4 Quick Ways to De-stress

Stress kills. Stress alone can be the cause of heart disease, sleepless nights, mental health issues, and even fat deposits in our belly region. We can’t always control the things that stress us out, but we can take a deep breath and unwind a little from the daily pressures that surround us.

If you need a little breather, here are three great ways you can de-stress from the stress triggers in your life:

Meditate
You may roll your eyes at the idea, but meditating is an excellent way to ease tensions and de-stress. It’s also convenient because you can do it in your own home, and it requires no equipment or supplies in order to do so. Simply find a comfortable place and focus on relaxing your muscle groups one by one. As you relax, focus on your breathing. Take deep long breaths, in and out. As you are concentrating on your breathing, you can focus on a single thought, or let different thoughts come to you. Sometimes validating your own thoughts is all you need to do to feel better about your day.

Think it’s just a bunch of baloney? Think again. There have been over 19,000 clinical studies on meditation. These studies have shown that meditation can have a profound impact on stress, anxiety, and even pain. If you need to unwind, give meditation a chance and feel your tension slip away.

Walking
A new phenomenon known as “Forest Bathing” is taking hold in countries around the world. While you may not have known the term for it (Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy, having originated in the 1980s in Japan), you probably have taken a walk to cool your head after a stormy argument or other stressful event, and found a little peace there.

A walk in the forest or bush can help de-stress in a variety of different ways. The change in scenery provides sensory stimulation that soothes and protects jangled nerves, the fresh air and improved blood circulation from the exercise can relax away your tensions, and it provides you a chance to think about your issues in a calm environment. A walk through nature is an amazing way to relax your body and unwind after a tense day at the office.

Laugh
If you’re under stress, you might not be able to find much to laugh about, but laughing can produce endorphins that help silence our stress response. Try watching a funny video on YouTube or read a hilarious comic strip from your childhood favourites. After a few good laughs you will find your muscles relaxing and stresses slipping away.

Unplug
We spend a lot of time sitting at our computers, or checking our phones. Screens burn away our serotonin and can stop us from sleeping well. If you’re feeling stressed, putting your screens down and stepping away from them, be it computer, phone, or TV, can make a great difference in how you feel. If you still need something to do, try reading a book or listening to music, both of which are proven de-stressers in their own right.
Stress is a part of life and it’s not something we can really escape from. With the help of these tactics though, you can take a breather when you need to before plunging back into your stressful day.

(This article first appeared on Medium.com)

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