How To Deal With Stress
Stress causes a surge of hormones intended to provide you with excess energy and alertness.
But if you experience long-term stress, your body will not be able to function as effectively.
Over time, stress can cause irritability, aggression, and difficulty concentrating or memory loss.
In some cases, it can also lead to depression.
Stress can also lead to physical side effects that can impact your health.
Stress on Your Heart
Stress causes the heart to pump faster and harder as part of the “fight or flight” response.
Over an extended period, this response can start causing chest pains or damage to the arteries that can lead to high blood pressure.
Your risk of heart attack or blood clotting can increase if you don’t manage this.
Stress and the Lungs
The body pumps more oxygen into the bloodstream.
When you are stressed, you can escape the situation if necessary.
You take quick, short breaths rather than normal breathing.
If this goes on for too long, it can cause several problems.
Your headaches can worsen.
It can even influence asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Impacting the Immune System
Because of the issues listed above stress can lead to a lower white blood cell count.
Having a lower white blood cell count makes you more susceptible to disease.
Stressed people, may be more susceptible to developing autoimmune diseases.
Effects on the Face
Hormones, which cause stress, will increase our hearing to help us sense danger.
If this goes on for an extended period, we can become more affected by loud noises.
These hormones dilate the eyes, which can cause the muscles of the eye becoming fatigued.
Both of these issues can lead to headaches or an overstimulation of the thyroid.
The short breaths we take can dry out the mouth, causing bad breath or difficulty swallowing.
Some people also tend to grind their teeth when they are stressed. This grinding can cause dental problems such as cracking teeth if left unchecked.
How To Deal With Stress
Control Your Stress Level
Our lives have more conveniences than ever.
Computers and all manner of appliances to simplify our life.
At the same time, it seems that our lives are more stressed out than ever.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
We can control our stress level through a few simple steps and planning.
This means that we can enjoy our life more and even extend our longevity by preventing heart attacks!
There are many sources that can contribute to our stress.
But we can decide to make our lives more manageable.
And as a result, find more enjoyment in the simple things.
One of the first things we can do is to have a plan in place.
Make a list to help sort out the things that are causing stress; if it is chores, make a list of stuff that you need to do.
Delegate some of the responsibilities.
If it is clutter put aside fifteen minutes every day to organize and eliminate.
With fewer things and responsibilities to overwhelm us, we can become more productive.
Make sure to take the appropriate health steps.
Exercise is a tremendous way to relieve stress.
It will release relaxation hormones and provide you with more energy.
Incorporate healthier eating and deep breathing exercises into your activities as well.
Even eliminating caffeine can be a stress reliever!
Find activities that you enjoy that have altruistic benefits.
Volunteer for a cause you believe in.
You may think it will eat up more time and cause more stress.
But more likely it will give a positive boost to your mood by accomplishing something you love.
There are many things you can do to improve the quality of life and de-stress.
Remember you don’t have to get stressed out about doing them all at once!
Try one or two things and keep adding to the de-stressing steps until you have reached a level of comfort.
Priorities will become clear, and you do more in less time.
12 Powerful Tips That Teach You How To Deal With Stress
1. Relief Stress – Exercise!
More than likely, you’re already aware that exercise is good for your health.
But, exercise has also been proven to provide excellent stress-relief benefits as well.
Many people fail to exercise because they feel too stressed and busy to fit exercise into their day.
Any form of exercise can be instrumental in relieving stress.
Whether you’re athletic and fit, or you’re a bit out of shape, exercise can become an essential part of your plan for stress management.
How Exercise Relieves Stress
Exercising has some concrete benefits that help to relieve stress.
First, when you get physically active, it helps give you a boost in the production of endorphins.
These endorphins make you feel happy after a long jog.
Runners often refer to this as getting a “runners high.”
But, no matter what kind of exercise you engage in, you’ll be sure to give those feel-good endorphins a boost.
Exercise also provides stress relief by helping you to forget that stress in your life, much like meditation does.
When you’re working out, you’ll be focusing on the activity you’re engaged in, which can help you to let that tension go.
After working out, this may help you to feel calm, optimistic and energized.
Exercising also works as a mood booster, helping to reduce anxiety or even symptoms of mild depression.
It also can help you improve your levels of self-confidence.
After exercising, many people sleep better, which also contributes to reducing stress.
Starting Your Stress-Relief Exercise Program
How can you get started with your training program for stress relief?
It’s relatively straightforward.
Here are a few helpful steps you should follow.
– Step #1 – Talk to Your Physician –
If you have any health problems or you are a bit out of shape, it’s a good idea to talk to your physician before you decide to start a new exercise program.
Make sure you’re healthy enough to work out and talk to your doctor about a good program for your individual needs.
– Step #2 – Gradually Build Up Fitness –
Even if you’re not in great shape, you can exercise if your doctor feels it’s okay.
Just remember slowly to build up your fitness levels.
Before you jump into a running program, take the time to walk first.
You can start with moderate exercises and then build up to more vigorous activity over time.
– Step #3 – Choose an Activity You Enjoy –
Many different forms of exercise are available.
Make sure you choose an activity that you enjoy.
If you engage in something you enjoy, it will make working out more effective at reducing your stress.
Do you enjoy being in the water?
Maybe you love riding your bike.
If so, do some biking.
– Step #4 – Make Time for Exercise –
Don’t allow your busy schedule to keep you from getting involved in this excellent form of stress-relief.
If you have to, make yourself appointments to exercise, so you are sure to spend some time getting active.
2. Pamper Yourself
It is a good idea to pamper yourself when you feel stressed.
Go to the salon and get some treatment that you would like to have.
Get a massage if that’s what you like.
You will find these are great stress-busters.
If you are too caught up trying to please and care for everyone else, it can be easy for your needs to get lost in the shuffle.
This can lead to you feeling neglected, adding to your emotional stress.
In a worst-case scenario, you may be neglecting your basic needs like rest or nutrition because you aren’t taking enough time to take care of yourself.
So setting aside time to take care of yourself.
You will feel better about yourself, and you will get rid of much of the stress you are feeling.
Set Aside “You Time”
When you pamper yourself make sure that you let everything else go and enjoy yourself.
Block off some time in your schedule that will not interfere with other plans.
Make it clear to others whether their company will be welcome during your scheduled “me time.”
Also, make sure that anyone, including yourself, knows which topics or activities are off limits during this time.
This can include avoiding discussions about stressful things or leaving your cell phone at home so you cannot be disturbed.
Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To
When you decide to pamper yourself, make a point of picking something that you will enjoy.
Avoid choosing something that will make you worry about your budget, what you look like or other things that typically cause you to feel stressed.
Make a list of stuff that would get you to feel better about yourself like buying a new outfit, making your favorite dinner, going for a walk in a beautiful setting, spending time with friends or just giving yourself a “spa day” in the bathroom.
When you have to go through a stressful period at work or hectic time at home, pick something off the list that you can use as a reward when you get through these things.
You can also create a list of ways to pamper yourself that can be done spontaneously to help yourself unwind after a particularly stressful day.
Read more about How to Reduce, Prevent, and Cope with Stress at the helpguide.org site
3. Playing with a Pet
Experts say pet owners have longer lives and fewer stress symptoms than non-pet owners.
Playing with your pet provides good vibrations – for you and the pet!
It’s a form of social interaction with no pressure to meet anyone’s expectations!
Playing with a Pet
It may seem like adding another responsibility to your busy schedule will only increase your stress, but studies have found that the exact opposite appears to be true when it comes to pets.
Pets have been shown to help people manage their stress more effectively.
Cats and dogs are especially useful for this goal.
Get Unconditional Companionship
People who tend to be stressed may avoid social interactions that make them feel even more stressed or judged.
These types of worries are nonexistent when you spend time with a pet.
Pets are happy to spend time snuggling or playing with their owners without having to maintain a conversation or ask anything in return.
People with social anxiety issues are frequently encouraged to get a pet to help with their ongoing therapy.
Having a pet will allow you to focus your energy on caring for something without much effort.
Focusing your energy on playing with your pet or spending time together can help get your mind off issues that are causing you stress, usually without having to add any additional stresses to your schedule.
Setting a New Routine
Dogs, in particular, are helpful in allowing you to reschedule your routine, so you don’t wind up overworking yourself.
You can tell people you have to be home by a specific time to take your pet out or feed them, giving you a set portion of downtime each day.
You can also spend idle time relaxing with your pet rather than merely sitting and “zoning out.”
This can allow you to focus your energy and thoughts on something positive rather than letting your mind drift toward negative issues that cause you stress.
Studies have shown that spending time in close contact with another living thing can boost your endorphins.
Having a pet that you can sit with or pet will provide this positive effect, allowing you to relax when you are winding down after a long day.
These endorphins can help to combat the hormones that get your body overexcited when you are experiencing a stress reaction so that you can return to an air of calm.
4. Do A Progressive Relaxation Exercise
This exercise will prepare you for meditation.
Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position or a straight-back chair.
Breathe slowly and deeply.
Now starting at your head, tell yourself aloud that you are relaxing.
Repeat this to yourself: “My neck is relaxed.” Then, “The muscles in my shoulders are relaxing” and so on down your body.
Talk slowly, take your time.
Finally, tell yourself your mind is calm and relaxed.
Your whole body is calm.
Your mind is alert and awake.
People who frequently suffer from stress may become so used to the symptoms that it is becoming difficult to identify when a stress reaction is occurring.
People can be walking around with tense muscles or an elevated heart rate and not realize that they are putting excess pressure on these parts of the body.
Those that do notice that their stress is causing the muscles to tense may be looking for a more effective way to treat their sore back, stiff neck or other aches and pains.
Progressive relaxation is a conventional technique that can help you learn to relax muscles that are getting tense, so they do not become sore.
Practicing these techniques means you will not have to worry about taking painkillers to keep your muscles feeling good.
Instead of treating the symptoms, you can address the stress causing the reaction, so you will not have stress-related soreness in the future.
Using This Relaxation Technique
Progressive relaxation is focused on relaxing the entire body by identifying different muscle groups and addressing the tension stored there.
This technique is frequently used to help people who have trouble falling asleep due to the stress they store within their bodies.
As people begin using this method, they will often follow a recording that provides instructions for when to address different muscle groups and how to accompany these with the appropriate breathing techniques to achieve total relaxation.
As people learn the routine, they can start performing progressive relaxation without these instructions.
Some people find that working in a quiet atmosphere makes it easier for them to focus on the sensations in their muscles, promoting more profound relaxation.
To use it, you will identify different groups of muscles that you will tense and then relax.
You will breathe in, tense the muscles, hold the position for a few seconds, and then relax the muscles as you breathe out.
Muscles will be addressed in a specific order, typically starting at the feet and moving upward, to relax the entire body throughout the routine.
You can try different versions of this routine to find the one that works best.
While it often seems that it is easier to “do it yourself,” it is important to keep our control freak at bay to achieve stress-relief.
Whether it comes to parenting, employment or relationships, learning to delegate responsibilities can be a key to de-stressing our lives.
Once we realize that other people are capable of getting jobs done competently, it can save time and energy that now consume us.
Knowing how to delegate responsibilities can help make this managerial change effective and stress-free.
The first thing you will want to do is assess everything that you do.
Make a list of activities that you are solely responsible for, and then decide which things someone else can handle.
Once you have this list, think about who the best person might be to complete the tasks.
Finding the right fit will make it much less stressful since you will know it is being done right.
When delegating activities, make sure to appoint the complete job; giving fragmented jobs leaves you with loose ends.
Make sure that your help delivers a completed product so you can focus on the things you need to do.
When delegating an assignment, make sure that you set clear expectations on what you want to be accomplished.
Clear guidelines upfront will ensure that you can expect concrete results.
This small investment in time will provide stress-relief later as you check in on the progress.
You won’t need to go through and re-do any projects if you have given explicit directions.
Once you have delegated a task, let it go and don’t try to micromanage.
There is more than one way to get a job completed, and while it might not be done exactly how you would do it, appreciate the result.
Although you may have delegated responsibility to another person, relax knowing that while you have help, you can still be available for coaching or questions until the task is completed.
Once you have someone trained on how to handle a new job, your time is freed up to manage things more effectively.
A smooth running company – or family – depends on everyone to pull their weight.
Effective management knows that delegating responsibilities not only helps with stress relief, but it also gives a sense of ownership to others involved.
6. Breath Deep
Individuals interested in stress-relief techniques will find that deep breathing is one of the best methods of reducing stress.
When you learn to breathe correctly, thoroughly expanding your lungs, it provides both physical and mental benefits.
For example, once you begin deep breathing exercise, several things start to happen.
First, your heart rate starts dropping, as does your blood pressure.
Muscles start to relax, and the increase of oxygen to the body helps to ensure that all cells in the body are properly oxygenated.
As you continue to breathe deeply, feelings of anxiety decrease and you begin feeling a sense of control over your physical and emotional self.
Deep breathing is natural for humans.
Look at new babies and notice how they are breathing.
They take deep breaths that raise their stomach with every breath.
However, as you grow older, it’s easy to start breathing shallowly, only using the top area of the lungs instead of the full lungs.
For this reason, relearning how to do deep breathing is important.
While it will take some practice on your part, it’s worth it to experience the stress relief and other benefits that come with this form of breathing.
How do you practice deep breathing? Here are a few guidelines that can help.
First, start by sitting in a comfortable position, making sure that you’re sitting up with your back straight with your shoulders back.
Keeping the upper body is important to ensure air can smoothly flow through to your lungs.
Now that you’re in the right position begin inhaling and exhaling through your nose.
Slowly start by inhaling through the nose, allowing the entire abdomen to expand.
You want to fill your lungs as much as possible.
After inhaling for several seconds, begin to exhale, fully emptying your lungs, at which time your abdomen should contract back into place.
Keep in mind; you should never force the breathing.
The goal is to slowly expand your lungs to full capacity with deep breathing instead of the usual shallow breathing you may be using on a regular basis.
Although it may feel strange when you first begin, soon it will feel normal.
Whenever you feel stressed or anxious, you can start using deep breathing exercises for fast stress-relief.
While it is true that our busy lives propel the need for that cup of coffee, it is much better to decaffeinate when trying to achieve stress-relief.
Found in tea, sodas, chocolate and of course coffee, caffeine gives the body a temporary energy boost that can increase alertness… so why is it better for our body to eliminate caffeine?
While that temporary boost of energy can make us feel energized, caffeine can cause long-term fatigue.
Our bodies become dependent on it, and when there isn’t a therapeutic amount kept in our system, we can begin to drag.
This constant need for caffeine is not a good way to achieve stress relief.
Once our bodies consume caffeine, we experience a diuretic effect.
This means that the body is expelling vital minerals through excess urination – including magnesium (a naturally occurring relaxant).
To keep the necessary minerals in our body, it is essential to decaffeinate to restore balance.
Research has shown that individuals who drink an average of 4-5 cups of coffee everyday, experience a rise in blood pressure by an average of three points, and have a rise of 32% in the stress hormone adrenaline.
Consuming too much caffeine has also been linked to anxiety attacks in some individuals.
It is not only important for stress-relief; you should decaffeinate to protect your health.
Higher blood pressure and stress can lead to heart attacks and other problems.
How do you quit caffeine?
When deciding to decaffeinate your life, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Caffeine is a drug, and once your body quits it will go through withdrawal.
There are two ways to eliminate caffeine.
Cold turkey is one of the hardest ways, but the quickest.
When stopping caffeine all at once, expect it to take about three days to get out of your system.
During this time, you may suffer headaches, exhaustion, and fatigue.
Once you get over the hump, you will find yourself feeling much better!
Weaning yourself off one cup per week, or switching to decaf by mixing coffee, can make the process more bearable.
Over time your body will become less addicted to that artificial energy boost.
Deciding to decaffeinate is one of the most effective ways to achieve stress relief because you are in total control of your caffeine consumption.
You will find you have more energy, sleep better, and won’t have that typical “crash” when you run out of go-go juice.
10 Practical Ways to Handle Stress is another informative article on psychcentral.com.
8. Try Food Rubs!
When stress starts to manifest itself in physical side effects throughout your body, it can make your reaction to these stressors worse.
One of the most common things that happen when you feel stressed is that your muscles can start to feel sore.
This can be the result of physical activities that have made you stressed or the tensing muscles caused by emotional stressors.
The feet are particularly sensitive to feeling stressed.
Because the feet hold up the rest of the body, they will be affected if any of your muscles are being tensed for an extended period because this will throw off your balance.
Rubbing the feet can help you relieve this tension so that the rest of your body will relax and let your stress go.
Performing a Stress Relieving Massage
First, wash the feet with warm water and pat them dry, so you do not have to worry about contaminants.
Then apply a bit of massage oil so that there is no friction on the skin while you perform the various massage techniques.
For a bonus, select massage oils that include aromatherapy agents like lavender or almond to increase their relaxation potential.
Start your massage at the base of the little toe, moving toward the larger toes as you go.
Apply a small amount of pressure beneath the toe, pushing up toward the space between the toes.
Stretching the toes or pulling them in a circular motion can also help relieve stress throughout the foot.
Only pull or apply pressure to the point where you feel comfortable.
Excessively hard massages can wind up causing bruising or increased tension.
As you finish rubbing the toes, move your fingertips and palms down the foot, applying pressure below the ankle on the base of the heel.
Rub the ankle in a clockwise motion to increase circulation.
Push the fingers toward the ball of the foot, putting gentle pressure on the arch as you move back and forth.
As you complete your massage on the feet, you may find that gently squeezing or kneading the calves can improve circulation down to the feet that can help relieve tension.
9. Do A Stress Diary Exercise
One great way to see how much stress you live with is to keep a stress diary.
A stress diary will help you become aware of what is causing your stress so you can learn ways to remove them.
For this exercise, you will need a small notebook or calendar.
Make sure it is small enough to be easily carried because you will need to bring it with you for a week.
A little notebook works well, using one page per day.
Now, every time you feel upset or stressed write it down.
Make sure you note the day and time, where you were and what you were doing at the time.
Then write what the stress or annoyance was.
Lastly, rate your stress on a scale of 1 – 10, with one being the least stressful and ten being the most stressful.
The purpose of this exercise is to find out what causes your stress so you can custom- tailor a plan to eliminate it.
Use a common 10 point scale to determine stress levels.
1. No Stress
2. Little Stress
3. Slightly Stressed
4. Noticed more rapid breathing or sweating
6. Moderate Stress
7. Feeling Stressed, starting to feel upset
8. Anxious or possibly angry
9. Very stressed
10. Extremely stressed
Here is what a sample diary page might look like:
Tuesday, January 12
Daughter is not ready for school on time. Had to help find her shoes and jacket. Now I may be late for work.
Stress Level 7
Co-worker asked for my help. I’ve already got my work to do, but I need to help her.
Stress Level 5
Grocery shopping at lunch, someone in front of me has a price-check. The line is taking forever.
Stress Level 7
I’m working on a large presentation for my boss (which is due today), and I can’t get it done because the phone keeps ringing.
Stress Level 8
Someone took the last of the coffee and didn’t make more. Now I have to do it.
Stress Level 3
I’m not done with the presentation, so I will need to work about an hour late. I can’t get in touch with my husband to pick my daughter up.
Stress Level 5 5
On my way home, traffic is terrible. It’s going to take me an extra ½ hour to get home.
Stress Level 7
Just got home and now found out that I need to make dinner.
Stress Level 8
Just found out the TIVo did not tape my show today. I wanted to see that!
Stress Level 4
I see that I need to do a load of laundry tonight, so husband and daughter will have something to wear tomorrow.
Stress Level 5
You get the idea.
There are many things that will bother you each day.
Once you have them written down for a week, certain patterns will begin to emerge.
You can evaluate your stresses to come up with a list of your top stressors.
Here is what the list of top stressors looks like for the sample diary above.
1. Not being ready for work on time/ late for work
2. Husband did not make dinner when I was late
3. Traffic causing me to be late
Now you can take steps to remove the causes of stress in your life. Some may be out of your control, but if you work to remove the ones you can control, you should see a noticeable difference in your life. Here are ways to eliminate the stresses from the sample diary.
To remove stress number 1, not being ready for work on time or fearing to be late for work, the answer is to wake up earlier, so you have enough time to prepare for work. Leave the house a little bit earlier, also, if you have trouble getting up, adjust your bedtime.
For stress number 2, you need to communicate better with your spouse. Make sure you discuss and plan who will make dinner. Plan out the week’s meals ahead of time so that whoever gets home first can start the meal. Or decide that when one of you will be late, you will get take-out for dinner that night.
Stress number 3, traffic, is out of your control. You can, however, use some coping methods to help relieve the stress that you get. For instance, while in the car, listen to soothing music or a book on CD. Try to avoid thinking about work-related problems.
10. Bath or shower
A warm bath will help your body relax while the peaceful time to yourself will help you achieve a balanced mindset.
Stress often manifests itself in the muscles, causing them to tense.
In the wild, this reaction was intended to make it easier to run or put up a fight when dangers approach.
However, most of the things that stress us today are not risks that pose an immediate threat to our safety.
Instead, people are typically stressed about things that take a toll on them mentally, making this tensing of the muscles less than helpful.
If your muscles remain tight for an extended period, it can make you feel sore.
Tensing the muscles can also make you tired because it takes a lot more effort to use your body.
Finding ways to get these muscles to relax can help your stress fade so you can start feeling better. Taking a hot bath or shower is a great way to help these muscles relax.
Hot water helps to increase blood flow to the muscles, increasing the oxygen levels and causing the muscles to release.
If you find that your muscles have started to ache, you can use a pressurized shower or bathtub with jets to give yourself a warm massage as well.
Adding Mood Elevators
A hot bath is a perfect canvas for aromatherapy agents.
Adding a few scented bath salts or essential oils to the water can help you lift your mood while making your bathroom feel more luxurious.
Try using vanilla to lift your mood or lavender to promote more comfortable sleep and relaxation.
You can also sip chamomile tea while sitting in the bath to help ease tension.
These oils or salts can also help you improve your skin so you can feel pampered and cozy.
Making a bath feel luxurious will give you the environment where you can feel safe.
Tell your family or roommates that you would like privacy so you can stretch out and enjoy yourself without worrying that someone will interrupt.
Consider playing mellow music, reading a good book or adding a few bubbles to the bath to create an atmosphere where you can get your mind off stressful events of the day and focus on you.
11. Take Up A Hobby
Take up a hobby. Find something you like to do, make or collect.
Then spend some time each week working on your hobby.
Hobbies, by their nature, are instant stress reducers.
You may even get involved in clubs or meets with others who enjoy the same activity.
People, who feel unfulfilled, are more likely to feel stressed.
When you are sitting around bored, it is easier to start focusing on things that are negative.
If you have stressful things in your life, your body will constantly produce hormones that give you excess energy to help deal with them.
If you do not provide your body with an outlet for this excess energy, it can build up, causing damage to your heart, lungs, and organs.
A hobby can provide you with a positive environment that will let you release your excess energy, so you will not feel as stressed.
This will also provide you with something you can do that will get your mind off things, so you are not sitting around worrying about the negatives in your life.
Instead, you can feel fulfilled and build up a skill set that you can be proud of.
Choosing a Hobby that Makes You Happy
Many people feel they cannot develop a hobby because they do not have skills to do something crafty or technical.
When you are selecting a hobby to help you relieve stress, you should not focus on these elements.
Instead, make a point of choosing something you have always wanted to try or something that seems interesting.
If you are trying something for the first time, you are not going to be a master without a bit of practice.
Do not let a few initial bumps in the road add to your stress or make you give up the activity.
Take up a new hobby like knitting or crocheting.
Don’t worry about being good at it.
It’s the process that’s beneficial.
Sitting still while performing repetitive movements is calming and stabilizing for many people.
It can be time to collect your thoughts.
Consider trying a few different options before you settle on a hobby to relieve your stress.
Many communities or local gyms and churches have classes for crafting, exercise, dance and other activities that are relatively inexpensive.
Many of these regular classes also have free trials that you can take advantage of if you are trying something for the first time.
This will allow you to get a feel for whether or not you enjoy an activity before you invest a lot of money into supplies or lessons that you might wind up not wanting to use after a few weeks.
Find an outdoor hobby.
Play a sport or start a garden.
Not only will you get some much-needed fresh air, but also you’ll relieve stress while taking your mind off of your problems.
12. Read and Relax
The Last tip in the series “How To Deal with Stress,” but certainly not least, go look for a new book from the local library or bookstore (preferably) and start reading.
You might even enjoy reading one of your favorite books again.
If you would rather listen to the spoken word.
You can get just about any book on CD.
Choose one that is lighthearted enough to relieve your stress.
Not only will it help relax you, but also you’ll have something new to talk about, besides work, when you get home.
There are so many things we have to read throughout the day, reports, signs, the news and the like that the idea of reading as a way to relax may sound strange.
However, reading can be a great way to relieve stress.
Many people like to relax by watching television or performing other activates that allow you to shut your brain off, but it’s very easy to wind up focusing on the things that have caused your stress in the first place.
Choosing activities, that can help keep your mind engaged on something else, can help you unwind without the risk that you will inadvertently make your stress worse.
Studies have shown that getting caught up in a good book can help lower the heart rate, which can, in turn, cause the muscles to relax.
Once the physical side effects of your stress diminish, it is easy to let your mind drift away, letting the negative thoughts that have plagued you throughout the day fade away.
Similar studies have indicated that reading is as much as 68 percent more effective in relieving stress as drinking a warm beverage, listening to music or another similar relaxation methods.
Choosing the Right Reading Material
Selecting a book that contains stressful themes will not allow you to relax and improve your mental state.
You want to find a balance between finding something that is intriguing and something that is easy to read.
Plan to read in a place where you will not be interrupted, so you are not always getting lost in the plot or losing your place.
Also, select reading materials that can keep your interest for at least half an hour at a time.
Anything from a magazine to a fantasy novel can help you relax at the end of the day.
Select something that will allow you to escape into another world, forgetting any aspect of your life that could cause you stress.
If you are new to using reading as a way to relieve your stress, make a point of evaluating your mood after you have finished reading.
If you have found that your choice of literature has not relaxed your mind, try something new the next day.