A Quick Guide on How to De-Stress

Maybe you’re a modern-day human, stuck in traffic, worrying about bills, or thinking about a fight you had with someone important to you. Or perhaps you’re a prehistoric human, trying to sense whether or not there’s a tiger on the other side of the bush waiting to eat you. Either way, your body’s central nervous system is sending you stress signals.

Stress is a perfectly normal reaction to perceived danger or an imminent threat. It’s the body’s way of telling us that we may need to act to keep ourselves safe. However, when your mind responds with an unreasonable amount of stress for the situation or firing out stress signals for extended periods without a break, stress can strain your body and mind.

What Is Stress? 

What is Stress

Starting with the hypothalamus in the brain, the body’s central nervous system will begin to fire off signals throughout the body’s endocrine pathways, alerting us that something is wrong. Stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol will pulse throughout the body, telling your heart to beat faster and sending out increased flows of blood. These physical reactions to stress are commonly known as the “fight or flight” response.

Effects of Stress

Stress should abate when the perceived fear is gone. Stress that doesn’t go away can become chronic, sending out emergency signals to the body even when there’s nothing to react to. This can cause a myriad of problems, putting a strain on the body’s overall health and mental wellness. Some of the symptoms of unhealthy stress are:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Insomnia 
  • Weakened immune system
  • Tense muscles and muscle strain
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Stomachache 
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Low sex drive

De-Stress Definition

If stress can take a toll on your health, what does it mean to de-stress? Learning how to de-stress means taking steps to become calmer and reducing stress responses in the body. Doing an activity that you love, like seeing a close friend, playing a game, or watching a funny video, can be a natural de-stressor, but there are also some other activities you may not have thought of that can help you de-stress.

How to De-Stress Yourself

How To De-Stress

Turn distressed into de-stressed by trying a few of these easy tricks. Incorporating ways to de-stress yourself into your daily routine can help improve your health and increase your quality of life.

Go For a Walk In a Green Space

In a 2015 study, researchers found that people who went on a 90-minute walk in a natural space, as opposed to an urban one, experienced measurably lower prefrontal cortex activity, leading to less rumination and negative thoughts. If you have trouble finding free time, then scientists at Cornell have discovered that spending as little as 10 minutes outside in nature can boost your mood and reduce overall stress and anxiety. And if you live in a city with no way to immerse yourself in green space, listening to nature sounds can help lower inward-directed thoughts that have been associated with stress and depression.

Breathe Deeply

Trying an exercise like alternate nostril breathing, or taking a few deep breaths, can help calm stress signals throughout the body. A 2006 study showed that practicing slow yogic breaths can reduce your heart rate and align your breathing patterns.

    Have a Snack

    Snack

    In moments of stress, having a small amount of a mood-boosting snack can release serotonin, helping balance out the stress hormones circulating in your body. Just be careful not to have too much, since sticking to a healthy diet overall will help you feel better. But in a moment of anxiety, eating something like a small piece of chocolate can help reorient yourself back to a calmer place. If you want the benefits of a snack without the calories, try chewing gum. Gum chewing is associated with up to a 67% increase in attentiveness and decreased stress levels in mild stress situations.

      Play With Your Pet, Or Volunteer With Animals

      Lavishing care on a pet or other animal can help increase your body’s oxytocin, a de-stressing hormone. A 2001 study shows that pet owners faced with stressful situations were able to maintain lower blood pressure levels than those who didn’t own pets. Pet owners may even be more likely to survive a year longer after a heart attack than non-pet owners, according to this study.

        Try a Supplement

        Taking a supplement like Revive CALM can help keep your cortisol, or stress hormone, levels under control. Revive CALM is formulated with a blend of natural vitamins and minerals to help you manage stress, increase productivity, and enhance your mood. Ingredients like magnesium and L-theanine help reduce the physical symptoms of stress, while B-12 and L-taurine boost energy.

          Get Some Sleep

          Get Sleep

          Have you ever been faced with an overwhelming situation and told to sleep on it? It turns out, getting a good night’s sleep, or even just taking a nap, can be a helpful technique to manage stress. A short rest (try 20 to 30 minutes) can help improve your overall mood, make you more alert, and help you reset.

            Try Aromatherapy

            Research shows that smelling different scents can have a profound effect on our moods. Some scents, such as lavender, naturally promote relaxation. Using essential oils like lemon for energy or bergamot for stress relief is one way to harness the power of smell. Using the scent of a loved one, like wearing a partner’s t-shirt, can also reduce cortisol and help you manage stress.

              Takeaway

              While stress is a natural reaction, undergoing intense or prolonged stress can be unhealthy for the body. Learning how to de-stress can help reduce cortisol levels and lower side effects like high blood pressure, muscle cramps, headaches, insomnia, stomachaches, and more. Taking steps to de-stress yourself like spending time outside, sleeping well, or trying a supplement, a snack, or aromatherapy can help you lead a happier, healthier life.

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