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7 Simple Ways to Lower Your Stress in 15 Minutes or Less

7 Simple Ways to Lower Your Stress in 15 Minutes or Less

Everyone feels overwhelmed and stressed sometimes.

  • Maybe you have a family situation that needs extra time and attention.
  • Maybe you have a particular co-worker that just somehow grates on your very last nerve.
  • Maybe you are ill or some you love is ill.

So what can you do when you feel angry, overwhelmed and stressed about the things you really have little control over?

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I believe that if you add preventative stress management into your daily lifestyle you can more easily control how you handle your reaction to the stressful situations that crop up.

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I would like to say that you can eliminate stress completely — but I can’t. However, there is a lot you can do to prepare yourself so when you are faced with these situations you can handle them with grace, an inner calm, and compassion.

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Follow these simple steps to invite peace and harmony into your life:

  1. Exercise. One way to work off stress and anxiety is to get moving. You can join a gym, work out in your bedroom or garage, or just take a walk. It’s a great way to get your endorphins going and feel happier.  You can also try exercising together with your family. One of the benefits of exercising together is that you’ll all feel calmer afterward. When you’re all de-stressed together, you can help one another through issues. To help you get started with exercising: How to Be Healthy and Lose Fat: The 3 Minute HIT Health Hack That Helps Burn Fat
  2. Smile. Smiling and laughing is one of the best ways to instantly lighten your mood.  A good joke with a friend, a good movie with your partner or just smiling at the sun shine.
  3. Listen to music. Try doing something mentally soothing to keep stress at bay. Music is one of the best ways to relax and de-stress, and it’s popular with people of all ages, income levels, and other factors. Pick the music you like; it’s usually more effective, though, when you choose something quiet. Listen to music that makes you feel rested and calm.  Try several different musical styles – you’ll know when you’re listening to something that works for you. And once you’ve located it, you can listen whenever you need to for a calming break.
  4. Read. Reading is also a good way to de-stress. Choose a lighthearted book that’s comical, romantic, or otherwise makes you feel good. You can also read a religious or spiritual book if you’re so inclined. Any book that gives a good, positive message about the world or the people in it can help you feel better and be more relaxed. Courtney has compiled a great list of books: 10 Must-Reads to Tap Into Your True Potential
  5. Visualization. Picture an idyllic and peaceful scene, such as a meadow or a beach, and use all of your senses. Do you smell jasmine in the air? Can you hear the birds singing and feel the light breeze on your skin? Your body can’t tell the difference between a thought and a real event, so bring your peaceful scene to mind the next time you’re feeling anxious. You can visualize the stress flowing out of your body or running off your back like water. You can visualize growing roots, just like an old oak tree, you can feel the stress draining into the earth and being absorbed my mother nature.
  6. Be grateful. When you’re feeling stressed, try counting your blessings. Write them down in a gratitude journal. There is always something you can be thankful for… sometimes it is as simple as waking up. Think about all the things that are good in your life.  When you focus on gratitude, you’ll also see more of the good in your life. When you think negatively, it’s easier to feel angry and stressed. Positive thinking, on the other hand, helps diffuse your anger and brings you more good things to feel good about!
  7. Breathe. When you are caught up in those really strong emotions that come with stress and overwhelm, take a moment to take a few slow, deep breaths. This action has multiple benefits. When you breathe deeply, it sends extra oxygen to your brain for clarity of thought and relaxes your muscles. It also gives you a moment to take a mental step back and look at the bigger picture.

When you give yourself time to think first, you’re much less likely to lash out, either verbally or physically. You can then approach the issue feeling calmer. By using the tools suggested here to help you stay positive, you can get a handle on your stress and enjoy greater happiness in your life.

Inspired Actions

Take just one idea, add 15 minutes, and feel your stress winding down. Leave a comment below to let me know how it went.

(Photo credit: Portrait of Sadness and Stress via Shutterstock)

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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