Life is hectic.
We live in a stress-filled world. Our workplaces are so competitive that if you aren’t constantly striving to be better, you’ll be passed up. But we still try to do our best to balance our time between our time-consuming job, our loved ones, furthering our education, and a thousand other activities we have going on.
We frequently feel like a juggler trying to maintain multiple balls in the air, worrying about what might happen if we let them slip. We can easily become overwhelmed and we often feel frustrated, agitated, and have trouble relaxing. Or perhaps you constantly worry, lack focus, or regularly get sick.
These are all signs of stress. While stress is very normal in our society, as you can imagine, stress leads to lowered productivity. Here are seven ways you can reduce stress and live a healthier, more productive life.
1) Get More Sleep
There are so many benefits to getting a good night’s rest. According to the American Psychological Association, adults who get at least 8 hours of sleep per night experience less frustration, don’t feel as overwhelmed, and are less likely to skip exercise.
We all know that we should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. However, how many of us actually do it?
Getting in a routine can make a huge difference. Establish what time you need to go to bed in order to get 8 hours of sleep and allow yourself some time to unwind before you lay down. Put down your electronic devices and read a book or meditate. Allow your mind enough time to relax before you go to sleep.
2) Exercise Regularly
This is one of the most important things on this list. When you exercise, you reduce the amount of stress hormones your body produces (cortisol). You will also improve the release of endorphins which can help improve your mood.
Exercise will also help with other aspects of stress reduction, including sleeping better and having a higher self-esteem.
Find exercise that you enjoy. Whether it is playing pickup basketball, running long distances, or weight training, it is important to be active.
3) Practice Yoga or Meditation
When you are stressed, your mind is usually racing with all the things you need to do or worrying about something in the future. Both yoga and meditation will help you focus on the moment and your breathing.
Yoga teaches you to join the mind and the body. While there are many different styles, studies have shown that yoga has been effective in reducing cortisol levels and in improving depression and anxiety.
While yoga focuses on joining the mind and body, meditation emphasizes training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. This can be extremely effective when your mind is filled, and you are stressed.
4) Laugh Often
You may have heard “laughter is the best medicine” and while that may be a stretch in some instances, it is certainly applicable to stress.
Laughter relaxes physical tension and relieves stress. It can leave your whole body relaxed up to 45 minutes afterwards. But it will also trigger the release of endorphins, raising your mood and creating an overall sense of well-being.
When you’re stressed, it can be difficult to laugh. But search out opportunities and don’t take yourself so seriously.
5) Write It Down
There are few things as therapeutic as journaling. Now you don’t have to keep a traditional journal; write down what is bothering you and what is going on in your life. This is your chance to vent and release some of that tension onto the paper.
Another way you can alleviate stress is to write down what you are grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal. This will help you stay focused on all the good things in your life and keep things in perspective.
6) Utilize Aromatherapy
The use of scents to improve or change your mood is called aromatherapy. While it may seem a little strange, several studies show that aromatherapy can decrease anxiety and improve sleep.
Some of the most relaxing scents include:
Diffuse some essential oils or light a candle in the evening to help ease some of the tension and stress you have accumulated throughout the day.
7) Find Engaging Hobbies
You need to find activities where you can destress. Your job isn’t your life so don’t allow all of your responsibilities to define you. Find hobbies that you enjoy. Whether that is learning an instrument, developing a new skill, reading, or hiking, find time to fulfill your inner-self.
Remember, although your job is important, sometimes less is more. You will be far more productive in all aspects of your life when you learn to take a bit of time for yourself and separate your mind from the source of your stress. Find what works for you and note the difference in how you feel and your productivity.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.