Ever feel like tearing someone limb from limb or so upset from frustration that you are about to wither away from the last drop of water drained from your body of all the tears you just shed. Ok, well maybe these are slight exaggerations but even the slightest dilemma such as a time crunch or sitting in traffic can have adverse effects on your body called stress. Many many years ago before stress was common knowledge we had no idea the harm it could reap on our bodies. Today we all know that stress can affect our blood pressure, health, mood and the condition of our hair, skin and nails and simply preaching to keep stress at bay is so much easier said than done. Here are 12 Stress Relievers to keep stress where it belongs…out of your radar!
Besides the obvious of exhaustion that not enough sleep can bring, lack of sleep causes puffiness and darkness around the eyes as well as a weakened immune system which inhibits your body from fighting off any aliments including simple infections or bacteria such as pimples.
Limit Alcohol Intake
If you think alcohol relieves stress think again. We all know a glass of wine or two has its benefits but to pick up the bottle and swig to your heart’s content every night is an entirely different matter. Besides an entire host of problems such as liver, kidney & brain damage, skin problems, weight gain, etc, too much alcohol consumption directly affects the way we sleep. You may pass out quickly after too much of the el wino or hardcore stuff but studies have shown that you will not achieve proper “deep” sleep. There are five stages of sleep with REM being the final stage in which dreams occur.
About 20% of your resting time is spent in the REM stage and when you consume too much alcohol this percentage is cut drastically. Of course you may be wondering if you do not achieve deep sleep while intoxicated why is it so difficult to wake someone up from a drunken stupor…well this is because the sleep is deep but not deep enough which means that individual is not receiving the quality deep sleep they would achieve in an sober state, experiencing shallow sleep, mid-night awakenings and vivid dreams which is usually the result of abrupt changes between the stages of sleep. The result is from the alcohol inhibiting the brain to function normally so you may sleep more than 8 hours but the quality will be so low you may as well took a quick nap. Not enough sleep especially if it becomes habit can severely affect our stress hormones and in return our health.
Always late, pushing deadlines to the last minute, the expression “The early bird gets the worm” is just that, a group of words that has never been referred to you? Well procrastination can add unnecessary stress into your life. Juggling how to time manage more efficiently or learning to just say “NO” can bring unimaginable relief! Even Superwoman didn’t have the capability of being everywhere at once.
Coffee, Tea, Me? Green Tea
Made from the leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant Green Tea’s limited oxidation process where its leaves are withered then steamed or dry cooked in pans, gives green tea an higher concentrated potency than most, especially attributed to existing antioxidants called catechins that target free radicals that can cause cancer, blood clots and premature aging. Drinking green tea also boosts the immune system which stated previously is a protective shield against stress but among the many benefits of green tea some benefits you may not have heard of its ability to reduce tooth decay, prevents acne and infections, promotes weight loss and fights off allergies. Speaking of allergies I need to up the ante in green tea because my allergies are kicking!!!
Cut the Sugar
Unless you are referring to sugar as kisses then we all know too much sugar is not good for us, besides tooth decay, weakening our immune system and a whole host of other problems, too much sugar directly affects our stress hormones and the way we age. When we eat too much sugar, we go on a sugar high because of the energy boost we get from digesting sugar. But this sugar high is only temporary because our energy level takes a dive or normally referred to as a crash. When this happens, the body releases stress hormones: adrenaline, cortisol and epinephrine to bring the sugar level in our blood back to a stable level. These hormones are responsible for stress and irritability.
Like most things in life, everything in moderation and this most certainly includes caffeine. So limiting your intake of caffeine substances such as coffee, chocolate and tea can drastically affect your stress levels for the better. Caffeine is a chemical which acts as a stimulant and in the moment gives you an extra kick of energy and increases alertness or “fight/flight response causing the adrenal glands to release more stress hormones into our blood stream but the result is short-lived because eventually you crash. Caffeine drains our body’s ability to handle stress. Part of the consequence is the increase of urination where important minerals that help us deal with stress such as magnesium are lost. Also consuming caffeine substances during later hours can affect your quality of sleep which as previously mentioned causes stress.
*Naturally Green Tea has lower caffeine levels but to insure you are not increasing caffeine levels make sure not to use boiling water to brew tea more than 4 minutes. This will only increase caffeine levels instead use simmering water for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
Pump up the Volume
No, this is not referring to the 1980’s Christian Slater and Wynona Ryder movie, but to the soundtrack of your life. Using music as your therapy is a great way to process emotions through a healthy outlet. Try creating playlists for a multitude of moods this can help channel your stress in a more relaxing way and help to deter further stress. So pump up the volume and turn down the stress.
This goes without saying but I am going to say it anyway, a balanced diet gives you energy to spare, enables normal sleeping patterns and boosts your body’s immune system in ways of fighting infections, viruses and bacteria. If you feed your body properly with the nutrients it needs you are likely to handle stressful situations at a more relaxed level.
Disagreements in Relationships: Walk Away or Speak Up
If debating on politics , social matters or anything in between and the discussion is going nowhere but heating up fast sometimes the best conclusion is agree to disagree. Of course there is nothing wrong with a healthy debate but a debate that has you screaming to the high heavens causes the activity of your stress hormones. Now if the other party can’t agree to disagree your other option is to walk away and believe you me it definitely takes a strong individual to push their ego (the other root of all evil) aside and turn the other cheek. This does not mean you cannot continue the discussion at a later time in a calmer environment because healthy communication is key and holding your feelings in can be just as detrimental as a screaming match but if in a heated debate reducing stress on your body in that moment is the ultimate responsibility. What is more important, the last word or your health?
Let’s Talk About Sex
In a healthy, protected relationship (over the age of 18 my lovely UBB high school readers) sex can relieve stress in more ways than one. Besides a great form of exercise, sex causes a rush of endorphins. Endorphin is the meaning of endogenous + morphine, derived from the two, endorphins are small, protein molecules that are produced by cells in your nervous system and various parts of your body. Like all forms of exercise, the release of endorphins during sex can relieve pain, slow the aging process, enhance the immune system and of course reduce stress.
A Prescription of Laughter
As simple as it sounds laughter is a great stress reliever, almost like a mini workout, laughing aides easily in contracting and expanding blood vessels, can raise the level of infection fighting antibodies, boost immune cells, lower blood sugar levels and burn calories. So go ahead and watch your favorite comedy or stay in company that always has you in stitches.
Exercise is a full proof reliever for your body and something simple as breathing exercises, meditation or taking a stroll to change your environment can cause peace and resolution within minutes. Exercise not only strengthens your heart, bones, muscles and energy levels, lowers blood pressure and body fat, all factors that contribute to your levels of stress but reduces the body’s stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline but also stimulates the release of the body’s natural mental/physical pain reliever, endorphins. Also breathing exercises are a great weapon against stress because they can conveniently exercised anywhere at any time.
View here –> Kabalarians.com for a great breathing and relaxation exercise
What are your favorite stress relievers?