By NHU Staff
We all feel it from time to time: that overwhelming sense of dread and tightness in our chest that comes with a stressful event or encounter. Sometimes it’s a small passing stress, other times it lasts in its intensity and duration. While we all manage stress differently, here are a few ideas that can help you address your stress right now.
Pick a few or try them all and hopefully you’ll feel a little less tightness and a little bit lighter as you move through your day.
Take a Break from Social Media
No, really, take a break! We are bombarded daily by messages and images designed to incite strong emotional responses. This is particularly true if you are an active social media user. Sometimes it’s just too much to digest. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed put your phone down, turn off the tablet or shut down that laptop. Just walk away, even if it’s just for a day.
Journal or Talk it Out
Just getting your thoughts out of your head and into the world can be immensely helpful. If you’re more on the introverted side, journaling might be just the thing you need to process and contemplate your thoughts. Extroverts on the other hand might need someone on the other end taking their words in.
No matter the process, just put it out there.
Color in an Adult-Coloring Book
This is a fairly new phenomenon, but one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Coloring is even “prescribed” by professional psychologists! Coloring an intricate pattern can actually help calm our brain’s primal fight or flight response, which in turn will give our brains a much needed rest. It may seem like a childish thing to do, but give it a try and you just might surprise yourself!
It’s not just about stepping away from a stressor, there is actually science behind the benefits of regular deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing releases endorphins (you know, those feel good hormones) and helps rid the organs of toxins, which in turns increases blood flow. Not to mention oxygen helps increase our energy levels. So much science!
Sit down, back straight, close your eyes, exhale, then inhale deeply, exhale as you count to 5 and tighten your belly muscles…repeat…
This suggestion is not for everyone, but the benefits are clear and it’s not just for those “new age” hippy folks. In fact, meditation has been used for thousands of years and recent studies have shown that even just a few minutes of meditation each day can help you better manage stress.
There are many types of meditation, but the easiest and perhaps most widely practiced include guided (focus on a calming image, smell, or sound), mantra (repeating calming words or phrases) and mindfulness (observing your breath, acknowledging, but letting go of troubling thoughts).
Laughter really is the best medicine! Again, science says so! There are so many benefits (endorphins, oxygen flow, circulation, reduced stress response, relaxation) to laughter, I think I’ll just end the article right here and call it a day!
Now go find something funny and laugh your stress away!