We all experience stress; from work to family life, the tasks and tensions of life can build overtime. Of course it’s normal to experience some stress, but too much of anything is never good, and there’s research showing that too much stress can affect not only your mental health but also your physical health.
How does stress affect the body?
As your body experiences stress, your adrenal glands release cortisol, known as the ‘stress hormone,’ which in turn increases your heart rate and blood pressure. So, when stressors are constantly lingering, your body is physically affected leading to increased risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and more.
So what are some ways I can relieve stress?
We all want to experience a happy and healthy life. If you are going through a particularly stressful time, here are some things you can do to release that pent up tension.
Don’t let anything sit on your chest - open up to people who will listen judgement free.
Whether it be family members, friends, or a significant other, voicing the things that are stressing you out can unburden you with your worries. When life feels overwhelming, sometimes the best thing to do is have a cuddle and chat with someone you love.
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable opening up to anyone in your life - and that’s okay too! Here are some helpful over the phone and online chat lines:
- Contact Us | Samaritans
- Get Help - Campaign Against Living Miserably (thecalmzone.net)
- SANEline services - SANE
Listen to music
Music is such a powerful tool when it comes to stress management.
Sometimes having your favourite album on full blast in the car with the sun shining, singing at the top of your voice is a necessity to boost your mood! - Beyonce is definitely up there with artists to make you feel good!
There’s also plenty of anecdotal evidence of music supporting people during hard and stressful times. So plug in your headphones, tune out those intrusive thoughts, play your favourite playlist, and get lost in the music.
Move Your Body
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, chemicals produced by the body that boost mood and decrease depression and anxiety. Studies have also shown that being active every day significantly reduces stress levels and improves mood. It can be as simple as a 30 minute walk, doing some yoga poses, dancing around your room - or even as satisfying as taking a kickboxing lesson to get out those emotions on the bag.
Make Time for You
Our responsibilities and chores have the tendency to take up a lot of space in our minds and life, so it can be freeing to do something just for you that isn’t a necessity but that will make you feel happy. Maybe you want to do something that stimulates your creativity such as drawing or something that is mindless fun like watching a trashy reality tv show. Anything that takes your mind off your stresses and directs your thoughts to something you enjoy doing.
Here are our top 5 Netflix shows that will boost your mood:
- Love is Blind
- The Great British Bake Off
- Is It Cake?
- Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Write down what’s on your mind and be present. Sometimes worries that seem insurmountable end up actually not being that bad when it’s all down in writing. Even writing about what you're grateful for and positive affirmations about where you are in life can help reduce stress and remind you that you will make it through the stress and come out on the other end stronger than ever.
Though stress is a normal part of being human, too much can be a danger to your health. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself and exercise these tips whenever your anxieties and worries are taking up too much space in your life.