No matter how you spend the work day, whether as a vice president responsible for business development like Joseph Cianciotto, a kindergarten teacher or a bus driver, one of the hardest challenges as you face is how to leave the stresses of the job behind you. There is no question that an inability to manage stress has significant implications for health and mental well-being. So, if you are looking for ways to reduce the impact that stress has on you on a daily basis, try some these guaranteed stress busters!
Laugh out loud – If you don’t feel like laughing at first, research shows that even a forced or artificial laugh can have a positive effect on stress by encouraging the release of endorphins that will make you feel happier. If you can laugh with friends, even better because laughing with other people satisfies a need we have to make social connections with other people. The feeling of sharing an emotional reaction to something funny helps to create a positive sense of “we-ness” that has been shown to contribute to mental well-being and stress reduction.
Blast your music – Music calms the savage beast, and keeps stress at bay too! It is generally agreed that listing to your favorite music, especially if you are singing along at the top of your lungs, is a great way to reduce blood pressure and stress.
Meditate – If you are one of those people who can’t separate the idea of mediating from the image of people sitting cross-legged and chanting in an incense filled room, you will be pleased to know that this is not the only one way to approach this ancient stress-busting practice. Many people prefer to practice what is called “active mediation.” The idea is simply to engage in repetitive, “mindless” activities that require concentration but are not necessarily dependent on conscious thought. The recent craze in adult coloring books is partly related to the stress-busting effect of almost mindless coloring is a great example of the appeal of active meditation.
Breath deep – Deep breathing exercises are a well-known way to relieve stress, in part because they are a form of active meditation. Many people find that when they become focused on their breath and on controlling its rhythms, anxiety falls away because there is no room in your mind for worry. Additionally, deep breathing can increase oxygen levels in the blood and brain and can contribute to a general feeling of well-being.
Exercise – One of the most reliable ways to bust stress is by engaging in some form of exercise. Vigorous exercise is known to encourage the release of endorphins, which produces a happy feeling often described as the “runner’s high”. But you don’t need to engage in sweat-inducing exercise in order to get the benefits. Research shows that a walk in a park can do wonders to reduce stress levels.
So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, try one of these methods to help you find your happy place!