by Finnegan Pierson,
Contributing Author, Conscious Reminder
Stress is an extremely common experience, with approximately 70% of Americans saying that they feel stressed on a daily basis. However, there are simple steps that you can take to reduce stress throughout your day. Here are five ways that you can ease feelings of tension and promote a sense of calm.
You’ve probably heard it many times before, but exercising is one of the most effective ways to keep your mind and body healthy. Not only has exercising been shown to reduce stress levels, but it can also decrease anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality and boost your self-esteem. Simply going for a
30-minute walk is enough to increase feel-good chemicals in your brain known as endorphins, and you don’t have to join a gym or purchase any expensive equipment to reap the benefits. If you’re finding it difficult to motivate yourself to exercise, try working out with a family member or friend. They can make the experience more enjoyable and help you to keep up with your routine.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge. In fact, it’s so important that even mild sleep deprivation can have negative effects on your physical and mental health, including heightened stress levels, feeling irritable or angry and even increasing your risk of developing heart disease. If you find that you’re feeling extra stressed throughout the day, sleep deprivation may be the culprit. Aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night if you want to feel calm and well-rested.
Studies have shown that adults who sleep fewer than seven hours a night are more likely to report symptoms of stress. Keep in mind that some symptoms of stress exhibited during sleep include drooling while sleeping, tossing and turning or snoring.
Spend Time With Your Pet
Along with the numerous other advantages of having a pet, a reduction in stress and improvement in mood are other important benefits. Studies have shown that spending time with pets can aid in the release of oxytocin, a chemical in the brain that’s associated with easing stress and improving sleep quality, and prevent the release of cortisol, which is also known as the body’s main stress hormone.
Interacting with your pet can also provide you with a sense of companionship and purpose, which can help reduce anxiety.
Eat a Healthy Diet
While you may feel tempted to reach for a sugary snack or a caffeinated drink when you’re feeling stressed, this will do more harm than good. When your body is poorly fed, it doesn’t have the essential nutrients it needs to keep you feeling energized and strengthen your immune system against foreign invaders. Although you may feel an initial boost from the sugar, you’ll eventually crash and end up feeling even worse than before. Therefore, it’s important that you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber, protein and whole grains, and stay away from refined sugars, saturated fats and fried foods. In addition, adding a few supplements to your diet, such as omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics, can help you boost your nutrient intake.
Reach Out to Others
Although you may feel like isolating yourself when you feel stressed or anxious, reaching out to others can provide you with a strong social support network that can help you get through tough times. Studies have shown that individuals with fewer social connections were more prone to anxiety and depression, while those who spent time with friends or family had higher levels of oxytocin. Additionally, being part of a social circle can give you a sense of purpose and belonging.
If you’ve been feeling more stressed than usual lately, you’re not alone. Stress is a common ailment that has affected everyone at some point in their lives. The good news is that you can ease your feelings of tension and foster a sense of well-being with these five tips.
About the Author: Finnegan Pierson is an avid outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer. He enjoys writing about sustainability, eco-friendly behaviors, and local travel. He loves to meditate, and spend time with his family.
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