Does just hearing the word “stress” make you want to start chewing on your pencil or reach for something sweet? April is Stress Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to learn some relaxation tips and unwind. Stress is a part of everyday life, but when you are able to manage stress, your health will improve. The goal is to work with your stress, rather than avoid it.
Here are 7 healthy tips to positively re-energizing your thoughts and manage stress.
1. Take a Hike
Tell stress to literally take a hike! Get outdoors and enjoy nature. Go on a hike, walk or go on a bike ride. Studies have shown being outside can help reduce stress. Plus, exercise releases endorphins are known to fight stress.
2. Learn to say no
Do you have a hard time saying “no” to every request? If so, all those “yeses” are going to escalate your stress. Learn how to say “no” when you need to without feeling guilty.
Meditation is known to calm your mind and reduce stress. Learn to control your breathing by trying concentration meditation, which involves focusing your attention on just one thing. Concentration meditation can make you feel simultaneously relaxed, alert and also energized.
4. Identify your triggers
Find out what makes you tick. Positive events like a new job can be just as stressful as negative situations like financial difficulties. Once you know your triggers, you can start making strategies for dealing with them. Even if you can’t avoid the problem, you can find ways to reduce the stressful situation.
5. Maintain a strong social network
To help you through the stress of tough times, you’ll need a strong social support network made up of friends, family and peers. Talking about stressful situations with a friend or loved one and getting their input can be a valuable tool in stress management.
What is more important? Getting your taxes done on time or attending that big party? Make a list of all the things you have to do and rate them 1-10 on how important they are, 10’s being most important. Too many things on your plate at once cause easily avoidable stress.
7. Say no to sugar
When your body is under stress, the release of the stress hormone cortisol affects blood sugar. Your body then craves sugar to keep your energy up. It may be a quick fix, but in the long run, eating too much sugar can lead to depression, diabetes , weight and other illnesses.
1. Mayo Health Clinic. Stress Management. Retrieved April 4th from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-management/MY00435/DSECTION=stress-relief
2. Roizman, Tracey. What Are The Causes Of Sugar Cravings? Livestrong.com. Retrieved April 8th from http://www.livestrong.com/article/96983-causes-sugar-cravings/
3. Borchard, Therese. 18 Ways to Manage Stress. Retrieved April 8th from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/06/23/18-ways-to-manage-stress/