It’s not always the big things in life that bring us down. It’s the little stuff; the gazillion things you probably have going on at the same time, whether you are a parent, professional, socialite or student. Managing stress is key to staying healthy. If your hectic lifestyle has you down, experts say that certain relaxation can bring you back to balance. Below are seven effective stress management techniques that would help restore your emotional balance when you are stressed:
1. Practice deep, relaxed breathing
Ever noticed how shallow and rapid your breathing becomes when stressed. You can relax quickly by focusing on your breathing. Taking a brief pause before you respond to a stressful situation allows you time to get in control and slow, measured breathing lowers fight or flight hormone levels in your brain.
Let out a big sigh, imagining tension getting out of your body, and then make yourself aware of the breathing experience. Inhale deeply, feeling the air move into your nose and the expansion of your lungs and abdomen, then, pause before exhaling. Just a few minutes of breathing deeply then listening to your breath will have a tremendous relaxation effect on your body.
2. Reach out
Your social circle can be one of your best tools for managing stress. Talk to other people, preferably face to face, or even on the phone. The body releases a calming hormone called oxytocin whenever you get in touch with a family member, friend or anyone who can have a positive effect on your moods. Even using email or a social network like Facebook to connect and share events in your life can a similar soothing effect. In fact, when you are upset, writing down or telling another person why can help diffuse tension and help you work through your emotions.
3. Tune your body
Perform a mental scan on your body to get an idea of how stress affects it every day. Sit with your feet flat on the floor or lie on your back, then starting with your toes, gradually work your way up to your scalp, making mental notes on how your body feels.
Simply try to identify the parts that feel loose or tight without attempting to change anything. For one to two minutes, imagine each deep breath flowing to that body part.
4. Use the power of touch
Hug a friend, cuddle a loved one, and give a back rub to your child. Touch is extremely calming. Physical contact with another being has been proven to reduce blood pressure and decrease stress hormones. In addition, you will feel a real connection to another being. In a study of 3,000 couples, Northwestern University researcher Laura Berman, Ph.D., found that couples who only kiss when having sex are 8 times more likely to start feeling chronically depressed or stressed. Kissing is also a great way to relax and relieve stress since it stimulates your brain to release endorphins.
5. Be mindful
Just like with the breathing exercise, ensure that whatever you are doing gets your full attention. Focus on doing one thing and strive to do it exceptionally well. Be thorough, unhurried, deliberate and aware of every nuance of what you are doing. Forget about multitasking since it will only lower your productivity and increase your stress levels. When you focus on your senses and spend time in the moment, you should feel a lot more relaxed.
6. Listen to music
According to a study recently published in the British journal Heart. Slow or meditative music is a proven stress reliever in addition to lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Have a playlist of soothing songs or nature sounds and allow your mind to focus on the different instruments, melodies and lyrics in the piece but avoid anything with a fast tempo that would set your heart racing.
If you don’t have a music player handy, you can try humming or making your own music. One study carried out on stressed out nursing students found that recreational music making relieved stress and prevented burnout.
Undoing the knots in your body is a great way to relax and kill stress. You can perform this stress relieving decompression technique from home. Placing a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulder, close your eyes, then relax your upper chest, neck, face , and back muscles. After ten minutes, remove the wrap and use a foam roller or a tennis ball to massage away the tension.
However, you can just as well get professional treatment for more dramatic results. Pay your local spa a visit for one of several great massages and related services.