It goes without saying, everyone has felt a little bit of stress in their lives. Whether something at work irked you the wrong way, financial troubles, that traffic jam on the way home that you desperately want to get through, or simply being overwhelmed with too many things to do. Many times things keep piling on top of each other and increasing stress levels.
When stress creeps upon us, hormones such as cortisol flood our systems, increasing our heart rates. A direct correlation to our blood pressure which also increases, and causing our blood vessels to constrict. This is well-known as a “stress response.” It can cause anything from chronic disorders such as headaches and hypertension, to mental disorders such as anxiety- which I have suffered from due to stress causing me to overthink simple scenarios and blowing them up to substantial proportions- and even depression.
Luckily enough for us, our bodies have also developed a “relaxation response.” According to NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. During this time, our heart rate and breathing start to slow and return to a normal state, as well as our blood pressure levels decreasing, and even allows us to use less oxygen, calming the body.
There are times when we ignore the signs our body is giving us, leading up to immense levels of stress. Whether we see them and choose to ignore them, or we simply just do not realize what to look for until it is too late. This video will show some of the signs to look for that may allow you to detect when you are becoming overwhelmed.
When it comes to stress, there are times where it is inevitable and we simply just can not avoid it. All we can do is work to undo the affects it gives us. This has been a problem for mankind for some time, and Science has worked on ways to cope with and even lower levels of stress, and hit that “relaxation response.” Here are some ways that will allow you to do just that:
Step Away from the Screen
It is important that you take during the day from computer or even use of your phone. Especially if your job requires you to be looking at a monitor for long periods of time, simply stepping back for a few minutes can help lower amounts of stress.
Being around a screen, whether it be your phone or computer for too long has been linked to higher levels of stress, even causing lost sleep and depression in some women, according to a study done at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The same study also revealed that late night computer use has caused higher levels of stress in both men and women. It is recommended to turn off the screen 1 hour prior to bedtime.
10 minute walk
There are studies being conducted on a phenomenon known as “involuntary attention” which can help put our bodies into a sort of meditation state. During this phenomenon something holds our attention, but allows for reflection. It is easiest accomplished walking through a park or another greener area. If you happen to not be near a park, any walk is great for de-stress. It can help boost endorphins which reduce stress hormones, and help to clear your head.
Get yourself a house or office plant
There is nothing like a good plant to help purify the air around you. Now researchers have found that plants can actually help calm you down. One study at Washington State University, reported by prevention magazine found that a group of people entering a room full of plants had a four-point drop in blood pressure as opposed to a group with entering a room with no plants had only a two-point drop. It has been shown that they can help induce that “relaxation response” I had mentioned earlier.
There are many different plants out there that can help with certain things. It is best to do a little research on what it is that bothers you and see what plants can help. If all else fails they can at least do an excellent job brightening up your room.
Listening to Music
Listening to music you love will flood your brain with dopamine or other feel-good neurochemicals that will allow your body to lower blood pressure and even decrease levels of stress hormones. You should always choose something that you enjoy, but in my previous experience with this, classical music has had a soothing affect on my body in times of stress.
This one strikes deeply with me. There have been many instances where I have found myself succumbing to stress, stepped back taken a few deep breaths and felt better almost immediately. A lot of times taking a few deep breaths and focusing on each inhale and exhale can lower stress levels tremendously.
Breathe- or known as pranayama by many yogis, is a major factor in nourishing our bodies, and many medical researchers agree. Breathing exercises or just a few breaths can give us an extra boost of oxygen needed to lower tension and reduce stress. Deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic reaction, helping us to calm down. According to Harvard researcher Herbert Benson, breathing exercises have even been able to help in aiding some of the bodies systems that can be harmed due to stress. It can lower blood pressure, and rejuvenate the body. There are many breathing techniques and exercises, or even meditation you can find, the key is finding which one will work best for you.
Treat Yourself to Something Sweet
Now I am not recommending going to the nearest vending machine and spending $5 on every candy bar it has. But something as simple as a Hersey’s Kiss or a peppermint candy can stem the production of the hormone stress glucocorticoid which can help sooth the stressful feeling that may be acting up.
I Want to Reiterate, Step Away from the Phone
Smartphones are directly linked to higher levels of stress, due to a subconscious feeling to always check notifications or if you have any new messages.
Try Forms of Yoga or Mediation
These are great ways to relieve stress. They can attack the physical symptoms of stress immediately by relaxing the heart rate, and stretching out and opening up the body.
My best recommendation again is to find what is best for you. There are many techniques you can find and try.
Melnick, Meredith. “20 Scientifically Backed Ways To De-Stress Right Now.” Huff Post. Huffington Post, n.d. Web