The most effective ways to de-stress

by: Melissa A. Kay

In today's world, stress plays an intrusive role in many of our lives. Some people are pros at dealing with life's ups and downs while others have trouble taking the heat. But stress - while a natural reaction and potentially motivating at times - can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds.

According to Mayo Clinic, "Stress that's left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes." It can affect our mood and behavior and take a toll on our body.

If you are constantly feeling stressed out and want to be a better and more "Zen-like" you, it's time to put an action plan into place to find a new way to react to everyday stressors that work for you, rather than add more stress to your life.

These 3 ways to de-stress will help you focus, cope, and react more calmly, positively, and productively. Take a deep breath and let's de-stress!

Get movin'

Stress can wear you out, and exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you're frazzled and fried. But rather than giving in to the burden, get a much-needed release from working out instead.

According to Harvard Health Publications, "Every time you are physically active, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercising not only melts away stress, it also protects against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your heart muscle, and helping you maintain a healthy weight."

The Chopra Center adds, "When you keep your body in peak condition, you feel lighter and more energized, leaving you prepared to manage life's stresses."

You don't have to transform into a "gym rat" or train for a half-marathon. Just find an activity that makes you look forward to moving - be it golf, walking, yoga, or weight lifting. You'll not only feel and look better, but your stress levels will go down as your activity levels go up.

Catch some zzzs

People who are stressed may keep themselves up at night with endless worry or alarming anxiety. But losing sleep only creates more stress and leaves you less able to fight it.

As per The Chopra Center, "When you're well-rested, you can approach stressful situations more calmly." Get to bed earlier and sleep in a dark, quiet, and cool room for the best night's sleep possible.

If you have trouble unwinding come nighttime, consider meditation. Harvard Health Publications notes, "This practice of inward-focused thought and deep breathing has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Meditation's close relatives, yoga and prayer, can also relax the mind and body."

You can also settle in at night by sipping some hot herbal tea shortly before it's time to hit the sack. As per Organic Life, "Herbal tea is a great stress reducer, says Eric Yarnell, ND, professor of botanical medicine at Bastyr University. Try catnip, lemon balm, skullcap, passionflower, hops, chamomile, or valerian."

The Tea Spot has a wide variety of soothing herbal teas that are caffeine-free and delicious.

Tune in

Music can help reduce stress and give you positive vibes as you tune in to tune out. According to Organic Life, "Music has the power to change the chemistry of our cells in a way that promotes calm. Turn on the radio while you're getting ready in the morning, or during your morning commute, and listen to classical music or other slower tunes to relax and help reduce stress."

PsychCentral adds, "(Classical) music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones. As music can absorb our attention, it acts as a distraction at the same time it helps to explore emotions."

If classical music isn't your jam, put on whatever makes you smile. Note by note, you'll notice your frustrations and anxiety diminish, and the things that were stressing you out will become less urgent and all-consuming.

Some additional ways to beat stress:

  • Connect with friends and family
  • Spend time with your pet
  • Light a candle
  • Have a good laugh
  • Get a massage
  • Eat well
  • Take a vacation (or at least a break)
  • Keep a journal
  • Have sex (or cuddle)

De-stress starting now. If the mess of stress is weighing on you, it's time to lighten the load and proceed with a clear mind and plan for progress.

More from Trueself