Top 10 Stress Relievers

By: Cheryl Hitchock

Stress may be the top killer in the world today, especially in our high stress Western societies, as it leads to increased heart disease, high blood pressure, increased cancer risk, and many other life threatening conditions. This being said, coping with stress becomes the most important element of daily life. Finding ways to relieve your stress daily, may the most important thing you can do for yourself – and for those you love. Follow our Top 10 Stress Relievers, outlined below, and you will feel better almost immediately.

To help you cope, here are our Top 10 Stress Relievers:

  1. Exercise – Truly, any form of increased physical activity can be a wonderful stress reliever. Physical activity elevates the endorphins which make you feel better and helps to refocus the mind on your current activity. This will improve your mood and will help to make your stressors simply fade away. Just take a walk, ride a bike, do a bit or gardening, or take a swim. You do not have to an athlete to exercise – or to use exercise to relieve stress and improve your mood.
  2. Meditation – Improved mental focus and relief from jumbled thoughts and feelings are just two of the benefits of meditation. Let yourself feel the increased sense of peace, calm, and balance which comes from a focused mind. These will lead to emotional well-being and improved health overall. What’s not good about that?
  3. Laughter – If laughter really is the best medicine, then you can also use it to help reduce stress. Many studies have shown that laughter improves the mindset and actually makes physical changes to the body – positive changes – which lead to feeling better. Laughter increases your heart rate and blood pressure, much like exercise, and leads to a relaxed state of mind. Got any funny friends? Hang out with them more often.
  4. Connections – A natural response to increased stress is to withdraw from others, to seek solace, to be alone. Instead, seek the company of others. Let them help you through the stressful moments, and share your concerns with them. Remember those funny friends? Find some compassionate friends to hang with, as well.
  5. Self-assertion – Being able to say “No” is a great stress reliever; especially if you’re to “Go to gal” for everyone else’s problems. Give up just a little control and feel the freedom from being the one who always has to get everything done. Whatever it is, it may not be done as perfectly as you might do it, but it will be good enough.
  6. Yoga – Like exercise, yoga is a wonderful stress reliever. The series of body postures and controlled breathing required by yoga helps to bring together the mind and body in a highly focused fashion, leaving stress completely out of the equation. It is also relaxing, which makes it a great way to manage stress.
  7. Sleep – The endless cycle of thoughts and the endless lists of things to do which we all suffer from in today’s stressful world can have a direct affect on the quality, and the amount, of sleep we allow ourselves. However, sleep is critical to the body; it is the time the body takes to renew both the brain and the body. A relaxing sleep routine is mandatory for a highly stressed individual; with a cool, dark room, perhaps a bit of soft music, and a comfortable bed. You need sleep, as does your body. Do not sacrifice sleep to stress.
  8. Journaling – Recording your thoughts and feeling can be a great way to release pent-up emotion – and stress. don’t think about it, just let it flow. The results may surprise you. Keep it private and don’t worry about how well it’s written. This is for you, to help you focus your mind and help you beat the stress monster.
  9. Music – Whether you listen to music or play, it will help to distract you from your current stressful situation. It also helps to reduce tension in the muscles and reduces the stress hormones in your body. Let yourself become absorbed in the sounds, focusing only on the music. It will do the work of relieving stress for you.
  10. Counseling – When all else fails, there is always professional help for relieving stress. if you’re feeling trapped or overwhelmed by your life situation, whatever it may be, a therapist who specializes in stress relief may be just what you need. A professional stress counselor can help you identify your stressors, as well as their source, and will help you implement practices which will lead to reduced stress and improved stress management.

Use these Top 10 Stress Relievers singly or together; in any combination that will be effective. If your schedule does not allow for a one hour bike ride every day, work in some yoga or meditation whenever you can. Crank up the volume on the car stereo on your way home from work each day, or take a few minutes with your morning coffee to jot down your thoughts and feelings from the day before.

Whatever you choose to do to relieve stress in your life, be consistent and committed and you will find success.

And that’s good enough.

If you believe you need help identifying and managing the stressors in your life, whether internal or external, as well as developing strategies to deal with them, get in touch with me today.

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About the Author:

Cheryl Hitchcock is an Author, Therapist, Coach, and Public Speaker. She works with the mind and the behaviours to overcome some of the most debilitating, negative, blocking behaviours that cause stress and stress related illnesses. Learn more at http://www.integritycounsellingservices.com.