Are you stressed? If you’re like anyone in today’s society then the answer is probably yes. Stress levels have reached an all time high! 90% of visits to health care providers in the US are stress related which is crazy! There are many different types of stress and stress can affect every person differently. It affects every major system in the body. You may think you don’t have any control over this, but I’m here to tell you that you do. There are many stress relief therapies but I’m going to take you through my top 5.
Meditation is a mind-body practice where a person focuses his or her mind on a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Practicing meditation 20-30 minutes per day is known to physiologically change your body. These changes are associated with a greater activity of telomerase which is an enzyme important for the long term health of cells in the body. Meditators actually shift their brain activity to different areas of the cortex. Brain waves in the stress-prone right frontal cortex move to the calmer left frontal cortex, which actually decreases the negative effects of stress. It creates neural pathways that reduce brain noise and increase a sense of well-being.
There are many forms of meditation out there but for someone who is always on the go like myself, I like to use a guided meditation app. There are many free ones out there, but if you don't mind paying then Headspace is an awesome app. For around $8 a year you can get access to a variety of guided meditation packs for anxiety, depression, sleep, productivity, etc.
Headspace website: https://www.headspace.com/
#2 Take a Magnesium Supplement
Magnesium is a mineral essential for nerve and muscle function. Most people who eat a balanced diet get the magnesium they need, but studies have shown that people consume less than they should. When people experience greater stress levels, magnesium decreases at a higher rate so it’s important to add a magnesium supplement to ensure that the mineral is naturally calming your nervous and muscular systems.
I really like the magnesium supplement by Natural Vitality called Natural Calm. It’s basically a powder that dissolves in water, similar to Emergen-C. They also have a Natural Calm bath soak which is pretty amazing if you completely want to relax your body before bedtime.
Natural Vitality products: https://naturalvitality.com/
#3 Go out in nature
Depending on where you live it may be hard to go out in nature or find a green space especially if you live in a major city, but if you have that luxury, studies show that 3-5 minutes exposed to nature can actually result in positive psychological and physiological changes like reductions in blood pressure, headaches, and irritability.
If you do live in a city, I recommend going to a local park or even looking at a calming landscape painting or a digital wallpaper of greenery can reduce stress rather than looking at buildings or rooms.
#4 Dive into art
Art’s ability to enhance health has been known since the beginning of time! Look at the prehistoric art like the cave paintings or carved bones. Art therapy has been shown to improve relaxation and help people become aware of physical and emotional issues. It reduces blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety levels and increases pleasure and relaxation. I love to take out my coloring books and pencils and start working away at a page. I find myself getting lost in the zone and by the end find myself much more calm and relaxed. Even if you don’t have coloring books, doodling on a piece of paper can create the same effect.
#5 Develop a sense of humor
Having a sense of humor can stimulate the immune system. Humor and laughter can have physiological changes in our body like helping antibodies attack infected cells and activate the immune system. I like to put on a funny TV show or watch a funny youtube video or even talk to a friend about funny things that have happened in the past.
So in conclusion, my 5 top stress relievers are to meditate, take a magnesium supplement, go out in nature, dive into art, and develop a sense of humor.
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