Stress comes in all forms. People experience positive stress everyday from work, family obligations, and personal goals. However, stress can also have a negative effect. Left unchecked, chronic stress leads to a variety of health problems, some of which are very serious. Sometimes the best stress relief comes in short bursts throughout the day. Just five minutes is all it takes to relieve stress and relax the body. Even if stress returns, the five minute break has lasting effects that will boost health and productivity.
The best stress reduction techniques take a person out of a stressful situation, even if just for a few minutes. The next time anxiety and stress begin to creep in, take a five minute time out. Get up and walk around the house or relax with closed eyes and slow breathing. Deep breathing might not seem that effective, but it has a full-body effect when it comes to relieving stress. It might take 30 seconds or so to settle into the calm that deep breathing provides, so do not give up if the effect is not immediate. Five minutes of slow, deep breathing should be more than enough to create a feeling of peace and calm.
Visualization is a great way to relieve stress. This can be done with deep breathing exercises or on its own. The key is to focus on the visualization instead of the stressful circumstances. Choose an image that creates a feeling of peace. This might be ocean waves, a grassy field, or the sky filled with fluffy clouds. You might also imagine the feeling that will occur once the stressful situation has ended. Many people find that remembering their goals can help them get through any stressful situation.
Some people find that action helps them relieve stress better than relaxation. If falling asleep at night is difficult because of stress, consider making a list of all the things that are bothersome. Sometimes this is a to-do list and other times it includes things that need to be put aside for a few hours. Writing things down makes them concrete, but it also makes it possible to let them go because they will be there when the time comes to face them. If a list does not seem appropriate, take five minutes to journal about things that are causing stress.
Embrace Your Inner Child
Finally, consider a play break. Any time work, studying, or any other situation begin to feel stressful, take a few minutes to be less serious. This can mean checking out a favorite website, playing with children or a pet for a few minutes, or acting silly in another way. Five minutes of crazy dancing is often enough to quell a pending anxiety attack. If a stressful situation is somber and play does not fee appropriate, take a break to get a cup of tea or go for a brief walk. Just five minutes away from stressful situations should be enough to feel better about things.
Emily Ottermann is a natural health author and researcher who raises awareness of yeast overgrowth and its symptoms, causes and treatment options.