Stress is all around us and it pretty much affects everyone at some point in the day. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or head of a Fortune 500 company, things can quickly pile up and reach near-explosion level. Different people handle stress in different ways, but there are some tried and true stress busters that anyone can use to keep from breaking down in the middle of the day. They can also be used to relax at the end of the day so that you are able to sleep well and tackle life all over again the next day.
One way to learn how to handle stress effectively is to take a course and learn in just one weekend how to keep it from ruining relationships, causing you to lose your temper and maybe even cost you your job. It’s certainly worthwhile to check into.
But if you are on the job right now being hounded by a demanding boss or your kids won’t stop screaming at the dog and eat his Happy Meal, immediate relief can be found.
Some Quick Stress Busters
- Catch it right away. Recognize what is triggering your blood pressure to rise and remove yourself from it. Try to control it or remind yourself that this is not worth having a break down over.
- Say it. “I’m too frustrated!” Get it out. Express it. Believe it or not, that will give you a bit of relief to just say it.
- Change your posture. Seriously. Adjust. Make a physical move. It’s enough to distract your brain while you calm down. In fact, if you can, get up and stretch or walk around.
- OK… take this one with caution. Eat. Just don’t eat something that will blow your diet or cause problems. Grab a sugar free cookie or something healthy to sink your teeth into. If you are diabetic, you might need something sweet to keep your blood sugar at a safe level.
- Turn your dang phone off. Obviously if you have to have it on because you are a CIA operative (smile) or you need it in case your kid calls, that’s one thing. But the world is not going to fall apart if you check out for 10 minutes or even a couple of hours. A phone’s incessant ringing can elevate your blood pressure in a snap. And be realistic – people owned and ran successful businesses and raised happy kids for centuries without cell phones!
- If something is on your mind that you need to make a decision on, just do it. Get it over with, especially if it’s not something that’s going to heavily impact your life. Make a decision and be over and done with it.
- Laugh. Keep a joke book handy. Studies show time and time again that people who laugh a lot have lower stress levels. With technology the way it is today, you can even download a favorite comic onto your iPhone and listen for a good laugh when the day’s events call for it. Yes, it’s true – laughter is the best medicine. After all, it’s free and it’s contagious.
- Exercise. This is a huge way to release stress. Beat the heck out of a punching bag, run, do jumping jacks, anything to get the juices flowing, take your mind off of what you got stressed about and release those happy agents in your body, also known as endorphins. By the way, exercise also prepares your body to handle stress.
- Practice letting go. Learn how to not waste energy and time on things that you can’t control or don’t really matter anyway.
- Don’t react. Breathe first. Give your brain a second to take it all in, process it and initiate a response that won’t make it worse.
- Talk slower. Believe it or not, this is recommended by psychological experts because talking slower gives you more chance to breathe and keep your heart rate from accelerating.
- Get some fresh air. It really works to fill your lungs with fresh air and rejuvenate the senses.
- Think of something rewarding that you can do for yourself once you are out of the situation.
Specific Tools That Can Cut Down Stress
One of the most recommended tools to use as a stress buster is meditation. Many of the world’s biggest CEOs use meditation as part of their lives. It not only relaxes your mind and body, it also helps battle other causes of high blood pressure, such as anxiety, fear and anger. Sure, you can figure out how to sit in a corner by yourself with only your thoughts, or relax in a hot bath. However, your meditations will be more successful and long lasting if get some training in the art of meditation. Pick up some techniques that will last you a lifetime.
We mentioned exercise as a way to relieve stress. Different people may find different work outs that suit them, but there is one form of exercise that requires flexibility and concentration, yet its benefits are far reaching as a stress buster. We’re talking about yoga. Check out this program designed specifically to address stress. It will teach you how to capitalize on breathing and turning stress into positive energy.
Earlier it was mentioned that eating something healthy could be a stress reliever. However, for some people, food becomes an avenue to escape from dealing with stress head on. When you eat to relieve stress, sometimes you aren’t even aware that you are doing just that. Nonetheless it is called “emotional eating.” It can become a serious problem, as although it may relieve a stressful situation, it could also result in substantial weight gain ultimately health risks. Learn how to stop emotional eating.
The truth is there are certain foods that are good at helping relieving stress, but it’s most important to learn to control eating as a mechanism to combat stress. That said, over recent years, there’s been a lot of discussion about foods that do give your mind natural highs and help reduce your stress levels. They include:
- Asparagus – it’s a natural mood stabilizer.
- Beef – OK meat lovers, simmer down. Eat in moderation, as it is full of zinc, iron and B vitamins that are also known to keep mood swings to a minimum. Just make sure you aren’t eating fatty beef.
- Milk – go with low fat and it will provide certain vitamins that help keep your immune system in good shape. That’s important to keep your stress level from elevating if you are worrying too much if you get sick.
- Cottage Cheese – add some fruit for a snack that is good for you and filling so you can get back to concentrating on your work.
- Almonds – in addition to being flat out good for you, the crunching helps reduce stress.
- Blueberries – high fiber, low-calorie and Vitamin C-rich, which is known to be a stress reducer.
- Tuna – it’s loaded with stress fighting vitamins.
- Cornflakes or Rice Krispies – stress fighters as long as you don’t load up on sugar.
Just remember – these foods will help keep your stress level down, as long as you don’t use them as emotional crutches.
Replace Stress With Joy
Stress can cause a lot of problems, especially over time if we don’t learn how to manage it and even better, minimize it. The most important thing that you can do to get your stress level under control and keep it from negatively impacting your life is to learn how to relax. We’ve touched on some things you can do to respond to stress, but there are techniques for you to learn that will help you block stress, boost energy and create a relaxed response.
Everyone has to find his/her own way of dealing with stress. Make sure you explore different options to find your balance of stress busters to help you maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit.