When you are suffering from stress, it’s easy to get lost in it. You find that each day is harder than the last, and even the easiest of tasks, the ones that you would have had no problem with before, becomes all but impossible. Reducing your stress, or even eliminating it, is the ultimate goal because chronic stress can cause all kinds of health problems including heart attacks, high blood pressure resulting in strokes, and ulcers. It can also cause mental health issues which may affect your happiness, quality of life and relationships, both professional and personal. Here are some excellent ways to relieve stress so that you can return to your life as quickly as possible.
Get A Massage
When you think of relaxation, massage might be the first thing that comes to mind, and there is a reason for that; it actually works! When you have a good massage, carried out by a professional, the cortisol levels in your body reduce. It’s this hormone that causes stress, so by reducing the amount of it you have in your body; you’ll feel much happier and less stressed out.
As well as promoting a general feeling of happiness and well-being, massage can be good for injuries too, allowing for better muscle movement, which is why a sports massage is an important tool in helping athletes recover from injury, for example. Since pain also raises cortisol levels, reducing pain will help to reduce the stress associated with it.
Meditation is another wonderful way to relax, and many studies have been carried out to show its effectiveness. Meditation involves clearing the mind as much as possible, ‘zoning out’ and allowing yourself to truly relax. It can be a hard practice to get into because many of us find there is too much rushing around in our heads, but over time, bit by bit, meditation is possible for everyone, and when you can do it very well, you will find that your stress levels drop considerably.
If you want a relaxed mind and body, the key is to get a good amount of exercise, which also helps you become fitter and healthier too, so it is a doubly good idea! When your body is relaxed, which is what happens when you are exercising because you are focused on what you are doing and not allowing any other thoughts to creep in, it sends signals to the brain that everything is all right – that you are safe, in other words. When that happens, the brain stops telling the body to produce more cortisol.
Cortisol is the ‘fight or flight’ hormone. It puts you in a ready state to protect yourself should danger threaten you. That’s a good thing, and it is important that it happens when we really are in trouble. Chronic stress means it happens all the time, and that’s where problems lie. So anything that can reduce the cortisol levels in your body is a good thing.
Consider A Herbal Solution
If your stress is formally diagnosed by a doctor and is a mental health issue, you may be prescribed medical marijuana, but this will depend on the state where you live. It can relax your mind and body so that the cortisol levels are reduced, as mentioned above. It can work for those who are suffering from stress when nothing else seems to be able to help, and it could be worth mentioning to your doctor that you are interested in trying this solution out. You can read more here.
Enjoy A Long, Hot Bath
A soak in the tub after a stressful day can do wonders for you, making you feel so much more relaxed and at peace. The warm water works by increasing your blood flow, soothing any aches and pains you may be suffering from, no matter how minor. As mentioned above, less pain means less stress hormone and a better feeling all around.
Go To A Sauna
Saunas aren’t just great places to relax; they offer a number of other health benefits too. They can provide relief to anyone who has asthma, chronic bronchitis, rheumatic arthritis and congestive heart failure. Regarding relaxation, when you visit a sauna, it is necessary for you to sit and do nothing. It is the perfect way to relax. Although your mind might be racing to begin with, the longer you spend in the sauna, the less concerned about things you will feel. Remember not to stay in there for too long, though, as there is a time limit, which is usually around 20 minutes for safety reasons. You don’t want to dehydrate or overheat.
Spend Time With A Dog
Dogs are excellent companions, turning someone who lives alone and may be feeling lonely (and stressed) into someone who has a companion to talk to, even if they aren’t going to be able to talk back. It’s not just loneliness that having a dog can help with; they are great family pets for many reasons. Simply being around a dog can have an excellent effect on your overall health. Studies have shown that just making eye contact can make your body produce oxytocin, the ‘feel-good’ chemical in your body. Stroking a dog and playing with them has an even greater effect.
Oxytocin isn’t a relaxation chemical, as such, but apart from making us feel good, it has been shown to lower blood pressure which rises as a direct response to stress.
Having a make-out session with your lover is another brilliant way to lower your stress levels! Kissing is another way to ensure your cortisol levels are reduced, and it can make you feel safe and loved which will also lower your stress levels. Holding hands also have a similar effect, but kissing was shown to lower cortisol levels the most.
Taking deep breaths is a great stress buster. When you feel anxious and stressed, you may find that you are taking much shorter breaths than usual. In fact, you may not notice it until you really stop to think about it. By stopping whatever you are doing and deliberately taking long, deep breaths, you can ‘reset’ your stress levels. Deep breaths ensure that enough oxygen passes into your bloodstream and your brain. When your brain is oxygenated properly, your ability to think clearly is greatly increased.