Increased levels of stress for prolonged periods work negatively on mind, body and spirit.
It is important to remain relaxed even under extremely stressful situations.
If I asked you to remain relaxed all the time, it will be asking for too much. This is simply unthinkable in today's life. You might be one of those who thrive on stress.
However, the stress relief tips and techniques discussed here are very much relevant for modern life – all the more so, since all of us are operating under high levels of stress due to various reasons.
Top 10 Stress Relievers
- Relaxation: Body has a "bouncing-back" quality of recovering from extremely stressful situations.
But, if you remain under stress for prolonged periods, it wears down the
fighting capacity of the body and the mind. To remain healthy, mentally and
physically, it is important to take necessary steps for stress relief and keep
stress levels within manageable limits.
Adopt some relaxation technique, like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization,
Yoga, etc., and learn to relax. Initially, you have to practice it for some time, but gradually, you can learn to remain relaxed even under stressful situations.
- Meditation: Meditation has been an integral part of Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Many people attach
spiritual values to it, but you can also practice it as a secular stress relief
exercise. The meditation is able to induce deep relaxation, and is very good for
health in the long term.
You may start with any method of meditation and learn to manage your stress levels. You need not learn it
from a teacher. You can learn meditation by reading a good book on the topic or
listening to the CDs. It does take some practice, but the results that you will
get are worth the efforts needed to learn it.
- Exercise: Exercise is good not only for your physical health but also for your mental health. It
releases pent up frustrations, relaxes your muscles, releases 'endorphins' – the
'feel good' hormones, deceases stress hormones, and helps you sleep better. Make
it a part of your everyday routine.
You can try physical exercises like Yoga, Tai Chi, or some repetitive activities like walking,
jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. If you don't have much time
squeezing stress relief toys may be a quick way to help you relax. All
of these activities activate relaxation response besides relaxing your
- Massage: A massage session is very relaxing and has been proven to lower cortisol, the stress hormones.
Massage reduces blood pressure, and helps you in getting a better sleep. Stress
gives rise to headaches and various muscular pains.
Massage relaxes muscles, and is helpful in easing muscular aches and pains. Massage
releases endorphins which fills you with a feeling of well-being and confidence. The efficacy of massage
can be judged from the fact it is known to be even more effective than social
support from a partner.
Aromatherapy massage is even more effective. The massage is given using some essential oils
which seep into the blood stream and help in calming down the brain, ease stress
and in getting you a relaxing sleep.
Imagery: It helps you in getting a respite from constant stress. With some practice you
can help yourself reach a relaxed state whenever you feel rising
levels of stress and tension. Guided imagery consists of imagining yourself in
serene surroundings, where you feel calm and relaxed. Visualizing yourself in
calm surroundings, imagining every small detail, can have a very soothing
experience and can help in relaxing your frayed nerves.
- Music: Stress relief through music therapy is a universal phenomenon. However, you should chose the kind of
music that is soothing for you, rather than going for the 'prescribed ' ones.
Each individual reacts differently to different sounds. The music that is
calming to one might not be quite so for another.
Listening to soothing music induces deep breathing and increases production of serotonin. Playing music in the background, even though you are busy in some other activity and are not aware of the music, also reduces
- Deep Breathing: Have you ever noticed how rapid and shallow your breathing becomes when you are under stress? In
Eastern traditions, breath is called 'prana', 'Qi', or 'the life force'.
Learning to breathe deeply and properly has numerous health benefits besides
reducing stress and tension in your daily life. Make this sure fire stress
relief strategy a part of your daily routine and see how it helps you in
maintaining a healthy body and a calm and clear mind.
The quality and depth of breathing has a great role to play in controlling stress levels and
maintaining good physical health. Practicing a simple deep breathing
exercise will help you in reducing stress levels and uplifting your spirits
in a very short while.
- Aroma Therapy: Many essential oils, or plant essences, are known for their stress relief qualities. Lavender is able to
induce a feeling of calm and relaxation. Geranium brings down stress levels. You
can make use of these aromatic oils for bringing down stress levels while you
are going about your work, or better still when you are meditating.
The essential oils used in aromatherapy can be inhaled directly, added to the bath,
massaged into the skin or used as a perfume to scent your room.
- Self Hypnosis: You can make it a part of your stress management tool kit. Its power lies in positive
auto-suggestion. It does not require any person other than you, and can
induce deep states of relaxation. Do not confuse it with hypnosis, as it is
used in hypnotizing other people, as you might have seen it in magic shows! On
the contrary, it is very practical and do-able.
It reduces stress hormones and is very effective in reducing stress levels and controlling anxiety
and depression. You can take the help of self-hypnosis to bring about positive
changes in your life style.
- Humor: Laughter is one of the most effective therapies for stress relief and bringing down levels of anxiety.
If you see the effects of humor on our body, they are simply amazing. A good
laugh decreases levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenal, causes
endorphin levels to rise and strengthens our immune system. It increases the
intake of oxygen, stimulates organs like heart and lungs, stimulates blood
circulation and exercises stomach muscles. Laughter is also known to ease pain.
Humor has also some psychological benefits: it helps you in taking
things light heartedly, breaking out of the stress producing thoughts,
increasing your sense of satisfaction, and making your job more meaningful. It
also helps you in relating to others around you.