We’re all looking for a way to de-stress. With the economy, kids, relationship and career woes, stress is simply a part of life for all of us. Stress relief, however, often seems out of our reach.
When we experience anxiety, our body releases the hormone adrenaline (which increases energy, blood pressure, and heart rate) and cortisol, a complex alarm system that increases the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which of course can lead to weight gain. In our everyday lives, these hormones are not good for our bodies.
But now it’s time for the good news. There are a few simple steps we can all take to de-stress and decompress:
1) Simplify Your Stress Away. When it comes to de-stressing, we can’t underestimate the power of clearing the clutter. That might mean literal clutter: You don’t have to be a feng shui expert to know that cleaning up your physical space (at home and at work) doesn’t just look neater – it affects the way you feel, and makes it easier to take on new tasks.
And you can de-stress by cleaning up metaphorical clutter, too – whether that means simplifying your schedule by saying “no” to some things, or eliminating toxic relationships from your life. We all have the ability to start de-stressing now – we simply have to take the time to do it.
2) Have a BLT. Next time you need a quick de-stresser, try my Breathing Listening Technique. Close your eyes (unless you’re driving – which of course is a whole other source of stress). And take a long, deep inhale on a count of six. Now Hold your breath for six counts and listen to the sounds around you. Try and name them: An air conditioner. A dog barking. A car honking. Then, slowly exhale. Repeat this cycle six times, and you’ll be amazed at the results.
3) Get moving. When we exercise, our brains are bathed in dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that improve mood and actually help us de-stress and relax. I’ve always found that cardio lifts my spirits, resistance training boosts my mood and sense of well-being, and yoga, of course (the ultimate de-stresser) makes me calm and centered.
Remember, we all have stress in our lives. The trick is in how we handle it.
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