Managing Your Stress Levels

Stress, by itself, is not inherently bad. It can work as a motivator- something that stimulates you to get things done. It can give you that much needed push to power through life’s obstacles (like an examination or job interview perhaps) and drive you to your goals.

Manage Stress LevelsBut as the popular saying goes “…too much of something is bad for you.” Too much stress (and the inability to cope with it) can lead to productivity loss, anxiety, depression, and a whole slew of other health problems.

But this doesn’t always have to be the case. Encountering stressful situations in your life is inevitable, however the way you handle these situations is entirely up to you. You don’t have to let stress take hold of your life- you have to exert mastery and control over it.

Here are some easy activities that people do to manage stress:

Keep a Diary or a Journal

Keeping a diary or journal is not only a great cathartic way to record one’s life as it happens, but it can also be very beneficial to one’s physical and mental health. According to research psychologist James Pennebaker of the University of Texas at Austin, journal-writing strengthens immune cells in the body called T-lymphocytes (http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/), which in turn, helps minimize the effect of stressors on a person’s physical health. Researchers also point out that since the left analytical side of the brain is the one primarily occupied during the action of writing, this leaves the right side of the brain- the feeling and intuiting side- free to create and ponder on whatever it wishes.

Get Outside and Exercise

Ever experienced “runner’s high?” This is the feeling of euphoria and happiness that comes after doing a vigorous round of aerobic exercise (usually running, but can be any form of exercise that gets your heart rate up).

What causes runner’s high is the flood of endorphins that the body releases after exercising. Though scientists aren’t exactly sure why this happens- common theory is that it is an evolutionary adaptation that helped our ancestors run faster to escape from predators- these feel-good chemicals actually act as natural painkillers. They temporarily mask muscle pain, uplifts mood, and provides a rush of exhilaration and bliss that can be addicting.

Mental health professionals often recommend exercise as a great way to stave off depression and stress (http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression#1). Even a brisk thirty-minute walk everyday can do wonders for your mental well-being.

Social Media Purge

In this age of 24/7 digital interconnectivity, stress now seems to have more avenues with which to reach you. When you find yourself bummed out by all the emails, messages, and calls that you have to put up with on a daily basis, then consider putting yourself through a brief social media detoxification period. Cut off your internet access for a day or two, eliminate all forms of social media usage, turn your phones off- basically, rid yourself of technology that gives other people round-the-clock access to your thoughts and attention. During this period, you can either catch up on sleep, rest, meditate, socialize or work on other tasks that you’ve previously neglected during your regular work days (e.g. studying, cooking, and writing, etcetera). ​

Try Sauna or Steam Baths

Among steam bath and sauna regulars, stress relief is among the primary reasons why they keep coming back for more. Its health benefits have been known for centuries, and various cultures around the world have touted its detoxifying and healing properties.

The way saunas work with stress reduction is that it encourages the body go into parasympathetic mode, a deeply relaxed and reinvigorating state that makes the body heal faster from injuries. Aside from this, saunas can actually flush out toxins from the body (by sweating it out through the skin), improve circulation, burn calories, and help you sleep better at night.

Meditate

Meditation isn’t as esoteric as most people would think. Even if you’re not a monk or haven’t received training in the meditative arts, you can still do the act of meditation on your own terms. You don’t need any special equipment or training to meditate. Just sit in a quiet, comfortable location (either on a chair or on the floor), free your mind of thoughts, and put your entire focus on your breathing (pay attention to the way you breathe- is it fast or slow, deep or slow?). Just immerse yourself in the present moment.

This post was offered by Sam Socorro from Steam Shower Store, Sam is an expert writer in the health and fitness niche and has been writing and studying topics like this one for over 10 years.

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