If you’re anything like me, then you get stressed out easily. One of the most stressful times for me is around the holidays. Fortunately the big holidays are over and done with until the end of the year, but there are a few smaller holidays between now and then that may cause your stress levels to rise. Try implementing these eight stress-relieving techniques to help keep your stress levels under control.
Not only is breathing an essential part of living, but it can also be a huge stress reducer. Actually take time out of your day to focus on breathing. Try to concentrate on nothing but your breathing, block out all your surroundings, and listen to your body.
Any type of exercise that gets your heart pumping will release endorphins, which will cause your body to go into a more relaxed state. What’s the best exercise, you may ask? There’s an easy answer to that question. The best exercise is one that you enjoy!
Yes, you heard me right. Chocolate will help reduce stress on a cellular level. Chocolate is packed full of polyphenols and flavonoids, which help dilate blood vessels and reduce oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals.
Red has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Wine is high in resveratrol and polyphenols, which can help reduce total cholesterol, high blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. (1).
Green tea is high in catechins, which have an anti-stress effect. They can reduce blood pressure, inflammatory markers, and oxidative stress (2).
Have you ever noticed how much more relaxed you are after having a good laugh? Laughing increases your oxygen intake and endorphin levels, which can reduce stress and put you in a more relaxed state. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid in muscle relaxation (3).
Listening to Music
This is one of my favorite stress-relieving activities. Letting your mind focus on something other than what is causing stress—like listening to soothing classical or jazz music—is a great way to relax. One study showed that listening to music was effective in reducing subjective stress levels and lowering cortisol concentrations (4).
Do you remember when we were in elementary school and we got to take naps? Yeah, those times have long passed, but should we still be taking naps to help reduce stress? The answer is yes! Napping has been shown to boost the immune system and have stress-releasing effects (5). Put me down for a nap a day, please!
1) Lippi G, Franchini M, Favaloro E, Targher G. Moderate red wine consumption and cardiovascular disease risk: beyond the “French paradox.” Semin Thromb Hemost 2010;36(1):59–70.
2) Bogdanski P, Suliburska J, Szulinska M, et al. Green tea extract reduces blood pressure, inflammatory biomarkers, and oxidative stress and improves parameters associated with insulin resistance in obese, hypertensive patients. Nutr Res 2012;32(6):421–427.
3) Mayo Clinic Staff. Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456. Accessed March 2016.
4) Linnemann A, Ditzen B, Strahler J, et al. Music listening as a means of stress reduction in daily life. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2015;60:82–90.
5) Faraut B, Nakib S, Drogou C, et al. Napping reverses the salivary interleukin-6 and urinary norepinephrine changes induced by sleep restriction. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2015;100(3):E416–426.