4 Tips for Instant Stress Relief
Stress is an unavoidable part of our lives. While occasional stress is normal, long-lasting stress may impact our health by increasing our risk for health conditions like high blood pressure, anxiety and depression.
Although we can’t avoid stress altogether, we can lessen its impact by the way we respond to it. The first step is to identify your stressors and recognize how you react to them. Then try one of the following ideas:
1. Simple Actions That Release Tension
Consider a number of easy things you can do in the comfort of your home, on the job or out in the community to manage stress. Activities such as listening to music, sighing deeply or yawning loudly while stretching your arms overhead are effective. These simple techniques help release tension before continuing with the task at hand.
2. Deep Breathing
Another technique is diaphragmatic or deep breathing, which focuses your attention on taking slow deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose, trying to bring the air in deep down toward your belly while keeping your chest motionless. Then exhale the breath through your mouth.
3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that will help you distinguish between tense and relaxed muscles. First, tense your muscles in groups, starting at your head and then moving down to your toes, taking note of how your muscles feel when you purposely tense them followed by their release or relaxation.
Meditation is the practice of intentionally focusing your attention on one thing at a time. Many people use a word or phrase as a point of focus when they meditate. No matter the meditation technique, it is important to be in a comfortable position for the best relaxation response. Try to find a comfortable, quiet and calm location to help you get the most out of meditating.
Know When to Seek Help
If the amount of stress in your life is overwhelming, know that you're not alone - and don't hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available to support you. Reach out to your health care provider if stress becomes overwhelming and learn about mental health support services available at Cone Health.
About the Author
Lisa Simpson, LRT/CRTS, is a recreational therapist at Inpatient Rehab for Moses Cone Hospital.