Here are some things you can practice to manage your stress levels.
It’s no surprise that you feel overwhelmed every once in a while these days. When you’re juggling between work, family, and other commitments, your stress levels can increase and cause you to burn out. This is why you need to set aside some time every day to unwind and relax. Otherwise, your mental and physical health will both suffer. While we can’t always control our circumstances, we can learn how to control how we respond to them.
- Short term stress relief techniques
- Long term stress relief techniques
- Find the best techniques for you
Short term stress relief techniques
- Take slow deep breaths for 3 to 4 minutes.
Breathing exercises and controlling your deep breaths send a message to your brain to calm down and relax, so your body thinks it’s in a relaxed state. This, in return, will help you lower your stress levels.
Start by inhaling from your nose, fill your lungs with air as you count to 4 in your head. Hold your breath, count to 4, then slowly exhale through your mouth while focusing on releasing the oxygen from your lungs. Do this for 3-4 minutes or until you feel your body relaxing and your stress level decreasing.
- Focus on relaxing your muscles.
Physically relaxing your body and releasing muscle tension is tied to your mind also relaxing and releasing psychological tension and stress. So, practice releasing the tension in your muscles every time you feel overwhelmed with anxiety or stress.
Start by relaxing your eyebrows and the muscles in your forehead, move down and unclench your jaws, then relax your shoulders. Afterward, move your hand and fingers to release tension. You can then move down your body all the way to your toes.
- Take a 10-minute walk and breathe fresh air.
Taking a walk gives you the benefits of exercise like releasing endorphins, blowing off steam, and temporarily removing you from stressful situations.
Take a short walk outside so you can clear your mind, think and come back to the situation with a clear and reframed sense.
- Get a hug from someone you love for 30 seconds.
Oxytocin is considered one of the happiness hormones that regulate emotions and lower feelings of stress and anxiety. One of the ways it’s released in the body is when we express our love for others and bond with them.
So when you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed, hug someone you love and trust for at least 30 seconds to release some oxytocin in your body and lower your stress levels.
- Call someone you trust for advice or comfort.
Research studies show that venting to someone you trust about your problems can be profoundly healing, reduce stress and emotional distress. When you talk about your feelings, it helps you consciously label them and process them as you give them more meaning and context.
So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, instead of keeping the frustration and negative emotions bottled up, share them with a therapist or trusted friend.
Long term stress relief techniques
- Follow a balanced diet.
Food can help you tame stress levels in many ways. For instance, eating a meal you love and enjoy can boost serotonin levels in your body which has a role in stabilizing your mood and feelings of wellbeing and happiness.
Maintaining a healthy diet will also boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and reduce the harmful effects of stress on your body.
Foods that can reduce your stress:
- Oranges (vitamin C) – can lower your stress hormones, strengthen your immune system, lower your blood pressure and cortisol levels.
- Spinach (magnesium) – can reduce your headaches and fatigue that result from stress.
- Salmon and Tuna (Omega-3) – can protect you against heart disease.
- Almonds (Vitamin E and B) – can boost your immune system and reduce stress levels.
- Make time for activities you enjoy.
Setting aside some time to practice your hobbies can give you the break you need to do something you love and enjoy. Research studies have shown people enjoying activities during leisure time reported lower cortisol levels and blood pressure. Doing activities you enjoy will give you a sense of fun and freedom and minimize your stress levels after a hard day or week, and help you avoid burnout.
If you don’t know what your hobbies are, take a class, learn a new skill or make it a goal to learn something new every week until you find the one thing or many things you enjoy doing to destress during your personal time.
- Practice positive self-talk.
Self-talk is how our inner voices make sense of the world around us and how we communicate with ourselves; which is why it can significantly affect our stress levels. If your self-talk is negative and harsh, you may be attributing external negative situations to your self-worth. You might think of yourself as less equipped or competent to handle the problems you face.
On the other hand, positive self-talk can enhance your performance and overall wellbeing. Studies have shown that people with more positive self-talk experience less stress, better physical wellbeing, better cardiovascular health, and improved immune function.
Positive self-talk can also allow you to think of better ways to solve problems, think differently, be more efficient at coping with difficult situations, and reduce the harmful effects of stress and anxiety. So remember be kind to yourself!
- Exercise regularly.
Exercise can increase your overall physical health and mental wellbeing. Physical activity boosts the production of endorphins in your brain, which decreases the feeling of pain, stress and can help you feel relaxed.
Fast-paced exercise can also be a form of meditation in motion. It can help you shed your day’s tension and stressful thoughts, as well as help concentrate on your body’s movement to stay calm, clear, and focused.
So, move your body! Choose any form of exercise or movement you enjoy to increase your fitness level and decrease your stress level. It can be anything from yoga, walking, jogging, swimming, running, and more!
- Practice meditation & mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation has the power of melting your stress away. It triggers your body to relax and restore it to a calm state. When you commit to meditation and practice it regularly, it can help you:
- Manage your stress levels
- Normalize your blood pressure
- Increase your self-awareness
- Focus on the present
- Increase your patience & tolerance
5 minutes are a perfect amount of time to start your meditation journey. So the next time you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, take a short break to pause, take a deep breath, and let go of everything. Increase the time as you you go until you reach a consistency that works for you.
- Get 8 hours of sleep every day.
Research studies show that adults who sleep for less than eight hours a night experience higher stress levels than those who sleep for more. That is because sleeping for at least 8 hours a day helps you wake up well-rested, improves your concentration, sharpens your decision-making and judgment; which can all in return can decrease your stress levels.
So if you’re sleeping for less than 8 hours a night, and feel constantly tired and stressed; you should definitely consider following a more consistent sleep routine. It’ll give you more mental capacity to deal with your stressor during the day in healthy ways.
Find the best techniques for you.
Finding the best stress relief strategies that work specifically for you may take some time and experimenting. Therefore, speaking to a therapist can help you find the best tools for you that will help you manage life’s inevitable ups and downs most healthily.
A platform like Ayadi with a roster of qualified therapists and psychologists that speak both English and Arabic can help you find the best therapist for you. You can browse their specializations and treatment methods, or talk to one of our client care agents to match you with a therapist for your needs.