How many of you experience some sort of stress in your life? If you're not raising your hand, then I think, perhaps, you are telling a little fib, because there is stress in all our lives. Yes, there is good stress.
Some stress gets us motivated to get things done. However, there are times when things can be a little more stressful than necessary. There are times when we allow stress to take over our lives and cause physical and emotional illnesses in the body.
One of the things you may not realize is that stress causes inflammation and is the source of a lot of different medical conditions including high blood pressure, auto-immune disorders, and stress worsens many conditions such as multiple sclerosis, asthma, heart disease and diabetes. So it's really very, very important to have some sort of structure for eliminating stress in the moment and over a period of time.
So here is my top 5 stress reducing tips and these are things than can be done either in the moment, or they can be a structure that you incorporate over time.
First (and favorite) tip is having quiet time. It's very important to schedule yourself for some quiet time, downtime, peaceful time ... YOU time. Take a hot bath or lie down and take a nap.
Your environment is stronger than your willpower. So you may have all the good intentions to have quiet time, but if you don't put it in your schedule and put a structure in place that allows for your quiet time...
You must make yourself a priority and that is probably one of the most important ways to eliminate stress - by making yourself a priority on a regular basis and giving yourself quiet time each and every day. It can even be in the middle of your day during your work hours, like your lunch hour. Close your door, or put some headphones on .. and go into la-la land :)
The second tip is actually similar to the first - schedule some time to listen to some music. You want to be mindful of the type of music that you listen to because the music that is more harsh (like heavy metal, hard rock, and even some rap) can actually cause the brain a little more chaos and harder for relaxation. In general, relaxation music synchronizes the right and left brain and causes the release of relaxing neurotransmitters.
So listen to your favorite relaxing music and that will help relax the muscles, slow the heart rate down, and really give you a sense of well-being and good feeling. Listen to your favorite music on the way home from work, in traffic .. and don't be afraid to belt out and sing your favorite songs. It doesn't matter what the folks in the car next to you are thinking - they might even be jealous of you having such a great time. So use music as a way to relax yourself any time of the day instantly.
The third tip is to exercise. There's a lot of different ways to exercise - if you're a runner, run; if you're a sportsman, play some basketball, volleyball, soccer, whatever you like; if you're a dancer, dance. Whatever your thing is - get yourself moving! It allows you to get rid of the physical energy and the physical stress that is pent up into the muscles. It allows you to relax out.
The fourth tip - meditation and yoga are great ways to relax the mind and to instantly decompress and decrease stress in the moment. Breathing not only brings oxygen and blood flow to the muscles, but it also serves to slow down the heart rate and really bring you to the present moment. When you are brought into the present moment, you can actually go into a little bit of a trance and that has your mind focused and give your an overall sense of relaxation and well being.
There are different ways to meditate - yoga is a movement meditation. You can also sit in silence and breathe. Just take slow, deep breaths, in & out, with relaxing music in he background (or silence).
The fifth thing I recommend is .. have sex! Now, if you're single and you don't have a partner, you don't want to go out and just have sex with just anyone. If you're partnered up, hey .. it's a great way to release some tension. Include physical intimacy as a way to decompress or reduce stress on a regular basis.
In fact, there are studies that show that people who have sex on a regular basis are actually less stressed because of that release of tension, because of that intimate connection.
As bonus tip #6: Speaking of intimate connection, connect with people you love. When you connect with people you love, it allows for laughter, fun and it helps you to know that you're not alone. It's called "shared experience." When you share your experience with someone, then you can fill your cup too, by being listened to, by being cared for. It's important to connect with those people around you - not from just a physical, or sexual, standpoint. Connect with your friends, connect with your family, connect with colleagues in a way that is fun and includes laughter.