.

  • This is a yoga technique, and it allows you to focus on your breathing. Follow your breath as it flows in and out. Don't try to control it. Just let it do its thing. You can even try to inhale deeply while counting to 10 and then exhale while counting to 10.

Exercise regularly. Exercising allows the chemical serotonin in your brain to be produced and flow throughout your body. Serotonin is called the "feel good" chemical or the "happy" chemical. When serotonin gets flowing, you start to feel more relaxed, more at peace, and happier. It also helps to improve your sleep.

  • Take a quick walk around the block or take your dog out to the park.

  • Do yoga or practice meditation.

Eat healthy foods. Always make sure you take time out for lunch to relax and to regroup. Take healthy snacks with you if you work out of the home. Avoid coffee and alcohol, as they both can increase your stress levels.

Don't let others get you down. This is a major cause of stress. Choose friends who love you for who you are and that don't get you down. Be around people who make you happy.

  • If you're stressed, call up a good friend and visit with them for a bit.

  • Don't hold grudges. Holding a grudge is like drinking poison hoping to make the other person sick. Just don't do it.

  • Learn to let the small things go. If it's not something that's going to make an impact on your life next week, next month, just let it go. Don't deal with it.

Find out what's causing your stress.

  • It could be a slow build up of everyday annoyances (which I totally get).

  • A tight schedule.

  • Life changes-both positive and negative.

  • Inner conflict. Anger and resentment towards yourself, your situation, or something your significant other has said or done.

    • Take a few minutes out of your day and write a letter or your thoughts on how you're feeling.

Recharge your spirit, and your energy by listening to music. Music helps improve your mood and makes you feel better and increases your energy levels.

  • Pop in your ear buds and play your favorite music.

Give yourself permission to enjoy the little things.

  • Watch a movie you've been wanting to see.

  • Take a walk or go on a hike.

  • Take a long bubble bath.

  • Sit in your favorite place and read a book.

Make sure you're getting enough sleep.

  • When you're sleep deprived, your body is more prone to the responses of stress. You're more likely to snap if you haven't had enough sleep.

Knowing what your stressors are and how to either prevent them or how to relax and keep your cool is the first step towards a healthier mind and body. You'll become happier and healthier and you'll enjoy like a whole lot more!

How do you handle the stresses of every day like? Let us know!


Source: Natural medicines and cures: Your doctor never tells you about. (1995). Peachtree City, GA: FC & A Pub.

Previously published on Gettin' Healthy