We all experience varying levels of stress. It starts with a simple worry or troubling thought. That negative thinking transpires into more thoughts and before you know it, there’s a storm brewing in your mind drowning your mental and physical energy.
Here’s the catch… you CAN control it. Stress (in the psychological sense) is simply that… a thought — nothing more, nothing less. You see, stress is not something that happens to us; it’s something that happens within us. We're not saying unfortunate events aren’t the catapult for stress, but it’s how we choose to respond to that event or stressor that impacts our health and wellbeing. The more we entertain negative thoughts, the larger they grow. The more we counter negative thoughts, the smaller they become.
We all have the potential to regulate stress levels, shift our mindset and live happier, more fulfilling lives. To help you take control of stress, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite stress-relieving activities to lift spirits and reduce anxiety.
Try them out for yourself and adopt a favorite technique that you can fold into your daily routine.
Here are the 5 Stress Busters:
- Laugh out loud: It’s true what they say: laughter is one of nature’s best medicines. Laughing frequently is a tremendous resource for overcoming problems and supporting health. It can stimulate circulation and enhance the intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles. Even faking a laugh can soothe tension and increase endorphins released by the brain.
- Move your body: Consistent, moderate physical activity reduces stress hormones and stimulates the production of feel-good brain chemicals. If you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to exercise,” think again: a new study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease shows that Americans actually have plenty of time to exercise; they just choose to spend it on their phones. So minimize that unnecessary screen time and get your body moving. If time still feels like a hindrance, consider waking up 20 minutes earlier and go for a brisk walk. There are plenty of ways you can sneak in activity throughout the course of a busy day.
- Go to your happy place: We all need a happy place we can escape to in our minds during periods of stress. This technique, also referred to as visualization or guided imagery, is a highly effective stress-reduction technique because you’re filling your mind with positive suggestions in contrast to stressful ones. The key to this technique is finding your unique happy place. This can be place you’ve been before that brings about happy memories or a new place that makes you feel at peace. Imagine a tranquil beach, a beautiful garden, or a serene setting in nature if you need inspiration. Use all of your senses to bring that image to life. Tapping into specific details refocuses your attention and can deliver an instant “happy” boost!
- Eat Healthy: You saw this one coming! If you truly want to reduce stress, you have to take care of your body. A nutrient-rich diet builds a solid, more enduring foundation for your body by reducing oxidation and inflammation. Just as your car needs fuel to run, your body needs nutrients to thrive. If you’re eating a lot of unhealthy processed foods or skipping meals, your body is going to feel the effects. Start with simple changes – make sure you have fresh, whole foods readily available in the kitchen. Quick grab-and-go options like Orgain Organic Protein Bars or Orgain Ready-To-Drink Shakes, are perfect when you’re busy and need a snack to get you to your next meal. To set yourself up for further success, consider building a healthy meal-prep habit into your daily routine. Planning out your meals and snacks in advance can significantly improve your overall diet and, ultimately, your health and wellbeing.
- Lend a helping hand: We know that getting support from others can help relieve stress, but giving support is also extremely effective. Researchers found that proactively doing things for others, even in small ways, such as holding a door open for someone or helping with homework, can reduce stress and increase a sense of well-being. Of course, be mindful of your boundaries. Giving when you can’t afford the time, energy or money can have the opposite effect, so do what you can, when you can!
These five techniques are great for conquering stress. In a world where we spend too much time in our own heads, it’s important we have the right tools to clear out the negativity. Not only can these techniques reduce stress, they can help us feel happier, more balanced and in-control.
Do you have a favorite healthy stress-busting technique? If so, share below! We’d love to hear from you!