Methods for Reducing Stress - Part 2

1. Spend more time helping others.

Some of the most stressed out people I know are also some of the biggest self-absorbed people you’d ever want to meet. Harsh words, but true. And hell, I should know I’ve been guilty of it myself many times.

Well, if being a good person isn’t motivation enough to get out of your head and help someone else, research shows that people that help their friends and family are, to a degree, immunized against the harmful effects of stress.

2. Avoid Screens Before Bedtime

Getting enough quality sleep is a major part of dealing with stress and preserving your health, and staring at a screen–whether TV, iPad, iPhone, or eReader–is a great way to ruin your sleep hygiene.

Research shows that nighttime light exposure suppresses your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleepiness, which not only makes it harder to fall asleep but also reduces the quality of the sleep you do get.

Melatonin suppression does more than just mess up your sleep, though–it has been shown to impair immunity and increase the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. With consequences as serious as these, we simply can’t afford to make a habit of melatonin suppression. That said, completely eliminating all exposure to light once the sun goes down isn’t exactly feasible (I doubt you’re willing to “go dark” come 5pm in the winter! ). Fortunately, you don’t have to.

First, research shows that light’s melatonin suppressing effects depend on intensity. The more intense the light, the more it suppresses melatonin levels. Thus, a good rule of thumb is to keep light after dark as dim as possible and sleep in complete darkness. Second, research shows that the short-wavelength, “blue” light emitted by devices like televisions, computer screens, and smart phones is particularly effective in suppressing melatonin production. Thus, reducing or eliminating altogether your nighttime exposure to this blue light is an effective way to preserve healthy levels of melatonin production.

How to do this, though? One option is to put your phone on evening or night time mode. This will reduce the blue light. Putting on lamps and not overhead lights is also a great idea.

3. Control Your Technology Addiction

Linked to the last point, but staring at screens at night not only can affect your melatonin, and, it turns out, staring at them too much in general effects your mood. Research shows that the more people use and feel tied to their computers and mobile phones, the more stressed they feel. In fact, overuse of technology has even been associated with things like depression.

Here’s a quick summary of the findings:

· People that used their mobile phones heavily were more likely to complain of sleep disorders and depression.

· People constantly available on their phones were the most likely to experience mental health issues.

· People who regularly use the computer late at night were more likely to experience sleep disorders, stress, and depression.

· Combine both heavy computer and phone use and the associations become stronger.

· Frequent computer use without breaks increases the likelihood of stress, sleep problems, and depression.

· Scientists aren’t clear as to causes, but the association is obvious: the more time you spend with your devices, the worse your mental state will be.

4. Listen to Easy listening or Classical Music

Next time you’re stressed, put on some slow, quiet easy listening or classical music and before long you’ll be nestled in its soothing embrace. Mozart can do more than just chill you out, though. Research shows that classical music sharpens your mind, lowers blood pressure, physical pain and depression and makes you sleep better.

5. Drink Green Tea

A large study conducted with 42,093 Japanese individuals found that regular green tea consumption was associated with lower levels of psychological distress. Scientists believe the

primary way it accomplishes this is the high doses of the amino acid L-theanine and ascorbic acid, which are effective stress busters.

6. Go for a Walk in the Park

When you review the daily routines of many of history’s greatest thinkers and innovators, you’ll quickly notice how many of them valued long walks in nature.

For example, Beethoven spent his afternoons walking in the Vienna Woods and found his best inspiration always came while walking. Tchaikovsky was equally adamant about his twice-a-day walks, which he felt were essential for his health and creativity.

Well, research shows that they were onto something: just 25 minutes of walking in an urban park is enough to reduce frustration and improve mood.

7. Take a Hot Bath

For thousands of years hot baths have been used to ease pain, aid in relaxation, and ward off and treat disease.

In fact the word spa comes from the Latin sanus per aquam–“health through water”–which was an ancient Roman remedy for battle-weary soldiers. Modern medical research has confirmed some of what our ancient ancestors already knew: regular dips in hot water are healthful and restorative. Get even more relaxation from regular baths by adding essential oils!.

How Will You Use These Ways to Relax?

You now have a relaxation tool box at your disposal I hope they help you. All you have to do is put them to good use.

Use strategies like deep breathing and reappraisal to defuse stress situations. Use strategies like taking a walk and drinking tea to maintain your calm throughout the day. And use strategies like hot bathing, classical music, and essential oils to wind down at night and sleep like a baby.

 

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