5 habits to combat stress and help you relax

Stress- it’s a part of life whether we like it or not. It might be caused by pressure at work, tension in our personal lives, or even everyday things, like running late. Rather than trying to eliminate stress from your life all together, you should learn a few ways to get you through your most stressful moments. Read on for five habits to help you relax.

Exercise

Sometimes, the stress in our life may be related to our health. Maybe you don’t like how you look in your jeans, or maybe you are embarrassed that you are out of breath by the time you scale the stairs to your apartment. No matter what tipped you off that you aren’t in the best shape of your life, there’s no time like the present to start on your fitness journey.

Besides the physical benefits, exercise also helps release stress. As you get your body moving, you’ll get to enjoy those endorphins that bring on the good feelings (1). Exercise is a great habit to help keep stress at bay, as well as helping you get through the stress of your everyday life. Whether you have a step goal in mind every day, or try to start weight training, you’ll always feel great after getting in a good workout.

 

Journaling

Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps release stress in a way you can look back and build on. When you have problems in your life, you can write them down in your journal to get a full grasp on the situation. The same way that saying something aloud can help you work through something, so can writing it down. By writing down your thoughts, you may help yourself problem solve. Plus, you may look back and realize the issue wasn’t as big as you thought. This type of reflection may help you realize the problems you are facing currently aren’t so big, either.

Journaling is known to help you form a positive attitude in the face of stress (2), which helps you get through it. It is also known to have health benefits like decreasing symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and anxiety (3). You don’t have to write for long- even jotting down some thoughts throughout the day will help you reap the benefits.

 

Listen to Music

Do you notice how you choose different music to listen to based on your mood? Maybe you listen to pop while you workout, and country music when you are at the beach. We tie different music to different situations, so it makes sense that we can use music to get through situations, too. When you’re sad, you might gravitate towards your designated “sad playlist.” Next time you catch yourself doing this, try switching your routine. Put on the music that you play when you’re in a good mood, and see if you can “trick” your body into thinking that you are in a good mood.

Healthcare workers have started using music for the health benefits associated with it (4). So, next time you’re stressed, put on your favorite song and see if you can trick your mind into feeling a bit more relaxed.

 

Scheduling

Sometimes the stress in life is due to a packed schedule with no time to relax. By being a gatekeeper of your time, you can help manage stress on a daily basis. If you are overloaded, don’t agree to do something. If you love having downtime, don’t agree to plans just because you’re free. When handed a new project at work, be upfront from the beginning about how much is on your plate. If your supervisor knows that you’re fully-loaded, they might be able to give you a bit more flexibility in your deadline. 

Time is a big factor in daily stress. More specifically, feeling like we don’t have enough time to fit in all of our daily tasks can cause stress. Learn to say no to things you don’t have time for, or that will interfere with your rest. Time is valuable, and you shouldn’t feel like everyone is entitled to yours.

 

Have fun

While it seems simple, doing something just for the purpose of having fun helps minimize stress. Doing things that are fun will help your mood become positive, which in turn fights stress. Try to make a habit of doing one thing each day that is purely for the purpose of having fun. When something’s only purpose is to be fun, it’ll also take other stress away from the situation. Do what is fun for you, whether it be calling your best friend on Facetime, window shopping at the mall, or just taking a good, long nap.

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