Ways to reduce Stress

Sometimes stress is unavoidable, but we can always deal with it in better ways. Here is a list of things you can do to try reduce stress in your life.

Enjoy Nice Smells

Aromatherapy is a couple-thousand-year-old way to reduce stress and promote relaxation that also has some modern scientific evidence on its side.

Specifically, research shows that the scent of certain essential oils, like lavender, bergamot, chamomile, and geranium, can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality.

The easiest way to incorporate this into your relaxation routine is to use a diffuser. But candles are great also.

Breathe Deeply

One the most basic, effective tools soldiers have to keep their cool while under fire is controlling their breathing.

Shallow, rapid breaths drawn into the chest area indicate and increases stress, whereas deep breaths involving the diaphragm (“belly breathing” ) reduce stress and increases antioxidant activity.

The key to deep breathing is that you slowly inhale with both your chest and relaxed belly (don’t suck your stomach in ). You want to expand your ribcage and fill the entirety of your lungs with oxygen with each breath.

Dermot Whelan from Today FM encourages a meditation practice called the 16 second meditation. Simply breathe in 4 seconds. Hold it 4 seconds. Breathe out for four seconds and hold the out breath for 4 seconds. I would try that now. If you don’t have time for a 16 second meditation you need to schedule a 2 hour relaxation.

Change Your Perception of Stress - Don’t be stressed about stress!

We know that a high amount of stress is associated with impaired health, but there is a twist. Research shows that our perception of stress as harmful is what really gives it teeth. That is, it’s possible that getting overly stressed about stress is what makes it harmful.

Studies show that we can consciously reappraise stressful situations–choose to look at them differently–and thereby deprive them of their destructive power.

A frustrating situation doesn’t have to be an excuse to rip your hair out. Instead, it can be viewed as an opportunity to exercise a virtue like patience or tolerance. Remember that a setback is also an opportunity to learn what doesn’t work. A painful situation can teach you that you’re tougher than you thought. This reappraisal strategy is far from new, by the way. Marcus Aurelius had it right a couple thousand years ago with his Meditations, which you need to read if you haven’t already. As my wife Ger says, this to shall pass is a great line to remember when stressed.

Here’s how Kelly McGonigal, Stanford psychologist and author of several fantastic books, explains it: Some problems can’t be willed away and must be met head on, with action. Buried in debt? Start paying it down. Deadlines looming? Get to work. Neglected spouse? Whisk them away for a weekend.

Don’t let the little things to get to you

Many people get so worked up over every hassle, quibble, and foible that you’d swear they were hopelessly addicted to stress. So their coffee wasn’t made the way they like it or someone cut them off in traffic or whatever else. Ask yourself is it really worth ruining your day? Remember stress and anger is in you. You being angry or stressed at someone else doesn’t change how they feel. It changes how you feel!

Well, you may not be able to control the urge to flip out, but you don’t have to give in to it. You can choose to let certain things go without incident.

Use logic to defuse a stressful situation. The problem with stressors is they bypass our critical filters with ease and just take the reins. Before we know it we’re hyperventilating over something most likely not to happen or with relatively benign consequences.

Before you allow something to stress you out, stop for a moment ask yourself its power and likelihood to negatively impact your life justifies the response. Oftentimes that alone will be enough to take the edge off the situation. Very difficult to do but Anthony DeMello had a line, What would happen if I let my feelings of stress, anger etc. go?

Don’t tell yourself you’re so stressed

Don’t underestimate your power to psyche yourself up or out. Say you’re stressed and you can be sure you’ll feel that way. You’ve just given up control of your emotions and often your actions. Tell yourself you are in a state of stress and see if it helps. Don’t judge yourself for feeling stressed just accept that is how you are feeling at the moment and try to continue. Everything passes eventually.


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