Did you know that chronic stress is closely linked to the top causes of death in the world?
Stress may not be killing you now, but it can definitely impact your physical and mental health in debilitating ways.
What with relationship and work demands, sometimes it may just feel hard to catch a break or manage your stress in a healthy and productive way.
There are things you can do to stay on top of your stress so that it doesn’t take over. Read on to learn about our top recommendations for stress management activities.
When it comes to stress management activities, this is one of the best things to do. Regular meditation sessions can lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormone production in the body.
Besides these immediate physical effects, meditation encourages you to slow the mind. Whether you’re worried about how to succeed in MLM or who’s picking the kids up, it’s important to give your brain a break regularly.
In fact, establishing a regular meditation practice can help you go about your day in a more grounded way. You may even want to consider meditating on your lunch break at work, or before you go to bed to ease your sleep.
2. Breaking a Sweat
Exercise is one of the best stress management activities you can engage in because it benefits your body in so many ways.
Breaking a sweat by going for a run, taking a bike ride, or attending that dance fitness class releases endorphins in the body, key hormones for happiness and pleasure. Sweating can also release toxins from the body that can accumulate from stress.
Exercise also energizes you, while stress can deplete your stamina. Going for a quick jog can give you the boost you need to make it through the rest of the day–and ensure a good night’s sleep.
3. Deep Breathing Activities
Slowing down your breathing induces a state of calm and mental release in the body.
When you practice deep breathing, you signal to your body that it’s time to relax. Deep breathing activities lower your blood pressure and limit the circulation of stress hormones.
More importantly, steadying your breath in the middle of a stressful situation trains your body to react differently. Frequent deep breathing can help you manage stress even before it arrives!
4. Positive Visualization
Some people think that visualization is just a mental exercise that doesn’t really pay off in the long run. But it’s actually one of the best stress management activities you can do–and it takes just a few minutes.
Positive visualization means closing your eyes and picturing something positive. It could be a more positive outcome to a stressful situation. You could even imagine yourself achieving a goal or experiencing success.
Positive visualization can immediately change the tenor of your situation. It helps you focus on the positive and remind yourself that things are going to be okay.
It can even lead to boosted levels of confidence, productivity, and satisfaction.
5. Spring Cleaning
Your environment can have a huge impact on your stress levels. Living in a cluttered or disorganized space can actually stress you out more than you currently are.
Take charge of your environment by doing some spring cleaning, no matter what time of year it is.
Deep clean your bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Get rid of things you don’t need. Open a window to let in some fresh air, and light some candles for some aromatherapy.
6. Listening to Music
Music therapy really is a thing, and you can participate any time. Listening to your favorite music can have the same effect as meditation or even exercise.
Music can release endorphins in your body and light up key pathways in your brain that signal feelings of calm, happiness, and clarity. This is especially the case if you listen to calming, classical music.
Start your day listening to some soothing music. Play your favorite playlist on your lunch break. Practice deep breathing while listening to merge two of the best stress management activities.
7. Progressive Relaxation
One of the best ways to release stress toxins is to progressively relax your body. This means focusing on specific parts of your body and relaxing them one at a time.
You can do this lying down or even sitting in your office chair. It helps to close your eyes and even tense specific muscles before relaxing them. Start with your feet and work your way up, covering your calves, kneecaps, thighs, groin, pelvic floor, abdomen, chest, neck, face, and crown.
Progressive relaxation trains your muscles to release. Letting go of tension in the body can signal to your nervous system that it’s time for calm.
Stress can deplete your energy levels in an instant. Not only does it trigger adrenaline levels in the body, but it can keep you from getting the restful sleep that you need.
Sleep is an important factor in how you manage stress. The more rested you are, the more likely you are to handle stressful situations in a positive way.
Catch up on your sleep as much as possible. If you have trouble sleeping at night, take a nap. A brief power nap can have a huge impact on stress levels.
Time to reflect is an important factor in stress management. Writing down your thoughts gives you a great means of processing stressful situations.
Keeping a journal can help you make sense of things on your own, even if you only jot down a few sentences a day.
10. A Gratitude Practice
Feelings of gratitude in the body can have the same effect of meditation: lowered blood pressure, higher amounts of endorphins, and reduced stress hormone levels.
Start a gratitude practice so that you can target your stress every day. Write down what you are grateful for in the morning and at night.
The Top Stress Management Activities
Work, family life, and relationships can impact your stress levels on a daily basis. It’s important to manage your stress so that it is a healthy rather than toxic part of your day.
Stay on top of your stress management by implementing meditation, deep breathing, and positive visualization exercises in your day. Keep a journal and catch up on your sleep. Try to exercise when possible and consider cleaning up your living space for some stress relief.
Looking for more ways to focus on your life outside of work? Check out our other posts at What Your Boss Thinks so that you can live the stress-free and productive life you’re dreaming of.