We all have work and family responsibilities we cannot ignore or avoid in our lives. Because of this, stress is often a result and can cause us so much grief both mentally as well as physically. However, many easy things can be done to help alleviate our stress and improve our lives so we can participate in activities that make up happy.
First, let us consider foods that can help to reduce our stress levels. Research shows that the vitamin C present in orange juice can actually lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol. In addition, grapefruit juice, strawberries, or sweet red peppers also help to boost our immune systems. Drinking more water and green tea and less colas is also advised.
Eating small low calorie meals and snacks throughout the day helps to reduce anxiety. Eating such foods as low fat beef, low fat milk, cottage cheese, fruit, almonds, blueberries, tuna, and cornflakes cereal can provide you with vitamin B which is known to help smooth out our moods.
Exercise is another good way to beat stress. It helps our bodies produce endorphins that make us feel good. Exercising in warm weather can boost our moods while a daily brisk walk of about thirty minutes on a cool day can greatly reduce stress levels. Going to a gym to exercise when the stress from work or school becomes overwhelming is another great option.
On the other hand, relaxation strategies may be a great solution for stress. A massage at least twice a month decreases the level of cortical which creates the “fight or flight” response. A massage is more than just a way to pamper ourselves. It increases serotonin, the chemical that helps with sleep, anxiety, and depression and increases dopamine, which provides the body sensations of pleasures and drives stress away before it can build up. A less expensive method is to invest in some lavender or rosemary scents. When we take a deep breath, it instantly puts us in a more relaxed state and also lowers our levels of cortisol. Breathing deeply regularly even if we choose not to use scents will send oxygen surging through our bloodstreams and help us to calm down and beat the stress. Finally, a really fun way to relax is simply to sing—to sing loudly to our hearts’ content. We can turn up the radio and just start singing. Studies show that singing can make us feel happier and feel less stressed and benefit our breathing, hearts, and immune systems.
Cleaning up the clutter in our lives can provide a more relaxing, stress-free environment in which to live. Having too much stuff can make us feel overwhelmed and bogged down and could lead to stress. Living in constantly messy surroundings brings on unwanted anxiety.
Thus, de-clutter to de-stress. We need to start de-cluttering a small space and gradually move to bigger things. Doing everything all at one time could create more stress. While deciding what to do, we can turn on some of our favorite music or a TV show we enjoy.
Then make our “To Do” list. This will make the task easier and also will help us to organize our work better. We must schedule times to start and complete each task on the list.
Following this procedure will help us to feel more in control of our lives. When we feel we are in the drivers’ seats, we are less likely to get tripped up by stress. After our lives are more organized, we will then have more time to engage in the activities that we love—drawing, dancing, singing, gardening, cooking, playing sports, whatever it may be. These activities can be used for self-therapy and chase away our tension.
Pets are known not only to give us unconditional love, but spending time with them is actually great for our health. Research has shown that petting our dog or cat for just a few minutes releases feel-good hormones like serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin in our bodies and also decreases the amount of the damaging stress hormones. This results in lowering our blood pressures, lessoning anxiety, and promoting even better immunity.
Finally and most importantly, we must rethink and change some of the things we may be doing that are creating stress. Maybe we have issues with using the word “NO” when asked to do something we do not have time to do or do not want to do. We must learn to say “NO” and mean it. We must set boundaries and then not let people move them, especially those people who continually push us to see how much they can get from us. Believing that we must please everyone around us drains us of our energy and vitality. In addition to this, we need to banish those self-inflicted rules that say we must be the perfect parents, the perfect spouses, the best employees, or the best students. Being this way will only bring more stress to our doorsteps.
One day a few months ago, my stress was becoming overwhelming and almost out of control. To relax, I decided to sit down and write a poem to express how I was feeling at that time. I found myself laughing at how silly I was feeling and actually started enjoying my day instead of being so stressed and upset. These were my thoughts that stressful day. Enjoy.
By Randi D. Ward
By Randi D. Ward
Stress, stress can create such a mess!
It makes my relax time less and less!
It often makes my back really hurt and ache
And requires much medicine for me to take.
My head begins to throb and makes me feel crazy.
When deep down I just simply want to be lazy,
So I begin to fantasize of sitting on a sandy beach
And enjoying a juicy and delicious Georgia peach.
But even this does not reduce my awful stress,
So I dream of being able to buy a cute hat and dress
Because shopping for fashions can change my stressful thought
And make feel so happy thinking about these things I just bought.
But even this will not always change my crazy, troubled mind
Because doing this only makes me get farther and farther behind
With all of the work and duties that are causing my stressful mood.
It also makes me crave and eat all the wrong kinds of fattening food,
And then I become more stressed thinking about the calories I just ate,
But of course, after I have gorged myself on potato chips, it is much too late,
And many more hours are now required to spend working out at my local gym
Which adds more stress making me feel like I’m dangling helplessly from a tree limb.
As you can see, stress has become a serious problem in my very hectic life.
And at times has caused me too much ridiculous, unnecessary, silly strife.
What is the best solution to learn to relax and to be calm once more?
Trying to figure this out only makes me more stressed and makes me roar,
“HELP ME PLEASE! I CAN BECOME SO STRESSED OUT AND TIRED BEYOND BELIEF.
I DESPERATELY NEED TO FIND SOME PEACE AND QUIET–SOME GENUINE RELIEF!”