7 Ways To Reduce Stress And Enjoy The Moment
Wrinkled foreheads, tension-filled shoulders, aching joints and backs. These are all symptoms of what stress can do to us. Stress comes from so many different areas of life: from relationships, schedules, obligations, duties, jobs, finances, and more. Thus, the opportunity to experience stress on a daily basis is pretty high.
Since we are always running around with information overload, trying to find a calm within the daily storm may be a challenge. We know we should be taking care of ourselves and doing our best to de-stress. However, this can be hard to do and sometimes we forget how to enjoy the moment. We forget how to be present and let a smile shine through when the burdens and responsibilities we have build up. We may feel as though life is knocking us down without a break.
This post is a reminder of 7 simple practices we can easily do during our fast-paced day to smooth out that wrinkle in our brow, relax our neck and shoulders, and stretch our backs and joints so they are strong and sturdy. Here are 7 ways to reduce stress and enjoy the moment.
- Breathe: Yep – that’s right. The simplest action we do automatically just to survive can be a very effective, instantaneous, stress-reducing technique.
Action: Close your eyes. Take 5-10 deep breaths. Inhale each breath for 5 seconds and exhale each breath for 5 seconds through your nose. You will experience instant relaxation and improve your focus to be present in the moment.
- Stretch: Stress causes tension in our bodies. A quick, simple stretch can improve blood circulation and invigorate your body and mind.
Action: Take 15 seconds to stand up and briefly stretch holding your hands over your head snf reaching for the stars while standing on your tippy toes.
- Positive Affirmations: Skip the negative talk. We are constantly bombarded with negative thoughts and feelings especially during times of stress when we think we may not be good enough to do something. By thinking positive thoughts even when you are stressed, you can re-focus and remind yourself of what you are capable of doing.
Action: Write down 5 positive affirmations about yourself. When you are stressed, repeat each positive affirmation to yourself 5 times to remember your worth, value, and strengths.
- Stay Hydrated: As odd as it may sound, all our organs need water to survive. If our body is physically stressed in addition to our minds, reducing stress will be more of a challenge. Research and studies have linked a relationship between water and stress reduction and have suggested that when people are dehydrated, their cortisol, or stress hormones, are increased.
Action: Drink a glass of water to prevent the extra stress of being dehydrated and keep cortisol levels lower.
- Fresh Air: Getting outside or rolling down the window while driving can be a relief. The outside air can encourage us to breathe deeply, clear our heads, and boost our endorphins.
Action: Take a brief walk outside or open a window to get some fresh air and practice your 5-10 deep breaths.
- Take a Break: Research and studies show that taking quick little breaks can help with reducing stress and revitalizing our thoughts and concentration. A break can remind us to stop and smell the roses so we are present in the moment.
Action: This mini break can be a part of your breathing practice, stretching practice, positive affirmation practice, hydration practice, or taking a walk outside.
- Reminders: Forgetting to breathe, stretch, or drink water? Simplify your life and give yourself a reminder so you remember what to do when stressed.
Action: Set an alarm in your phone to remind you whatever it is you need to do to keep up your healthy, stress-reducing habits.
We can control how much we let stress affect us. Yes – life does throw us punches and we have to learn how to block them. We can establish and develop positive habits which include stress-reducing techniques in order to block the stress thrown in our path. This way, we not only have the tools we need to be footloose and fancy free. We also practice using those tools. The less we let stress affect us, the more we can enjoy the moments we have.
What are some of your favorite stress-reducing techniques?
Share with me in the comments below.
Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN
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