Modern life is stressful. Sometimes, routine and obligations do not allow you to have control over your life and this is when the effects of anxiety become apparent. Your blood pressure increases and your musculoskeletal system becomes tensed. In fact, being over-stressed causes both physical and mental problems as your immune system becomes more vulnerable, whereas bad psychology can lead to depression and other mood related disorders. The following stress management techniques can help you improve your quality of life.
1. Slow down
Slowing down instead of racing to catch up with professional and family obligations lowers abnormal heart rhythms and blood pressure. In addition, it enables you to focus at work, thus saving valuable time and perform your tasks efficiently. Also, by slowing down you lower the risk of facing heart problems as a result of extreme stress levels.
2. Eat a balanced diet
Eating a balanced diet, rich in nutrients can help you absorb all the necessary vitamins and minerals (calcium, magnesium, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc) that are important in maintaining a good health. High-fiber, carbohydrate-rich foods (eggs, potatoes, whole grain, bread, dry fruits etc.) release serotonin in the brain, which relaxes the nervous system. Also, fruits and vegetables are great stress-busting antioxidants, which boost the immune system.
3. Have regular meals
People may skip meals because they are too busy at work or too stressed. When skipping a meal, energy levels in the body are lowered and the immune system becomes vulnerable. If your diet is not balanced, your immune system may suffer a serious damage. Make sure to eat small meals regularly during the day.
4. Eat dark chocolate
Dark chocolate can calm stressed-out nerves by regulating the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizing metabolism, a study in the Journal of Proteome Research reports. Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which lower blood pressure and cholesterol, increase glucose metabolism and keep the blood vessels healthy.
5. Practice Yoga
Yoga can help you manage stress both physically and mentally. Unlike shallow chest breathing, which tenses up the muscles and raises the heartbeat, slow, deep breathing from the diaphragm lowers the heart rate and the blood pressure. Especially, the pranayama breathing is a great breathing technique through one nostril to balance the mind and the body. Stretching and exercising during the day enables deep breathing and loosens up the muscles. Yoga has many poses that stretch the body and enable deep breathing, thus relaxing the nervous system almost instantly.
6. Get a hand massage or a massage therapy
Massage therapy is a very effective stress management technique. Even if you cannot afford a professional masseuse, you can definitely try a hand massage throughout the day to boost your energy and increase your concentration levels. A hand massage is especially helpful for people who spend a lot of time typing on a typewriter or a keyboard. By relaxing the thumb muscle, the stress is automatically relieved in the shoulders and neck.
7. Snuggle up with your dog
Dog owners are less stressed, several studies report. Dogs provide both social and health benefits like happiness, empathy, higher self-esteem and moral support. In addition, they are effectively used in therapies against depression. Snuggling up with your dog functions like an instant mood-booster, which can help you manage stress and perform at best at work.
Stress is a very unpleasant situation. If you don't take control of your environment, you are less likely to relax and enjoy life. Learn to say no and don't try to make everybody happy. Avoid toxic people who stress you out for no reason and have close relationships with positive, free-spirited individuals who do not add up stress in your life. In general, the key is to know who you are and what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.