In the past few years, stress has become a common experience for many people. According to a recent report, nearly 70 percent of US adults feel stress or anxiety daily.
These numbers are quite alarming, but we can say that stress is a part of our life. From minor challenges to major crises such as serious illness, painful life events, job loss, or the death of a loved one, you may feel down or anxious. Although these events can be a natural part of life, and you can't always control the circumstances, you can control how you respond to them.
If you are also suffering from stress and looking to overcome it, we have got you covered. In this guide, we will tell you about the things you can do to reduce stress?
But before going into further detail, let first understand what stress is?
What is stress?
Stress is the body's response to a challenge or demand. A range of series can trigger it that everyone faces it at some stage of life
The stress response can vary, but generally, it includes physical components such as high blood pressure, higher heart rate, negative thoughts, disturbing emotions, anger, and fear.
But when you become too anxious or stress becomes overwhelming, it can have a negative impact on your overall health. And as a result, you need to calm your mind and body to keep productivity alive.
So here are the things you can do to reduce stress.
4 Things You Can Do To Reduce Stress
Focus on breathing
When the stress hormones are released, the person experiences physical symptoms such as faster heartbeat, constricted blood vessels, and high blood pressure.
But breathing can have flow-on effects on how your body and mind feel. During the process, when stress hormones are released, focusing on breathing or changing the way you breathe can make you feel relaxed. Moreover, breathing techniques or taking a few deep breaths can calm your muscles, lower your heart rate, and relax your body and mind in a few minutes.
Moreover, deep breathing can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response. While there are different breathing methods few simple ones include:
- Belly breathing
- Abdominal breathing
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Paced respiration
- Breathing through one nostril at a time
Moreover, you can also try breathing in through your nose and watch your belly fill with air. As you inhale, count slowly to three. Hold for one second and then breathe out through your nose slowly as you count three.
Breathe in through your nose and imagine you are inhaling calm, peaceful air. Feel that the fresh air is spreading throughout your body. As you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out the tension and stress.
Eat balanced diet
A healthy diet can have several benefits, including building an immune system, minimizing waistline, and keeping you fit. However, its benefits are beyond that, and a healthy diet can level your mood, reduce stress, and lower your blood pressures.
Studies suggest that a poor diet can bring greater reactivity toward stress. Although eating high sugar food or more fat can provide a sense of relief, it is temporary and adds to your long-term stress.Besides this, eating refined carbs such as potato chips and cookies can increase blood. And when there's a spike in blood sugar, you might have a higher level of stress.
As what you eat affects your mood, energy, and stress level, a healthy and balanced diet can help you combat stress seemingly forever.
However, eating healthy doesn't mean avoiding carbohydrates and fats every time. You can have ice cream or fast food occasionally but not too often as it can make you feel crash or cranky — and stressed!
Additionally, incorporating salad, eggs, walnuts, avocado, and fruits every week has been reported to support mood regulation and provide energy balance, which is essential in reducing stress.
Exercise is another factor that can help you reduce stress. But how? Let me tell you in detail.
To start with, an intense workout or gym session can improve your sleep. And better sleep means better stress management. Even studies suggest that people who are likely to do some physical activity get better sleep, which helps renew their body and brain.
Besides this, exercise seems to stimulate your body and help your mood. It releases hormones such as endocannabinoids and endorphins that sedate you, block pain and improve sleep.
Also, the people who exercise or visit the gym most often feel more positive and less anxious. And when your body feels good, your mind follows. However, an important thing to consider is not to exercise too close to bedtime.
You can reduce your stress by doing some of these exercises:
But if you are too busy and don't have time to perform any formal exercises, you can still keep yourself moving throughout the day.
- Clean your house
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator
- Hand-wash your car
- Park your vehicle as far as you can from the door
- Walk on your lunch break
Spend time with friends and family
Having a supportive friend and family circle is key to stress management. By providing social and emotional support, they can help one get through stressful times.
Moreover, being surrounded by good friends and family members gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth that is sometimes necessary to get out of tough times.
Studies also suggest that if you are facing stress, reaching out to your existing network may help. According to a report, spending time with friends and children can release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called "tend and befriend," and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.
Another study from the same source found that women and men with the fewest social connection tend to suffer more from anxiety and depression.
So you may also expand your network by making new friends, attending a support group, or joining an organization if you lack supportive people in life.