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Feeling of discomfort is a part in our modern, regular life. It is important to find out ways that can relieve us from all kind of stresses; and you always look for proven ways to de-stress yourself. When our body hormone level increases, blood pressure also increases and we lose control over our mental and body power. Hormones like cortisol produces a reaction of “survival” that flood our system and increases heart rate, creates problem in breathing system and clogs our blood vessels. A simple stress can cause depression and anxiety disorders. Moreover, it can worsen other health concerns such as asthma, irritable bowel syndrome or insomnia.
Here is good news for all of us who suffer from stress frequently. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the US Institutes of Health, in the same way that we have a “stress response”, we have a “relaxation response” that can make breathing slow, reduce blood pressure and the need for oxygen.
Here are 9 effective ways to de-stress yourself, based on scientific evidence.
1. Breathe deeply
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Any yogi knows that breathing – known as pranayama or “life force” – plays an important role in nourishing the body. And medical research confirms it. “Breathing exercises can help you relax, because they provide your body a sensation similar to that of a body already relaxed,” says the medical website WebMD. Breathing exercises or simply a few deep breaths can reduce tension and relieve stress, with extra oxygen. Moreover, it has been proven by clinical research as breathing exercises help some systems damaged by stress: they can reduce blood pressure and even capable of changing the expression of certain genes, according to Herbert Benson, researcher at Harvard.
02. Walk for 10 minutes
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Although any walk will help you clear your head and boost endorphins (which, as a result, will reduce stress hormones), remember to go walking in a garden or other green space, which can place your body in a state of meditation, through a phenomenon called “involuntary attention.”
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A short representation is an easy way to focus. Even the US National Institute of Health recognizes the power of “mental imagery” to elicit a relaxation response. Just sit back (wherever you are) and then visualize a peaceful scene: the upcoming holidays, your favorite beach, your favorite scenario, anything pleasant would do. You can imagine you achieve a future goal or, in the words of the magazine Women’s Health, “see you in an elevator, happy to be stuck between two fine players of your choice.”
4. Eat a banana (or a potato!)
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Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, which rises in times of stress. Some people find that eating a banana when stressed helps them regain energy and recover. And research has shown that it can protect your body from negative effects of stress, for example an increased risk of heart attacks. The American Psychological Association also recommended avoiding physical damage of stress.
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“Repetitive movements – such as the ability precise gestures used for knitting, to make jewelry, or cross stitch – can soothe anxiety”, says Perri Klass, a pediatrician and avid knitter. Dr. Herbert Benson says that work fulfills two criteria of the method of mindfulness: “The repetition of a sound, a word, a prayer or a movement, and the stray thoughts of setting aside to focus on the repetition of the gesture.”
6. Spoil yourself! Eat one (just one!) Candy
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Eating or drinking something sweet has a calming effect on body and mind because it regulates the production of stress hormones, glucocorticoids. A piece of chocolate, a glass of sweet drink can help you very well in this matter.
7. Hang up and turn off your phone
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Laptops are sources of stress, it is absolutely certain. Talking over phone can even increase your blood pressure. Put on some music. Classical music has a real calming effect – it slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and even reduces levels of stress hormones. Any music you like will fill your brain with neurohormones, such as dopamine.
8. Try this trick of “Naam Yoga”
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According to Sharon Melnick, author of Success under Stress (“Succeeding under stress”), applying pressure to the space between the second and third finger joints (the joints at the base of the index finger and middle finger) can help create an instant sense of calmness. “This activates a nerve that relaxes the area near the heart which decreases the restless feeling.
9. Gradually relax your muscles
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Start with your toes and go up gradually: squeeze the foot muscles as much as possible and release them. Step back in squeezing and relax each muscle and finish with your face. It looks stupid, but this method can help reduce anxiety and stress, and is often recommended to patients who suffered from depression or anxiety disorders.