Stress Busters (Kevin Solon)

September 12, 2016

While therapy helps, it takes time. What can you do right now to help reduce your stress levels?

  • Here are a few ideas:
  • Breathe deeply. Taking deep breaths has been shown to lower cortisol levels that in turn can help reduce stress and anxiety. Studies suggest deep breathing can also cause a temporary drop in blood pressure.
  • Progressive relaxation. From the top of your head to the tips of your toes – tense and then release each muscle group in the body (neck, chest, arms, back and abdomen, etc). Once the body is relaxed, the mind will soon follow.
  • Yoga. The combination of deep breathing techniques and poses makes this activity work to reduce stress.
  • Meditate. The ‘quiet mind’ that goes along with meditation can have a positive effects on stress (especially work-related stress).
  • Listen to music. Research points to multiple ways in which music can help relieve stress, from triggering biochemical stress reducers to assisting in treating stress associated with medical procedures.
  • Laugh. It is said that ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Laughing brings us into the present moment and away from the ‘what if’s’ associated with the future.
  • Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.
  • Guided Visualisation. Visualising a calm or peaceful scene may help reduce stress and ease anxiety.
  • Get a massage. Research argues that massage has a direct relationship with positive health outcomes
  • Try self-hypnosis. Research suggests hypnosis can help reduce anxiety. In addition, it’s a great self-mediated technique for stress-relief.
  • Take a nap. Napping has been shown to reduce cortisol levels. (Probably best not to do this at work!!)
  • Get a dog. Dog owners have been shown to be less stressed.
  • Do an art project. Art therapy can potentially reduce stress-related behaviour and symptoms.
  • Write it out. Keeping a journal may be one way to effectively relieve stress-related symptoms due to its meditative and reflective effects. Writing regularly, about what you are grateful for, can really help us put things in perspective and help us to feel happier.
  • Take a walk. A quiet, meditative stroll can do wonders for stress relief, especially when we step outdoors. Take the time to observe your surroundings and walk at a natural, easy pace. And remember to leave your phone and headphones at home.

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