In today’s society, even though we have the best technology and the majority of us have the best living conditions that the average person has ever had, we are experiencing an unprecedented level of stress.
Early humans had to worry about being eaten by animals, in more recent times our grandparents and great grandparents lived through world wars, while our biggest stress may seem like we are having a whinge – but that doesn’t change the fact that stress kills.
Before you have that meltdown over the barista getting your coffee order wrong, learn to destress and take time out because by addressing the stress now, it will make you more productive, healthier and probably a better person to be around. Here are five ways to destress now:
Meditation may seem like one of those overly cliché ways to destress, but really, it does work!
While it may be hard at first to switch off that mental chatter, like any skill, with practice, you will improve. That is why they call it a practice.
Turn that phone off, take off that smart watch, take away any distractions, find a place you are comfortable and take some time out to be alone with your thoughts. There are many apps you can download to run a guided meditation, or utilise visualisation to imagine yourself in a calm place; like a beach, a waterfall etc.
Whatever way you decide to do it, meditation is meant to be a place where you sort your thoughts and improve the link between your mind and body.
Focus on your breath and take at least 10 minutes to calm yourself down.
2. Get Moving!
While some people like to slow down when they are stressed, sometimes that stress has your adrenaline pumping, those cortisone levels are through the roof, so the best way to get rid of that energy is often to fight! Not saying go out and find somebody to throw down with but find a way to get moving and channel that energy into something physical.
Whether it is lifting weights, a boxing class, going for a ride or run or even just going for a walk…instead of sitting at your desk with that tension coursing through your veins, get it out!
Not only that, exercise encourages the production of endorphins, so when you finish your work out, you will be a lot happier and in the words of Elle Woods, “happy people don’t just kill their husbands!”
3. Writing it out
A side effect of stress is often a racing mind. Often when our mind is racing, it’s like having a web browser with a million tabs open, one is playing music, one is giving you pop-ups, and you have no idea which one to close first.
This can lead to agitation, but also it can also lead to a disruption of sleep… lack of sleep affects the ability to handle stress, so, therefore, you are creating a vicious cycle of no sleep, stress and all of that can lead you to be too tired and craving sugar… and before you know it, you are sleeping bad, eating bad, not exercising and still stressed. Not a healthy way to live.
Get those thoughts out by journaling. Whether it’s ten minutes before you go to bed, or when you wake up in the morning getting those thoughts on the paper to start the day with a clear mind, getting those thoughts out of your head can help you offload those racing thoughts.
4. Find a Hobby
Whether it is sewing, boxing, photography, writing, dancing, cooking, stamp collecting… a hobby is a great way to destress.
Often by distracting yourself, taking time away from the stresses of life to focus on something that you find fun and fulfilling can be a super effective way to destress.
Take some time out for yourself, do something you love and pour all that anger into scarves or a great meal.
5. Find Your Circle
Yes, sometimes people are the direct cause of a lot of our stress.
There are many people who get on our last nerve; whether it is that boss that sends you an email twenty minutes before clock off or those slow-moving people on the footpath but when you find people who don’t suck, they can be a great way to destress.
Find your clique or people that will listen to you complain, make you laugh and/or will take your mind off the stresses of life. Whether it’s a girls night out, or a catching up with the boys at the end of the workweek, spend time and create a circle of people that add joy into your life.
Some of these tips may work for you, others you might find don’t, but everybody is different.
Meditation to you might be the zen you feel while punching the living daylights out of punching bag.
Journaling to you might be speaking into a microphone and just emptying your thoughts out.
Your circle may just be spending time with your kids.
Whatever way you decide to apply these tips, make sure you take that time for you. A less stressed, happier you is a more productive, healthier, and to be honest, a more likeable you. You deserve to be the best you and live your best life.