Stress is known as the silent killer. Although you might not realize it, stress could be creating both physical and mental changes in your body that may adversely affect your health and well-being. Let’s take a look at some proven techniques for dealing with stress in your day-to-day life and give your body and mind a time out from the pressures of a modern lifestyle.
As obvious as it seems sleep is one of the most important aspects to consider when dealing with stress. Nobody can expect to overcome stress in their life if they are not getting a descent amount of consistent sleep each night. If you find it difficult to sleep then look at what might be causing you to stay awake – ambient lighting, noise, bed comfort level, diet etc. Make sure your room is dark enough for you to sleep. If not cover the windows with dark or thick curtains. Is your room noisy ? If so look to ways to tackle noise – get ear plugs or invest in a good pair of sound cancelling headphones. Is your bed comfortable enough for your needs ? Are you always tossing around in bed at night ? Look at getting a better quality mattress and pillows. Finally avoid eating two hours before bed. If you eat right before sleeping your body will need to digest your meal while you attempt to sleep. This will result in an uncomfortable nights sleep.
Meditation is an excellent way to combat stress however it requires a little discipline. You will need to set aside a little time each day where you can be by yourself and ideally free from noise. Of course there are many great meditation centers you can visit and this might be a good initial step to get the basics down. However, ideally you want to see mediation as a solo practice – something you can do in your time and at your pace. Personally I use many great ebooks and audio CDs containing guided meditations. I can play the CDs while using noise cancelling headphones to get the ultimate mediation session.
I used to laugh at yoga practitioners before I sought it out as a source of stress relief. I always saw yoga-philes as washed out hippies or mung bean munching macro biotic morons. However one session of yoga changed my life forever ! For real ! I will never forget the feeling of ending that first yoga session and feeling on a complete high, without a care in the world. It was like my body had been put through a washing machine and come out feeling all fresh and new. Not only does yoga help to reduce stress it also results in improved sleep, reduces cortisol levels, lowers blood pressure and increases strength and flexibility. Much like meditation, yoga can be as expensive as you like or more or less free depending on your requirements.
Over the years laughter has been shown by a number of research studies to have positive and long-lasting effects on the human body. Stress levels relate to what is known as stress-hormones. These include cortisol and epinephrine and dopamine. Laughter is amazingly good at reducing high levels of stress hormones in the body. It achieves this by increasing the levels of antibodies and thus strengthens your immune system so it can fight off stress hormones when they arrive. Laughter also provides somewhat of a physical workout too. As we laugh the muscles in out shoulders, face and diaphragm expand and contract which helps to relax the muscles and leave your feeling good. How much does laughter cost ? Nothing ! So get together with your mates and tell some stories, read a funny book, see a funny movie. Personally when I’m in need of a good laugh I find Monty Python and Youtube and good remedy
Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do to tackle stress head on. Too many people over look the importance of a balanced diet in their life. As the world becomes busier we all are finding it difficult to take the time to prepare balanced and healthy, nutritional meals. All I can say is you really need to find the time to do it. The benefits far out way to costs of any time lost in front of the TV, playing Xbox or emailing the latest gossip. Making healthy meals for yourself doesn’t have to be that time-consuming anyway. It takes 5 minutes to make a healthy salad. The trick is to have everything on hand, ready to go and use fewer ingredients. A healthy salad doesn’t need to have 10 kinds of vegetables – I use 3 at most and it is still very tasty. Try to eliminate toxic foods such as coffee, saturated fats, processed sugars and alcohol. After two months on a healthy, toxin free diet I felt healthier than I had for 20 years !
So there we have my top 5 ideas for reducing stress. In fact there are way more than five methods I can think such as exercise or listening to relaxing sounds, but these as the main ones that will provide the best amount of immediate results in combating stress. One final note on dealing with stress that I would like to share is be careful when looking towards modern medicine when dealing with stress. I am yet to meet anyone who has overcome stress through the use of modern drugs. In my opinion such drugs, like many others, simply mask the symptoms of stress and do little to improve your immune system. Your goal in dealing with stress is to boost your immune system and reduce the externals factors in your life that are causing you stress. I wish you all luck in your stress battle – it can be defeated – I did it and I’m not the most committed student either so just remember to find a little time each day to apply these techniques and before long you’ll be happier, healthier and stress free