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10 Ways To Reduce Stress And Improve Your Life

10 Ways To Reduce Stress And Improve Your Life

Stress is known to be one of the biggest causes of medical visits in the U.S., and it can have an extremely negative impact on your physical and mental health. Although everyone will experience stress from time to time, no matter what type of lifestyle they lead, there are some methods that you can utilize to help getting this issue under control and have a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness, which is often referred as mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) by medical professionals and counselors, is the intentional act of staying in the moment. Instead of reflecting on the past issues or future concerns, mindfulness requires the individual to stay as rooted as possible in whatever they are feeling, seeing, or hearing right now. It is important to allow these sensations and feelings to happen without judging them, because this can make you take things less personally and feel less stressed. This technique is often incorporated with meditation.

2. Make A Gratitude Board

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    Research has repeatedly proven that expressing gratitude and focusing on the things you are grateful for can make you feel more optimistic and happier, along with reducing doctor visits. Of course, trying to focus on the things that you are grateful for might feel difficult at times, especially if you are dealing with a highly stressful situation. To help you remain focused on expressing gratitude, it is a good idea to get some poster board or a large dry erase board and write down at least one thing every day that you are grateful for. Over time, this will have positive mental and physical health benefits.

    3. Involve Nature Into Your Exercise Routine

    Exercising is a fantastic way to lower your stress levels, but you can take this one step further by heading to the woods for your workout. Whether you choose to take a slow walk or go mountain biking, time spent in nature has been found to relieve stress. As an added bonus, studies show a 20 percent improvement in the memory and attention span of those who regularly spend time in nature.

    4. Start Your Day with Meditation

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      Meditation is one of the best ways to improve your emotional well-being. Starting each day with a 5 or 10 minutes of meditation session has been found to help people remain calmer and get a better handle on any stressful situations that occur. The best part is that anyone can learn to meditate, and you can do it almost anywhere without needing any special supplies. However, some people get better results if they utilize a meditation app or burn a specific scent of incense each time they meditate.

      5. Stay Away From Gadgets Few Times A Day

      We are inundated by technology, and this can be a good and bad thing. For example, medical and environmental technology have done amazing things for the world, and we are much better off with these things in our lives. However, it’s important to be aware that spending all of your time plugged in technology can be extremely stressful. If you start to feel like yourself becoming overly stressed, turn off all your electronic gadgets for 15 minutes or, even better, go into a cool, dark room and lie down for a little while. This will allow your brain and your emotions to recharge, and it can help you feel less stressed out.

      6. Make Some Reading Time

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        A recent research project about stress reduction was conducted at the University of Sussex, and the results indicate that reading for pleasure is one of the absolute best ways to de-stress. In fact, reading for a mere 6 minutes will bring your stress levels down by 68 percent. To get the best result, you should sit quietly and read a book. Other studies have indicated that reading fiction book is a better stress buster than non-fiction book, as is choosing material from a genre that you particularly enjoy. In other words, there is no need to steer clear of your so-called guilty pleasure books, because they are probably the best thing for you.

        7. Balance The Proper Nutrition and Good Mental Health

        Maintaining a healthy diet that fulfills all of your daily nutritional needs can actually provide you with some protection from stress. When you do encounter a highly stressful situation, your body will be more equipped to handle it if you have been eating healthy and exercising regularly. It is also important to note that your body’s natural inclination to eat pleasant food during times of stress can offer some temporary relief as well, but make sure that you consume these food items in moderate portion to avoid filling up on junk.

        8. To Reduce Stress, Write Down Your Feelings in A Journal

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          Journaling is a popular way to express emotions and document your day-to-day activities, but did you know that the act of physically writing your feelings into a notebook will make you less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety? If you do not feel comfortable keeping a traditional journal, it may also be beneficial to utilize the latest trend: bullet journals. These journals allow you to keep an eye on your day, week, and month in one place, and you can write shorter, bullet-style entries about everything that happens in your life.

          9. Create A List of Affirmations

          According to Kathleen Hall, Ph.D, every single emotion and thought that you have, creates a chemical reaction which then impacts your emotional and physical health. Therefore, writing and reciting positive affirmations can actually change the way you feel. The next time you are dealing with a stressful event, take a moment to recite some positive affirmations that you have already written or gathered from another source. An example of an affirmation is “I am a good person with a strong support system.” Saying this few times when you feel depressed or disconnected from your family and friends can help recovering your emotions and taking action to improve your life.

          10. Avoid Unnecessary Stressors

          We all have certain stressful things that we have to deal with on a daily basis and we cannot avoid. But, there is absolutely no reason to add additional stress on top of these existing burden. Therefore, identifying unnecessary stressors and eliminating them from your life will allow you to feel lighter and happier. For an instance, if you find yourself getting agitated every time you read the comments’ section of a news article, make it as your new goal to ignore this section altogether.

          These 10 techniques should give you a great start to improve your life and reduce stress. Additionally, there are numerous other little things that you can do to make your life less stressful and more rewarding, such as de-cluttering your home and minimizing your TV-watching time.

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          Holly Chavez

          Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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          Last Updated on May 22, 2019

          10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

          10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

          There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

          One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

          In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

          Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

          1. Cat Camel Stretch

          Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

          Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

          Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

          Here’s a video to guide you through:

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          2. Go for a Walk or a Run

          This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

          Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

          The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

          Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

          Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

          3. Jumping Jacks

          Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

          Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

          4. Abductor Side Lifts

          Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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          Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

          5. Balancing Table Pose

          This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

          Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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            6. Leg Squats

            Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

            Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

            The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

            7. Push Ups

            You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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            An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

            Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

            This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

            8. Bicycle Crunches

            There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

            Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

            9. Lunges

            Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

            Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

            This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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            10. Bicep Curls

            You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

            Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

            Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

            Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

            Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

            These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

            You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

            Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

            More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Reference

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