Given the number of responsibilities each person has at work and at home, it is no wonder reported levels of stress and anxiety are on the rise. Stress can take an extreme toll on both the body and mind. These effects can range from irritability and insomnia to depression and heart disease. There are several easy methods to help reduce stress and prevent the negative effects from taking over.
The art of meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and is frequently used for stress relief. It uses a combination of posture, deep breathing, and positive thoughts to promote inner peace.
During meditation, you focus on becoming at peace by removing all thoughts from your mind. Sit comfortably with your legs crossed, and your right hand placed in your left hand with the palms up and the tips of the thumbs touching. Breathe deeply and concentrate on eliminating the negativity from your mind. As little as a few minutes of meditation per day can help lower stress levels and reduce anxiety.
Aromatherapy is the use of various scents for relaxation. Natural oils are distilled from plants and flowers to produce essential oils, which can be inhaled or applied directly to the skin in small doses. These oils are used to help restore the balance of mind, body, and spirit. Each essential oil has its own properties, and can be used alone or in combination with other oils. Inhaling the fragrances of these oils is the basis of aromatherapy. The oils are placed in a diffuser to allow the full impact of the fragrance to arise and fill the air.
Commonly used oils include lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, and tea tree oil. Lavender has calming properties, while peppermint and lemon are particularly good for increasing mental focus. Eucalyptus provides a natural anti-inflammatory and the scent is light and fresh. Tea tree oil is very versatile and is a great option for combining with other oils.
There are several different massage techniques, each of which provides stress relief by physically treating the body’s tension. Some of the most popular types of massage include Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot stone.
- A Swedish massage includes full-body massage, using different levels of pressure to release tension from the muscles.
- As the name suggests, a deep tissue massage aims to release tightness from the deep tissues, ligaments, and tendons in the body.
- A hot stone massage uses smooth, heated stones to warm tense muscles. The heat allows the masseuse to work more quickly and reach further into the muscles.
The basis of yoga is to relax the body through certain stretches and body positions while focusing the mind. Performing a few poses before bed can help promote more restful sleep, and taking ten minutes a day to engage in your favorite poses can help reduce anxiety. While yoga may sound intimidating to a beginner, there are several easy poses to get started.
Even a small amount of exercise will help reduce stress. All forms of exercise stimulate the body’s production of endorphins. These are neurotransmitters found in the brain that produce positive feelings. An intense workout isn’t needed to get the benefits of exercise. Something as simple as a short walk outside can boost the production of endorphins.
As we can see, each method offers its own benefits and you may need to try more than one to find the one that works the best for your body.