Most people suffer from stress at one time or another. It might come from pressure at work, financial problems or life events such as bereavement, moving a house or taking care of an elderly person. Stress can sometimes be a positive thing if motivates us to get things done, but long-term stress can trigger health issues, such as depression, headaches, heart disease, digestion problems and loss of concentration.
Sometimes life setbacks have no quick solutions. Stress and adrenal fatigue increase cortisol levels in the body, and it’s when cortisol levels stay elevated that health problems arise. Here are 5 things you can try to actively relieve stress:
Exercise reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline in the body. Undertaking aerobic activities such as cycling, jogging, swimming or walking for as little as half an hour per day will help keep stress in check. Exercise also helps to prevent or alleviate depression.
Breathing exercises are a long-established way to relax and relieve stress. Deep breathing is opposite to the short, shallow breaths we tend to take when stressed. The exercises vary in complexity from simple diaphragmatic breathing techniques to 4-7-8 breathing or alternate nostril breathing.
Listening to music has a calming effect on the mind and body, especially slow, instrumental music. The choice of music is somewhat personal, but listening to random or chaotic music with lyrics can elicit the opposite response and increase stress. Playing a musical instrument is also a stress reliever.
Meditation exercises focus on relaxing the body and clearing the mind. The latter can be difficult when under stress, but various meditation techniques make it possible. Meditation often encompasses relaxation methods such as deep breathing and listening to music.
Like acupuncture, EFT (emotional freedom techniques) tapping uses the body’s meridian energy points to relieve stress. Rather than using needles, proponents of tapping tap on energy points with their fingertips while making affirmative statements out loud, sometimes.