It seems fitting that November 7 is National Stress Awareness Day. Often overlooked or ignored, it ’s not called the “silent killer” for anything. Stress has been linked to a myriad of health issues ranging from high blood pressure to heart disease and can exacerbate other health issues that are present.
Here are 5 ways to relieve stress without having to stress about how to do it:
- Breath deep. Seems simple enough but help experts claim that we don’t do enough of breathing properly. Have you ever noticed that you tend to hold your breath or quicken it when you are faced with stress? Pull in your breath filling your lungs and expanding your rib cage fully, hold for a brief second and slowly release ALL of it through your mouth and nose. A solid 1-2 minutes would be enough to lower your heart rate and stress levels.
2. Count your blessings. It’s hard to remember all that you have when you are facing what you don’t. At this moment, think of the job you have, the food on your table, the family and friends in your life and even the clothes on your back. You are richer than you know.
3. Exercise. You don’t have to don a sweatsuit or activewear or slip on a pair of sneakers. Get outside, take in the sunshine and take a walk. In fact, exposure to sunlight has been proven to boost serotonin levels which is the hormone that is naturally calming. Of course, hitting the gym and getting in some cardio is always a good idea just check in with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
4. Music soothes. Take a break from screen time and tune into your favorite music. You only need 15 minutes to lower your heart rate and stress but feel free to listen even longer if possible.
5. Unbottle. Bottling up feelings or keeping your emotions and what is bringing on stress can be easily released by confiding in a close friend or family member that you trust. Or, reach out to a counselor or therapist to help you deal with overwhelming issues or feelings.