Monday, March 30, 2009

How to Relieve Stress

1. Take a deep breath. This is your first, most immediate defense against stress. If you can get in the habit of pausing and taking a nice, deep breath every time you feel stress beginning to take hold, you'll have won half the battle just by preventing it from taking over. The other half is won by addressing the causes of your stress.
2. Communicate. Whether you talk to a friend or talk to your cat, getting it off your chest will help a lot. If you don't feel like talking about it, write it down. Keep a journal and write down whatever it is that's bothering you. Writing is a therapy of its own.
3. Laugh. Rediscover your sense of humor by making fun of your situation. View it from your future self's perspective, telling this story to a bunch of your friends over pizza and soda. Crack some jokes. Do your goofiest impression. Tickle a child that you love.
4. Get fit. Perhaps your health and appearance are stressing you out, but even if they're not an issue, being physically fit can directly help relieve stress, which exists on both a mental and a physical level. Sometimes there's nothing like a long run, an intense yoga session, or a fresh swim after a stressful day to help you feel relaxed and stress-free again. Also, exercise releases endorphins; a feel good hormone.
5. Be organized. For the most part, stress arises from feeling overwhelmed. There's just too much to do, and not enough time to do it. Being organized and getting your priorities straight can help you break responsibilities down into manageable pieces and focus on the things that really matter to you, rather than getting caught up in details and creating extra work for yourself--all of which leads to more stress.
6. Soothe the senses. Light a scented candle that has a calming fragrance like lavender. Listen to your favorite, most relaxing music or, better yet, go somewhere that you can listen to wind rustle through trees or waves crash on the beach. Enjoy the scenery, whether you're outdoors or viewing an art exhibit. Drink some warm tea or taste--really taste--some dark chocolate.
7. Do nothing. That's right, folks, do nothing at all. Close the door, open the window, have a seat, and take a little break from life. If your mind is racing, learn to meditate and just let that stress go.