Five Simple Ways You Could Relieve Stress in Your Life

Five Simple Ways You Could Relieve Stress in Your Life

Stress is a daily factor in the lives of many Americans. From work deadlines, to inter-personal relationships, to financial strain, stress affects us all. The Mental Health Foundation reports that in the past year, 74% of people experienced stress to the point of being overwhelmed.

The Stress Response
But what is stress? Stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations, whether they are real or perceived. As a response to stress, your heart rate increases, breathing quickens, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises. The stress response was originally our ancestor’s ‘fight or flight’ response to perceived danger. In the caveman days, it was an effective tool to fight off or escape predators. The problem is, a homework assignment isn’t a life-threatening apex predator. However, our bodies still have a heightened physical reaction.
Feeling stressed every now and then is nothing to worry about. However, ongoing, chronic stress can cause many serious health problems, including: cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, sexual dysfunction, acne, psoriasis, hair loss, menstrual problems, gastritis, ulcers, depression, anxiety, and stroke.

Relieving Stress in your Life
Limiting your stress is an incredible tool to living a healthy lifestyle. Here are five simple ways you could relieve stress in your life:

  1. Exercise

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. Exercising releases endorphins and lowers your body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol. Activities that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups, such as walking or jogging, can be particularly stress relieving. Regular exercise can also improve sleep quality, which will lead to a more rested mind.

  1. Reduce your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. When consumed in high doses, it can increase anxiety. If you feel jittery or anxious after drinking coffee, consider cutting back.

  1. Keep a daily journal

Writing a daily journal is a wonderful way to process your emotions and thoughts and avoid anxious spiraling. Journaling provides a sense of control and order. Keeping a daily journal not only decreases stress, it also increases creativity and emotional intelligence. Don’t know what to write about? Try creating a list of things you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude is a wonderful way to redirect your thoughts to the positives and reduce stress.

  1. Chew gum

Need a stress reliever that’s fast and easy? Try chewing a piece of gum. A study with Healthline showed that people who chewed gum had a greater sense of wellbeing in stressful situations. One possible explanation is that chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people and promotes blood flow to your brain. Repetition is a great tool in self-soothing, therefore the repetition of chewing can pacify the mind.

  1. Laugh with friends

Having a strong friend group gives you a sense of belonging and acceptance. A friend group is a natural support system in times of stress. Spending time with loved ones release oxytocin and other mood-lifting chemicals. You’ve probably heard the phrase “laughter is medicine.” Well, it has a point. Laughter has been proven to improve your immune system and emotional well-being. The physical act of laughing can relieve tension in your muscles and reduce your heart rate.

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