Did you know that by itself, stress is neither good nor bad? While most people would probably dream of having a life completely devoid of stress, without it, one may quickly get bored and lack zest for life or even get depressed. Some pressure or tension also helps us develop the emotional responses necessary for surviving and even thriving.
However, like with most extremes, having too much of it can be highly detrimental to your overall health. Today, stress is so commonplace in the workplace, costing the U.S. $300 billion annually in terms of insurance, decreased productivity, and work injuries and illnesses.
At the same time, you also have to deal with stresses in the homefront and in your personal relationships. So, really, pressure is everywhere, and for as long as you live, you will have it in your life one way or another. Therefore, the way out of this dilemma is proper stress management. Here is a lowdown of some of the best unwinding strategies so you can learn how to deal with it and live your life to the fullest.
5 Stress Management Strategies
Here are a few ways to destress with unwinding strategies:
Have you noticed how you seem to have difficulty breathing when you’re tense? That’s because stress can tighten the muscles that help you inhale and exhale, causing your lungs and heart to work harder. At the same time, the resulting changes in your breathing patterns also cause gas imbalances in your body.
Breathing exercises, such as belly breathing and pursed-lip breathing, can be one of the most effective stress management strategies. You can also couple these with breathing techniques, such as 5-5-5 and 4-7-8 (the numbers refer to inhale-hold-exhale counts), which can help stabilize your heart rate and reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your blood.
Your vagus nerve is a cranial nerve from the brain that connects the brainstem to the body. Among its essential functions is maintaining the equilibrium in your nervous system. It’s therefore responsible for managing alertness, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate—in short, everything that enables you to stay calm and relaxed.
The medical community has turned to vagus nerve stimulation to address a variety of illnesses such as anxiety disorders and depression. You can also stimulate the vagus nerve on your own by belly breathing, as well as through laughing, loud gargling with water, loud singing, and immersing your face in cold water. See your doctor for other safe and creative vagus stimulation exercises.
3. “Girl Scout” Attitude
It used to be that being a girl scout was a thing. Whether they remain popular or not, their principles remain relevant today. For instance, the Girl Scout motto “Be prepared” will always come in handy. If you were to look back on a lot of stressful occasions in your life, you may discover that many of them could have been avoided with a little more planning here and there.
4. Self-care routine
Although it may seem like such a selfish act, in reality, self-care can be one of the most thoughtful things you can do for the people in your life. Confused? It works this way: If you’re able to give yourself the necessary TLC, you’re better equipped, mentally, physically, and emotionally to care for your loved ones.
A consistent skincare routine not only allows you to have radiant skin, more refined pores, and a blemish-free complexion—all benefits of oil cleansing—but also reminds you that you are valuable and deserve to be taken care of. This helps you be in a positive frame of mind and increases your desire to uplift others.
5. The Power of Nature
In the Alishan Forest in central Taiwan, there’s a spot where you can just walk underneath some trees, and it’s supposed to extend your life by three minutes. Whether or not that’s true, science has long demonstrated that nature can be a powerful force in reducing stress. Although researchers haven’t pinpointed what it is in our natural environment that calms us, one study shows that 20 minutes surrounded by greenery can significantly drop cortisol levels and bring you to a peaceful state of mind.
Don’t let stress overrun your life. You needn’t go very far or wait too long to start doing something about it. With these five safe and effective ways to unwind, you can keep your stress levels under control to have the happy and meaningful life you’re meant to live.