Exercise is one of the most essential things you can do to combat stress. It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.
The benefits are strongest when you exercise commonly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise.
There are a few reasons behind this:
Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones — such as cortisol — in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that increase your mood and act as natural painkillers.
Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental well being.
Using necessary oils or burning a scented candle may help decrease your feelings of stress and anxiety.
Some scents are especially soothing. Here are some of the most calming scents:
- Roman chamomile
- Write It Down
One way to handle stress is to write things down. While recording what you’re stressed about is one approach, another is jotting down what you’re grateful for.
Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.
For a super easy and quick stress reliever, try chewing a stick of gum. One study showed that people who chewed gum had a greater sense of wellbeing and lower stress.
One possible explanation is that chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people. Another is that chewing gum promotes blood flow to your brain.
Additionally, one recent study found that stress relief was greatest when people chewed more strongly.
It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing. It’s good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress: Relieving your stress response.
Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted.
Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
- Deep Breathing
Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signalling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode.
During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing and constricted blood vessels.
Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response. There are several types of deep breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing and paced respiration.
- Listen to Soothing Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but basically listening to the music you enjoy is effective too.
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.