Stress is a natural part of life. Constant demands, deadlines, the inevitable ‘to do’ list often preoccupy our thoughts and it is often too late when we realize how overwhelmed we are. Although some stressors will always be present, managing your stress can lead to a more balanced, happier life.
Here are 5 simple ways to reduce stress:
Exercising is a great way to reduce and prevent the negative effects of stress. By releasing endorphins and focusing on body movements, the mind is able to refocus and irritations can fade away. If going to the gym just isn’t in the cards and a treadmill seems less than enticing, check out local parks to spark some interest and motivation.
I’ve become quite the Pandora fanatic! This is a great way to listen to many artists in the same genre and take your mind off the demands of the day. Classical music (George Winston – one of my favorites) can be a great way to relax the mind and soothe the soul.
Laughter allows us to rejuvenate. Watch a comedy, call a friend (hopefully one with a great sense of humor) and let the laugh/cry begin (this is something that often happens while I’m at the office, I laugh so hard – typically at Dr. Gaskill – and the tears begin to flow). Laughter increases our ability to buffer the negative effects of stress and increases oxygen flow and releases endorphins.
Remembering to eat a balanced healthy diet is sometimes quite challenging. The day flies by and suddenly you are starving and in search of the nearest vending machine. Try to eat small healthy snacks throughout the day. Plan ahead by having healthy choices available and accessible. Eating fruits and vegetables boosts vitamin and mineral levels the body needs. My favorites include: blueberries, carrots, bananas and Greek yogurt – YUM!
Without sleep, our ability to handle stressful situations is limited. Our concentration, energy, and mood levels are significantly dependent upon the amount and quality of sleep we get. Let your brain and body recharge by getting consistent sleep. If turning your brain off during bedtime is nearly impossible, keep a notebook next to your bed and put your to-do’s, worries, or next day plan on paper. Once it is written down, there isn’t much of a reason to keep is ‘stuff’ spinning in your head, allowing you to turn off the day.
Heather Wright, M.S. is a Predoctoral Intern at Southeast Psych. Heather serves clients of all ages through individual and group therapy. She enjoys developing supportive relationships with her clients while focusing on strengths during therapy.