Living in the world today can be stressful, in fact according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), stress has now become an epidemic and their Global Burden of Disease Survey estimates that by the year 2020 depression and anxiety disorders, including stress related mental-illness, will be significantly prevalent and will be second only to ischemic heart disease in the scope of disabilities experienced by all people who suffer from stress related disease.
Thus it is becoming ever more important for humans both as individuals and collectively, to properly and thoroughly manage stress. The oxford dictionary tells us that well-being is the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.
So how do you deal with stress and improve your happiness?
Well today you are going to learn 3 easy ways that you can effectively manage your stress and improve your well-being. The best part, you can start right now.
Let’s dive straight in.
Yoga Deep Breathing
For every rhythm of breathing, there is an emotion in mind, and for every emotion in mind, there is a rhythm of breathing.
In fact, the latest science now teaches us that “the rhythm of breathing creates electrical activity in the human brain that enhances emotional judgments and memory recall. Scientists have discovered for the first time, these effects on behaviour depend critically on whether you inhale or exhale and whether you breathe through the nose or mouth” (1).
The implications of this, if you haven’t already realised, is far reaching; breathing can be used as a tool to better control your emotions to a state that is more desirable.
Perform 20 minutes or more of yoga deep breathing, every morning as soon as you wake. This will help to clear your mind of any negativity and to help fix your mental state to a positive one, setting you up for the day.
Weekend Walks In Country Parks
It has pretty much become common-knowledge that regularly taking brisk walks has many health benefits; it’s great for weight loss (2), and is also known to maintain heart health and may help reduce blood pressure (3).
However, depending on your surroundings, there may also be additional benefits from walking in countryside areas where there are lots of trees and greenery. Because there aren’t any roads or traffic in country parks air pollution is always less than in cities and urban areas.
You can relax and be free without the worry of choking on toxic fumes, but that’s not all, people generally report an increase in peacefulness and well-being after being out in nature.
Although scientists do not know the exact mechanism of why this happens, they do know it happens. This is because they can measure a person’s brain activity which experts then use as an indicator of anxiety and depression.
One study in particular (4) showed that taking a 90 minute walk in the countryside can reduce levels of negative and repetitive thoughts.
Once a week leave the city and spend a couple of hours exploring nature. If you can afford the time, take your backpack with you on a countryside walk, have a picnic and make a day of it.
Listening to Classical Music
Have you ever been sat in the cinema in front of the big screen watching a movie, when all of a sudden a sad part comes up the music changes and tears come rolling from your eyes? I’m sure this has happened to the best of us.
It is no coincidence that film producers carefully pick the most powerful pieces of music to add in at the according places in their movies. Music is the “vibe” that can lift you up and give energy, or bring you down and make you cry.
High blood pressure is often associated with increased stress; needless to say, decreased stress is associated with a normal and healthy blood pressure.
In fact Michael Schneck, MD, a neurologist with Loyola Medicine in Chicago, explains “Some research finds that music can be used as a relaxation technique that can cause the heart rate to slow down and help relieve stress by lowering the breathing rate and emotional distress”.
Pack your headphones in your work pack and hook yourself up and listen to your favourite classical music while you eat your food on your lunch break at work.Conclusion
Of course these tips won’t prevent you from facing adversity or encountering any stressful situations, but they will help to make you steadfast in your approach to stress management and put you on the path to sustained happiness.