5 best ways to release your stress – Stress is usually a result of being in an urban environment and facing the usual onslaught of deadlines, microaggressions, impatience, crowds, etc. and it is no coincidence that people who live and work in crowded cities are usually a lot more stressed out than folks who live by the farm or in more rural places.
The reason the latter is more relaxed and peaceful is that they are closer to nature. Their pace of life is slower, and they have time to appreciate life instead of running an unfulfilling rat race where the rewards are usually never worth the effort and sacrifice.
1. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to get in touch with nature.
Like Mother Teresa said, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
You may have noticed that when you spend a day at the beach, you feel much happier and a certain sense of ‘lightness’ descends upon you. This is the soothing effect of nature.
You’ll also be getting a healthy dose of vitamin D and the air you breathe will be fresher and cleaner. The smog of the city doesn’t do anyone any favors.
The fresh air will improve your blood pressure and you’ll breathe much more easily. You won’t realize it, but your body will be able to better regulate your serotonin levels so that you feel happier.
Taking a break to spend a few days by the beach or camping out in the woods will give you a much-needed break for the hectic pace of life you’re used to. The change in scenery will not only be interesting, but you’ll not be reminded of the problems facing you as much.
Going into nature to center yourself is NOT the same as running away from your problems. It’s a way to heal yourself so that you can return and tackle the problems and stresses that you’re facing with renewed energy and a better perspective on things. Get in touch with nature and your stress levels will dissipate.
Nature will help to restore your soul that is weary and troubled. “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
2. Gardening and aquariums
Sometimes, you may not have the time to take a short break to get away from it all. You may have work or family commitments that hold you back. During times like these, you can still get in touch with nature through the simple act of gardening.
Even if you live in an apartment, you can still enjoy container gardening. The act of digging the soil, planting seeds, nurturing your plants, etc. is all a part of getting in touch with nature.
There’s a quote that goes, “Gardening is the fine art of soil to soul.” So, it can be used to relieve stress too.
If you don’t wish to do gardening, try setting up an aquarium and have some tropical fish such as goldfish in it. Make your aquarium as beautiful as you can. Learning how to do it will be fun and give you a respite from the stress.
Once you have a beautiful aquarium, you’ll spend many hours just gazing at your fish and looking at their little antics. It can be very soothing because humans have evolved to find such ‘sceneries’ as pretty and relaxing.
“Yet through all this stress the forest is maintained in marvelous beauty.” – John Muir.
3. Exercise Your Stress Away!
Even if you’re not facing a lot of stress, you should still aim to exercise at least 5 times a week. The benefits of exercise are just too good to miss out on. Let’s look at how exercise benefits you.
- Your cardiovascular strength increases
- It improves your mood
- Great for relieving tension and stress
- Strengthens your bones
- Prevents the risks of many diseases
- Lowers your cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Improves blood circulation
- Helps with weight loss
These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. From a few of the points above, you’ll notice that exercise can directly reduce your stress levels. When you engage in exercise, you’ll use up the adrenalin in your body which will make you feel less tense. Your body will also release endorphins and you’ll feel happier. Exercise gives you a natural high. That’s why some people are addicted to it. Your sleep will improve. Since sleep has been shown to lead to reduced cortisol levels (stress hormone) in your body later in the day, you’ll feel less stressed out when you wake up. A common reaction to stress is the ‘fight or flight’ response. If you’re very stressed out, your palms may feel sweaty and your heartbeat may accelerate. This is the body’s way of preparing you to either run or fight.
It’s important to remember that exercise doesn’t just mean running on the treadmill, doing sit-ups or lifting weights. Many people have a very narrow definition of exercise and it’s this misconception that prevents so many of them from being more active.
Any activity that raises your heart rate for a period of about 10 to 30 minutes can be considered exercise. You do not need to only choose an activity you hate just because everyone considers it as exercise.
There are hundreds of different types of activities to choose from. You could cycle, surf, swim, rock climb, hike, do CrossFit, kickboxing, karate, etc. ; pick an activity you enjoy.
Exercise should relieve stress and not cause you to have more stress. The exercise session is a time for you to get away from the worries of the world. When you’re moving, you won’t have time to think about what’s stressing you out.
This is one reason why you should choose higher intensity exercises to fully occupy your mind. While some people may find long walks calming, others may find themselves contemplating their problems even more.
If you’re one of these people, choose the faster workouts. You do not want to be thinking too much while training.
The workout session should be a brief respite from the troubles that weigh you down. Once your workout is over, you’ll feel much better and be ready to take on the world.
4. Discover Why Sleep is the Best Form of Stress Relief
In today’s world where wealth and success are touted constantly, it has become cool to say that you’re working through the night on your business or ‘side hustle.’
Companies have adopted an attitude with very little care for their employees’ welfare. Staff who close the store late at night are often expected to show up early the next day to re-open the store.
The employee who needs the job has no choice but to wake up earlier and be sleep deprived throughout the entire shift. This is the reason stress, depression, suicides, mental breakdowns, etc. are at an all-time high.
A lack of sleep will leave you feeling irritable and moody. It’ll be hard for you to concentrate. Your immune system will not be at full capacity. You’ll probably gain weight and your risks of diabetes and high blood pressure will be higher.
Your stress levels will go through the roof. During times of stress, it may be difficult to fall asleep… and it’s during these times that you especially MUST sleep. Let’s look at why sleep is so valuable.
• Gives you a mental break
No other activity on the planet is as effective as sleep when it comes to reducing stress. The reason for this is that your conscious mind gets shut off when you’re fast asleep.
All other attempts at de-stressing are done during your waking hours – and when you’re awake, your mind may drift back to the problems that are bugging you, and you’ll get stressed out again. It could happen while exercising, while eating or even while watching a movie.
This does not happen when you’re asleep. Most stress is a result of overthinking and replaying the unfortunate scenarios and situations in your head over and over. It’s akin to being in a living hell. Sleep gives you a temporary escape.
Of course, when you wake up, the problems and stressors will still be there… but guess what? Even if you didn’t sleep they’d still be plaguing you. At least now you’re better rested and can focus on solving the problems ahead of you.
• Repairs your body
Stress causes tension in your body. Sleep repairs your body and makes you feel better. Your body needs sleep to fix any problems within the body.
Lack of it raises cortisol levels
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep raises the stress hormone, cortisol in your body. You do not want to have too much cortisol in your body. Not only does it lead to weight gain, but it can lead to other health problems like back pain, insomnia, blood sugar dysregulation, low libido, fatigue, etc.
These health issues will stress you out even further. So, it’s best to get sufficient sleep and keep them at bay.
5. Laughter the Best Medicine for Stress
Is laughter really the best medicine? Well, this is actually an excellent question. Laughter may not be the outright best medicine for stress… but it does come in at a close second. The first is probably sleep.
But anyway, what makes laughter so powerful at dispelling the dark clouds that hang over your head and threaten to rain down on you?
Tom Nansbury said it best with this quote – “An optimist laughs to forget; a pessimist forgets to laugh.”
Laughter is not about being casual to the current situation or making light of your problems. Being able to maintain a sense of humor about your current circumstances is of paramount importance to keeping you grounded and optimistic. It helps you forget your worries so that you can focus on what’s important.
The world is full of people who are negative and can’t laugh at anything. They constantly try to be politically correct and take offense at every joke. Very often, you’ll notice that these same people lead miserable and stressed-out lives.
Their unhappiness and anger in their own life leads to bitterness and pessimism. They can’t see the fun and joy in anything. All you need to do is get on social media platforms such as Facebook, etc. to witness just how many hateful and sarcastic people there are out there.
You’re better off watching a funny movie or attending a stand-up comedy. Joking with your friends, spouse, colleagues, etc. will help to lighten the mood and relieve stress.
Most people function best in a workplace that’s fun. A toxic workplace will leave you feeling miserable and grey. Everyone with their dour faces and their need to follow the rules religiously at the expense of common sense is enough to drive anyone insane.
Yet, this scenario plays out over and over in millions of workplaces all over the world. If you find yourself in such a situation and you’re stressed out, you’re better off quitting your job and going somewhere else. Just remember to find a new job first before quitting.
The Bible states in Proverbs 15:15 – “He that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” These are wise words from over 2000 years ago and they’re just as true today.
You must learn to laugh at yourself and take life less seriously. Don’t worry about casualness leading to casualties. You still can be focused and productive while being happy and lighthearted.
If you wish to reach your goals but avoid stress and all the diseases linked to it, you want to laugh more and be happier. It can be tough when you’re facing problems and stress. Finding things to laugh at may seem impossible. Yet, you must persist.
Try to find and add some fun and laughter in your life. Play with your kids or a pet. Visit the zoo and watch the chimpanzees playing around. Watch old classic comedies such as The 3 Stooges or Charlie Chaplin.
These mindless slapstick comedies can make even the most serious people laugh. Don’t fear laughter. It’s a tool to help you cope with the stresses of this world.
You absolutely must have mastery of this tool if you wish to lead a happy life and overcome stress with your sanity intact.
“Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable than risk being happy.” – Robert Newton Anthony
Disclaimer: This website is written by a regular human. I am not a Health Professional. Please get professional medical advice for your specific health needs.