“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.”
– Hans Salve
Experts say constant exposure to stress is bad for your health. While not all stressors are negative, routinely stressing over work, family or other daily demands doesn’t allow the body to return to a non-stressed state. Over time, this constant chemical- and hormone-infused condition can lead to health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, anxiety disorders and more.
So, what do we do about stress? We certainly can’t stop living our lives, that’s for sure. What we can do, however, is take steps to reduce our stress levels as often and as fast as we can. Try the following activities to help reduce your stress levels almost instantly.
- Low glycemic foods. When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for a host of body processes during stressful situations, so it’s important. The problem is that constant high levels of cortisol in the body can lead to obesity, diabetes, digestive problems, heart disease and more. Your favorite low glycemic foods can reduce cortisol. Some studies suggest that chewing gum reduces cortisol levels in the body.
- An Epsom salt bath. Dim the lights, light some candles and lower yourself into a nice, hot bath. Let the warm water relax your tense muscles as you literally feel the stress of the day disappear. For an even more stress-reducing experience, add Epsom salts to the water. You’ll feel like you’re floating, and your skin will absorb the salts, which helps regulate magnesium levels in your body for a better mood.
- Specific scents. Aromatherapy is becoming more and more popular these days, and there’s good reason to pay attention. Your brain reacts to each smell differently, and by purposely infusing your space with specific scents, you can reduce your stress levels immediately. Try scents such as lemon, lavender, cinnamon, vanilla, peppermint, and jasmine to calm your mind and reduce your stress.
- Quiet time with a furry friend. One of the quickest and most fun ways to reduce stress is hanging out with your favorite furry friend. Just the act of stroking its fur quickly relaxes your muscles and lifts your spirits.
- Visualize your happy place. Imagination is a powerful thing and it plays the key role in getting you to your happy place. Simply imagining yourself in a peaceful environment can calm the nerves, especially if you’re feeling anxious about doing something or being somewhere you don’t want to be (an interview or meeting, for example).
If you’ve got the time, try all of these and watch your stress creep out the door and away, where it belongs.
Remember, too, that all stress is not negative. Learning a new skill or meeting new people can be stressful at first, but both may soon become your best friends. Controlling stress is really the answer to better health and more happiness.
“There is no trouble, so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.” – Attributed to Bernard-Paul Heroux
Adapted from the daily blog happier.com
Jeff Bellomo, Esq.