Stress is a major problem in today’s fast-paced and busy society. Almost everyone seems to be stacked with back to back appointments, time-constraints, and overly-demanding lifestyles that can render the body’s coping strategies ineffective. However, it must taken into consideration that stress is not altogether a bad thing; as a matter of fact, it can even be a motivating and potentially a life-saving force.
Stress can only pose risks when it becomes uncontrolled and chronic.The detrimental effects of this type of stress on your health and life in general are numerous. Among the most are stress-related health conditions are: hypertension, heart attack, stroke, ulcer, infertility and depression.
If you want to avoid these potentially life-threatening conditions, you should make the effort to keep your stress within manageable levels, and while there are a lot of stress-reducing techniques out there, I would like to share with you some of the simplest and underused yet effective techniques to reduce stress:
Changing the pace of your usually frantic and frazzled day can do wonders to your stress levels. Make a conscious effort to both walk and talk more slowly, and drive at a slower pace. You may think that slowing things down can cause you to fall behind your tasks and responsibilities but studies have actually showed that doing things at a relaxed pace leads to better performance and higher productivity, as it gives you the chance to think things through thoroughly; thereby, you are likely to come to more well-rounded and fleshed-out decisions.
Go on a noise diet.
Recent studies have validated the assertion that noise aggravates stress. Several studies have revealed that distracting noise and unpleasant sounds have the ability to stimulate the release of the body’s stress hormones. This shouldn’t be too hard to understand as all of us must have experienced how nerve-racking it is to be in a noisy environment—whether in the home, in the workplace or in public places. However, as much as we would like to have a calmer, more toned-down environment, it is just not going to happen, especially if you are living in the city. So, the next best thing to do is to go on a sound diet. Simply, this means balancing annoying noise with healthier sounds—counter unpleasant noises with white noise or calming sounds. Great ideas include installing a table-top water fountain at your office, opt for noise-cancelling headphones and have regular noise detox sessions by visiting a nearby park or zen garden.
Get a massage.
Among the initial symptoms of chronic stress is muscle tension, where muscles tighten up, around your neck, shoulders and back. The rhythmic kneading, rubbing and stroking of your muscles during a massage stimulate circulation, provide warmth and reduce muscular flaccidity. Recent studies have also showed that massage increases levels of stress-relieving hormones serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.
Clean your home.
You may not have initially thought of the chore of house cleaning as an effective stress-reliever, but believe me it works wonders. Cleaning your house can get you busy and take your mind off the things that are causing you to feel stressed. By giving you a form of physical activity, it is also a great way to blow off steam and get some endorphins pumped into your system. And ultimately, there is nothing more relaxing than walking into a clean and clutter-free home.
When you are stressed, your breathing tends to be fast and shallow. This type of breathing pattern, when prolonged, tends to cause even more anxiety. Learning to control how you breathe can greatly help you lower your stress levels instantly. You will need to breathe slowly and deeply to combat anxiety and elicit a relaxation response. Whenever you are stressed out, take notice of how you are breathing and take control of it.Featured photo credit: Volcano eruption via Shutterstock