Remember from my previous blog how you actually perceive stress, rather than the actual cause of stress, is what leads to harm?
Well here are nine more ideas of what to do when stress knocks on your door.
Surround yourself with stress relieving tools
That can be Fresh flowers, Peppermint or vanilla candles or diffusers, pictures of people you love, photographs of particularly wonderful vacations you’ve been on, works of art, and a sign the says “breath.” All can reduce stress levels, studies find.
Build bonding into your schedule
You know from some of my previous blogs how important social networks and friends are. Particularly for women, having close friends with whom to vent and bond makes more of a difference in chronic stress levels than most luxuriant bubble bath.
All you’re doing is increasing stress hormones on a regular basis, even when nothing particularly stressful is happening. Instead, do one thing at a time. When that one thing is particularly stressful, take a break before you move on to the next task. During that break time, practice your mindfulness meditation or deep breathing or simply lie down with a cold cloth over your eyes and drift.
Clean a closet
There is simply nothing that puts more control into your life than cleaning up a mess you encounter frequently.
Take up Yoga
Just one class is enough to reduce stress hormone levels, studies find.
Hold hands with your partner
A good relationship is a great stress-buster. In fact, simply holding hands with someone you love reduces brain activity related to stress better than holding a stranger’s hands. The better your relationship, the calmer the brain response.
Munch on some pistachios
After four weeks of a heart healthy diet containing 1.5 to 3 ounces of pistachios daily, participants in a Pennsylvania State University study had reduced stress responses, including lower blood pressure and greater artery relaxation.
Spend time in a garden
If you live in a condo or high-rise, try a container garden. The greenery has a tremendous effect when it comes to reducing stress. The best gardens are “healing gardens” which contain some form of water, green vegetation, and flowers, in either and indoor or outdoor environment. Develop it correctly, though. The garden should be easily controlled and tended, offer social opportunities (with a bench or small table and chairs), allow for physical movement (an indoor or patio garden can do this with a variety of potted plants in different spaces and at different levels), and provide natural distractions (plants that attract butterflies are ideal).
Go for the sugar (but just a little)
When stress hits, let an ounce of dark chocolate or some other small sweet treat dissolve in your mouth. Just make sure it’s made with real sugar, not corn syrup or other sweeteners. Animal studies find that a quick sugary treat can reduce stress hormone levels after a stressful event without increasing weight.
So, the best take-away here is that stress is how you perceive it. If you don’t perceive something as stressful then it doesn’t affect you as chronic stress. It is kind of a mind over matter kind of thing, and will take some practice, but you are completely capable of conquering this. Start practicing today!
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