When you’re stressed out, the problem can seem so intractable, it can feel as if there’s nothing for you to do but keep worrying. The problem with this approach to handling life, however, is that it conflates stress with the problems that cause it. They are not the same, however; you can get rid of the stress even when you still have the problem.
Different stress-relief activities work for different people. When you find one that does work for you, you’ll see that it takes no effort at all to relieve stress and that there is no reason to not lower your stress level several times a day.
First, identify unhealthy stress relief and then replace it
Plenty of people go with instant stress relief in the form of junk food, tobacco, alcohol or even aimless time on the phone. The stress relief that you get from these activities is illusory, however. The moment you stop, you are only left with guilt and even more stress as a result.
When you feel the need to reach out for unhealthy stress relief activity, all you need to do is to get up and do a few push-ups or do a couple of minutes on the treadmill. You can even turn on some music and dance. Not only will you come back feeling less stressed, you will feel good about yourself for what you just did.
Try a new stress-busting activity
A number of activities offer instant stress relief — yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, taking your dog for a walk or something like progressive muscle relaxation. It’s important to keep looking until you find something that truly appeals. For instance, many people these days are discovering that coloring books for adults (or an app equivalent like Coloring Book for Me & Mandala) is just the right kind of soothing activity that they need. These are actually quite the rage, and there is scientific evidence backing their use, as well.
In some ways, a coloring book for adults does deliver some of the benefits of engaging in artistic expression. If you’re artistically inclined and have a specific art that you love, however, giving it a go a few minutes several times a day can be a powerful way to clear your head. Art therapy is so powerful, it can help people with addictions and those who suffer from PTSD. If it’s stress that bothers you, there’s no doubt that art can help.
If you are capable of responding to self-hypnosis it’s worth a try. While you do need to train somewhat to use this method correctly, it isn’t hard to make a quick attempt to see what it feels like. The basic idea is to record a narrative that helps you beat stress and to play it in the background while you visualize relaxing thoughts. The narrative could be something that tells you how you’re going to work on your problems, and how relaxed and happy you are at the moment. You can even buy the stress-relief self-hypnosis CDs if you’d like to try it out with minimal effort.
Stress does have real, quantifiable effects on the health and your feelings of well-being. Taking stress-relief seriously, even if only on an experimental basis, can show you what you’re missing.