Stress is a normal part of life. In fact, our bodies are engineered to experience stress and are more than capable of responding to it. However, constant and chronic stress can significantly affect your health and quality of life. In our previous post ‘What is the normal blood pressure by age?’, we talked about how stress causes your blood pressure to spike up, which in turn can inflict great damage to your blood vessels and vital organs. In addition, chronic stress also raises your risk of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorder, and substance abuse issues.
With all that said, it’s important for you to keep stress at bay. In this post, we list down five simple steps that can help you combat stress.
Try Diaphragmatic Breathing
Changing how you breathe and focusing on your breath can immediately lower your stress level. A study published in Frontiers of Psychology reveals that “belly breathing”, or diaphragmatic breathing, can reduce the physiological consequences of stress. To do this, simply sit comfortably with your shoulders, neck, and head relaxed. Then, place one hand below your ribcage and the other on your upper chest. Slowly breathe in through your nose and fill your belly with air. Finally, tighten your stomach muscles as you exhale through pursed lips. Repeat as much as you like or until you feel relief from stress and tension.
Start Your Yoga Journey
Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India about 5,000 years ago. While many attribute yoga to various dynamic poses that can improve one’s physique and flexibility, yoga is actually a lifestyle that involves physical exercise, diet control, meditation, relaxation, breath control, and positive thinking. An article about yoga on Daydreaming in Paradise highlights how yoga can inspire you to explore your spirituality and achieve emotional wellness. Because yoga heals the body and the mind, you can enjoy stillness, surrender to the present, and avoid succumbing to stress. To safely embark on your yoga journey, be sure to talk to a yogi at your local fitness center.
Switch to Tea
Coffee is deeply ingrained in many cultures around the world. In Middle Eastern culture, coffee is greatly involved in various elaborate rituals, as well as daily Arabic life — so much so that the Middle East and Gulf Region has a market of almost 5 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee. However, ingesting too much coffee can cause your mood to soar and plummet, making you lose sleep, experience health consequences, and heighten your stress levels. If you find it hard to stay away from coffee, try switching to tea. Tea also contains caffeine, the natural stimulant found in coffee that gives it its mood-boosting properties. In addition, tea is packed in L-theanine, an antioxidant that has anti-stress properties. The next time you get the urge to grab a cup of coffee, reach for that bag of oolong, mint, or hibiscus tea.
Go for a Walk
A very simple way to relieve stress is by going on a walk. Research shows that moderate exercises such as walking can strengthen your heart, reduce your risk for various health issues, and quickly boost your mood. This is because walking stimulates the brain to release brain chemicals called endorphins, which then promote relaxation. To further elevate the positive benefits of walking, you can add mediation into the mix. By meditating as you walk, you can become more mindful and focus on the present, preventing your worries and anxieties from taking up space in your mind.
By following the steps we’ve listed above, you can cope better with stress and prevent it from causing damage to your life. For more insights and articles that can help you improve your health, be sure to explore our other posts here on Care n Cure.
Exclusively written for carencurepharmacy.com by Julia Law