4 Ways To Relieve Stress

Stress is not new. We all deal with stress in one way or another on a daily basis.

We have been exposed to a lot of it in recent months and studies show that low levels of everyday stress are actually more harmful than one traumatic event! This means the tussle you had with an office colleague, the rocky relationship you're in, or even the news you're passively listening to - it all adds up.

When stressed, the primordial, "reptilian" part of our brain gets activated and deals with stress in one of three ways -

Fright

Fight

Flight


Fright responses are expressed as anxiety, fight as aggression, and flight as depression. We all deal with stress in different ways - some are more anxious, while others get angry, and others go into a shell and become dull and inactive. The first step in dealing with stress is to be aware of which of these responses are predominant in us and realize that whenever we are angry, or lazy, or worried, it is an expression of the stress in our lives.


Now, we all also know that losing out temper is bad, anxiety causes sleeplessness, and depression requires help. But most of us do not know HOW to deal with the stress in our lives. In this post, I will give you an exhaustive list of ideas that you should try out BEFORE you get stressed. Every day, take 15 minutes (or even 5 minutes) every couple hours to try things on this list. Find out what works for you, as it could be different from what works for, say, your spouse.


An hour of time taken out for yourself will make you more productive, happier, and capable of dealing with stress effectively.


There's just one caveat - whatever you choose from this list to do, do it wholeheartedly.


1. STOP OVERTHINKING

While the brain is engaged in thinking about the stressful situation, it will keep releasing stress hormones. So, trick your brain into concentrating on something else.

  • Take a 5-min break. Get a glass of water, or make a cup of tea.

  • Meditate. In fact, if there's just one thing you do everyday, do this. There are innumerable apps and videos that can help.

  • Do yoga

  • Think a happy thought. Day dream! Relive the fun parts of your last vacation in your mind.

  • Guided meditation

  • Tell yourself, "this too shall pass"

  • Change your perspective: think, "will this matter 10 years from now?".

  • Bring your idol to your mind. Think about what they would do in this situation. How would they turn this problem into an opportunity?

  • Play brain games

  • SHUT DOWN ALL NEWS. Even the little bytes on your phone.

2. MOVE!

Physical activity is a known stress buster.

  • Play a sport - indoors or outdoors

  • Jogging

  • Treadmill

  • Yoga

  • Punching bag

  • Cardio

  • Zumba or even just dancing that involves lots of movement. ("Bollywood dancing" works wonders)

  • Push-ups, sit-ups

  • Climb up and down the stairs (at least 5 floors)

  • Play with your kids. Run with them, jump up and down, just go crazy! They'll also love this version of you.

3. SELF-CARE

This involves using your senses. Sensory activities engage other parts of the brain.

  • Pranayam - deep breathing. (Or just inhale deeply, hold your breath for 4 seconds, then exhale)

  • Aromatherapy - Just have a nice, light scent around your home, like lavender, for relaxation.

  • Listen to soothing music, or sounds of nature

  • Nap for at least 30 minutes, and not more than 45 minutes

  • Multi-sensory mindfulness meditation (with relaxing music, and relaxing scents in the room)

  • Massage (or just walk barefoot in grass, or get a reflexology mat for your feet)

  • Go out in the balcony, or near an open window and commune with nature- listen to the sounds, look at pleasant greenery, imagine yourself relaxing out there.

  • Eat a square of full-dark chocolate! Yes, chocolate helps, but not the regular variety full of sugar and milk solids, and definitely not in excess.

4. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY

Emotional connect causes our brain to release oxytocin, the hormone that is responsible for log-term happiness (as opposed to short-term happiness like what we get from eating fast food).

  • Hugging people you care about (not strangers), and people who love you

  • Spending time with family - through video chat, phone calls, or even other online means (but within a certain limit)

  • Singing (yes, those antakshari nights are worth the trouble)

  • Laughing (and it's contagious)

  • Practice gratitude everyday. It takes time and effort to be able to be thankful for the things that we have, instead of worrying about, or feeling sad for, the things we don't.

  • Crying is a good way to de-stress. Let it go. Don't feel ashamed of it.

  • Reach out. Help someone in need.

  • And don't feel afraid to ask for help yourself if you need it.


If your anxiety, or aggression, or depression get to a point that they hamper your daily activities, go to a professional. Get counseling if you can. Homeopathy has great medicines to help with these as well. So message me for a consult if needed.

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