Author: Brady Baker For more visit:

Image by Pexels

Relax, It’s Good for You

Stress and its cousin, anxiety have been with us forever. In fact, stress was an early means of survival. We were hypervigilant of the dangers we faced and, when triggered, our stress hormones actually kept us alive.

We may no longer be chased by wolves, but our bodies still react to perceived stress no matter its source - physical or psychological, real or not.

Stress may have saved us from hungry predators then, but today it is responsible for life-threatening illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and even some cancers as we are learning. Finding ways to relieve our stress is as important for our well-being now as reacting to our stress was then. Here are some tips, courtesy of XCAL Racing.

Easy Ways to Calm Our Stress

Walking is probably the easiest and most accessible means of relieving stress. It can be done as often as needed and wherever you happen to be. Walking outdoors is ideal since you’re combining all the healing powers of nature with the physical act of just moving. Use noise-canceling headphones if you’re walking on busy city streets. And try listening to music you normally wouldn’t, like opera or show tunes, to stimulate other parts of your brain.

Improving your quality of sleep is the next immediate thing you can do to lessen stress and anxiety. Lack of restful sleep can lead to stress, which leads to more interrupted sleep, putting us in a cycle of fatigue and sleep deprivation. A weighted sleep blanket can relieve the anxiety that may be causing your interrupted and fitful sleep. Couple the weighted blanket with lowering the temperature of your bedroom and it can make a big difference in how well you’re able to rest.

Active Ways to Reduce Stress

Volunteering, helping those in need, or aiding causes greater than yourself not only helps to put your focus on a greater good, but the act of giving itself releases your feel-good hormones - endorphins. To take it a step further, beginning your own charitable organization can prolong that psychological benefit well into the long term. Starting your own non-profit isn’t difficult as long as you have the right paperwork and your business has the appropriate aim. To improve your chances of accessing funding and grants, register as a nonprofit corporation.

Self-improvement is self-fulfilling. The more effort you put into improving yourself career-wise or furthering your education, the more satisfied and confident you’ll feel about your future. Thanks to the ease and availability of online classes, it can be possible to earn a degree or learn a skill right from home and at your own pace.

Get your home organized. Living with clutter in your environment causes stress and anxiety. You may not even see it anymore because, after a while, we all tend to tune it out. Like a strong odor, our body just gives up consciously noticing it, but it’s there, making us uneasy. Reducing clutter and cleaning with natural ingredients to make your home look and smell fresh will actually reduce stress and the general feeling of being unwell.

Get a pet. Petting a dog has long been known to immediately lower our blood pressure, reduce our levels of cortisol (the fight-or-flight hormone), and bring us a feeling of contentment and wellbeing. Being a pet owner comes with huge responsibilities too, but the end results do indeed seem to make owning a pet a worthwhile option.

Take time to play

Whether it's a team sport like softball or soccer, or individual sports like biking, swimming, or skiing. Playtime is not only good for you physically, but is emotionally satisfying too. The same can be said for playing board games. The oldies are still the goodies too, like Scrabble and checkers, and even crossword puzzles. They keep your mind occupied with simple thinking tasks, putting stress and anxiety on the brain’s back burner.

Reducing stress is not only a good health benefit, it makes us happier thereby making those close to us happy, too. Care for your emotional health by taking steps like improving your sleep, organizing your home, exercising, and even starting a nonprofit. Investing your time in activities like these can dramatically improve your immediate and long-term wellbeing.

23 views4 comments