Quick and easy ways to relieve stress
Neil Koehler NY Mills Are you frequently tired? Do you experience headaches and muscle soreness several times per week? Do you perform daily activities at a blistering pace, yet always feel you don't have time to get everything done? If so, you m...
Are you frequently tired? Do you experience headaches and muscle soreness several times per week? Do you perform daily activities at a blistering pace, yet always feel you don't have time to get everything done? If so, you may be overstressed. We've all heard it before: getting enough sleep, eating a proper diet, avoiding excessive caffeine, and taking time to relax are all helpful ways to decrease stress levels. The problem is that we rely on bad habits and get caught up in the frenzied pace of daily life.
I urge you to cut out this article and place it in a location where you will see it every day. You may not be able to implement all of these stress-relieving tips right away, buy try to adopt at least one strategy to help cope with our stressful world.
Diet and exercise play huge roles in stress relief
Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times per week. The body releases endorphins in response to intense, continuous workout. Endorphins produce analgesia, which causes a state of well-being. In addition, the aesthetic improvement of the body through exercise creates confidence.
A nutritious, balanced diet fuels both mind and body. Eating a healthy breakfast jump-starts your metabolism and provides fuel to keep you going throughout the day. People commonly rely on unhealthy fast food to provide them with quick energy. Instead, pack a meal or two with you before you start the day. This way you can eat healthy meals without taking up time. Drinking eight glasses of water per day keeps you properly hydrated, allowing you to function at maximum capacity.
Develop a network of friends you can call in times of need
These people provide much-needed outlets for your feelings during the most stressful times in life. When I'm having a rough day, nothing relaxes me more than calling a good friend to unwind. These conversations often involve humor, which also relieves stress. A good laugh can melt away any problem.
Get enough sleep and avoid excessive caffeine
Some of the areas causing stress are intertwined. A lack of sleep leads to excess caffeine consumption, which leads to insomnia, which leads to more caffeine consumption ... you get the idea. Obtaining a good night's sleep prevents this vicious cycle. Caffeine levels in the blood remain elevated for up to 12 hours after ingestion, so, tempting as it may seem, pass on the grande turtle mocha.
Take a few minutes each day to do something enjoyable
Examples include going for a walk, buying that new shirt you spotted at the mall, and meditating. Forging ahead without breaks decreases productivity. Planning leisurely activities into your daily schedule allows you to rejuvenate. I like to de-stress by listening to music on my iPod. Doing so allows me to temporarily leave my current anxiety. It's a way of meditating that doesn't require much effort at all. Other activities that reduce stress levels include yoga, Tai Chi, massage, and conscious deep breathing Taking a few minutes to observe the movement of your breath diminishes the tension in your body. All of these activities integrate mind and body to reduce stress in healthy ways.
Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
Smoking and alcohol are two of the outlets many people turn to when they are overstressed. These activities are not only associated with numerous health risks, but are quite costly. Avoid taking this dangerous path by implementing an alternative strategy I have outlined for de-stressing.
Stress is an inevitable consequence of life. Some types of stress are completely unavoidable, such as the loss of a family member or friend. Others can be prevented and dealt with effectively. When you are overstressed, try implementing a strategy or two that I have given and you will see dramatic changes take place. You will gain energy, productivity, and an improved outlook on life. The key to managing stress can be found in Reinhold Niebuhr's serenity prayer: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
(Neil is a 2004 graduate of New York Mills High School. He is currently a junior studying English and Pre-Med at St. John's University in Collegeville.)