Health and Wellness Week 1: Relieving Stress
Stress is perhaps the most common wellness issue, but it’s different for everyone. It may be caused by demanding work or school schedules, finances, family life, or long-term health problems. Regardless of cause, the impact is real. Excessive stress may cause headaches, lower energy, sweating, difficulty sleeping, and other significant health issues.
It is important to view stress in your life as something which deserves special attention. If you focus on creating management routines and engaging in self-care, you will begin to notice improvement in your quality of life. Just a few moments everyday can have an impact.
Here are a few tips for managing stress:
Tip #1: Practice Deep Breathing
Deep Breathing can be an effective way to improve emotions and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition, deep breathing can increase oxygen in your system, increase cognitive function, and release tension in your body. Deep breathing is considered the basis for almost all meditation or relaxation techniques. Doing this exercise can be as simple as taking five minutes to breathe deeply in timed intervals while sitting on a chair, with your arms at your side or on your lap. Below, please find an example of a basic breathing exercise used to relax and relieve stress.
- Belly Breathing:
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
- Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in and use it to push all the air out.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
Tip #2: Journaling
One effective way to reduce stress and anxiety is with journaling. It is helpful to write in detail about feelings and thoughts related to stressful events. This exercise allows individuals to clarify their thoughts and feelings, which results in self-awareness. In addition, journaling is also a great problem-solving tool and can improve cognitive functions. A few ways one can journal:
- Gratitude Journal – in this journal, keep a log of daily gratitude. Specifically, list three aspects of your life that you are grateful for. This exercise will help shift the focus from stressful events to positive moments. In addition, reviewing the gratitude entries in the future can help lift your spirits when you are feeling down or have low motivation.
- Personal Planning Journal – something as simple as keeping a journal or calendar of daily tasks can help relieve stress. Writing down the tasks that must be completed can help clear your mind when you feel overwhelmed and stressed. In addition, completing tasks and crossing them off a list can help you feel efficient throughout your day.
- Emotional Release/Outlet – writing out your emotional responses to stressful events is another great coping mechanism. This exercise releases negative energy and can help you refocus your mindset. Specifically, after detailing a negative experience or event, shift your mind to write about a positive moment in the day, no matter how small.
Tip #3: Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment, self-aware, and calmly acknowledging one’s own thoughts and feelings. This exercise is done by sensing without judging but creating a focused mindset in a positive environment. Mindfulness can help individuals feel in more control of their behaviors and thoughts at the present moment. This results in decreasing worrisome thoughts, less anxiety, and reduces stress.
Practice mindfulness by meditating for twenty minutes each day with simple and controlled breathing. During the meditation, focus on the rhythm of your breath and become aware of how your body feels during this process. When complete, do light stretching and go about your day.
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