Virtually any form of physical activity can act as a stress relief. Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve symptoms related to common mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. For starters, physical activity can help improve sleep. And better sleep means better stress management.
Doctors don't know exactly why yet, but people who exercise more tend to have better deep, slow-wave sleep that helps renew the brain and body. Just be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime, which alters some people's sleep. Exercise also seems to help mood. Part of the reason may be that it stimulates the body to release a number of hormones, such as endorphins and endocannabinoids, that help block pain, improve sleep, and sedate you.
Some of them (endocannabinoids) may be responsible for the feeling of euphoria, or “runner's high,” that some people report after long runs. It's a form of exercise, but it can also be a meditation. There are many types of yoga. Those that focus on slow movements, stretching, and deep breathing are best at reducing anxiety and stress.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves relaxing all of the muscles in the body, group by group. To practice, you can start with a few deep breaths. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work problems and help you see things differently. Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and Therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how you can change your mindset to cope with stress in a healthy way.
Walking, strength training, kayaking, hiking, and spinning classes are just a few different examples of ways you can relieve stress. If you find that you're postponing things regularly, staying on top of your to-do list can help avoid related stress. Even high stress from a serious illness, loss of work, death in the family, or a painful life event can be a natural part of life. Following a nutrient-rich diet and limiting ultra-processed foods can provide the body with the nutrients it needs for optimal health and lower the risk of nutrient deficiencies that help regulate stress.
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid postponing things. Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just some of the things that can add more stress to your life. He says that the keys to good stress management are to develop emotional strength, be in control of the situation, have a good social network and adopt a positive perspective. Fortunately, there are several evidence-based strategies that can help you reduce stress and improve your overall psychological well-being.
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an award-winning author, workshop leader, educator and blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships and emotional well-being. So, whether you've had a tough day at work or you're stressed about how much you have to do, these strategies can give you immediate stress relief. Positive contact when hugging, kissing, and having sex can help reduce stress by releasing oxytocin and lowering blood pressure. For example, those who exercise or meditate regularly tend to be less stressed in the face of a difficult challenge.