It’s normal to experience stress from time to time – it’s part of the human condition. But the good thing about stress is that it can also be easily brought under control. If you want to put your stress in check and unwind these weekend, follow one of these seven simple tips. You’ll be on your way to reclaiming your life from stress in no time.
1. Breathe Deeply
Getting in touch with your body and breath is a de-stressing secret yogis have been on to for centuries. The “pranayama,” or “life force,” is at the center of every yoga practice because it’s considered the source of energy and life for all living beings.
As such, it makes sense that the extra boost in oxygen you get from deep breathing can slow down your nervous system and help you calm down. So, if you want to reduce blood pressure and de-stress in a pinch, try taking a couple deep breaths to help you calm down.
2. Eat Mood-Boosting Foods
Diet is linked to just about every condition the human body deals with – so, it makes sense that diet is linked to your mood and stress levels, too!
In general, eating healthfully is the best thing for your body and mind…but when you’re stressed, did you know having a nibble or two of junk food might actually be good for you? That’s because eating these foods releases small amounts of serotonin. So, yes: there is actually a scientific reason why chocolate ice cream cheers you up when you’re stressed!
3. Show Some Love
There’s a reason why being around people you love makes you feel so good. Having a strong social network reduces anxiety and stress – and even better than that is having a loving, stable relationship.
In particular, women are naturally inclined to respond well to physical affection from a partner, releasing happy hormones (aka endorphins) at their partner’s touch. So, whether it’s a loving hug or a tender kiss, showing your partner a little bit of TLC is good for both of you when it comes to de-stressing at the end of a long, hard day.
4. Go For a Walk
One of the simplest ways to calm your body and mind is by lacing up your walking shoes and going for a walk. Going for a walk places your mind and body into a meditative state, releases mood-boosting endorphins and decreases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
For the ultimate de-stress, why not consider a walking holiday. One of my favorite places for this has to be Scotland, there are so many great walks for you to enjoy and clear your head. But know that you don’t need a fancy hiking trail to reap the benefits of this destressing exercise. Walking anywhere, anytime will give you the same benefits as hitting up the trails when it comes to reducing stress!
5. Chew Gum
Stressed because you can’t focus on your neverending to-do list? There’s a simple life hack that might just help you focus better – and it’s as simple as visiting your nearest vending machine.
Studies say that chewing a piece of gum improves overall attentiveness and effectiveness by as much as 67%. What’s more, subjects also showed improvement in their levels of anxiety during mild and moderate stress situations. So, if you want to destress without even thinking about it, pop a piece of gum in your mouth and get to chewing ASAP!
6. Pet a Dog
If you don’t have a furry friend at home already, you might consider getting one after finding out this surprising statistic: interacting with animals has been proven to decrease cortisol levels and increase levels of the positive hormone oxytocin.
Due to these stress-busting benefits, dog owners are more likely to survive longer than a year following a major heart attack. It’s true what they say, then, that dogs really can save your life!
7. Get Enough Sleep
Last but not least, one can never overestimate the importance of sleep in regulating mood and stress response. The typical adult needs eight or more hours of sleep every night to begin with – but did you know you actually need more rest when undergoing significant levels of stress?
Next time you’re stressed out, resist the urge to lay awake at night mulling over problems in your head, and try hitting the pillows instead. After all, when you get a good night’s rest, you’ll wake up the next morning rested, refreshed and ready to conquer the day’s challenges with a smile!