Life can be overwhelming. In fact, 70 percent of adults in the U.S. say they feel stress or anxiety on a daily basis. Let’s join together and discover the best stress relief remedies.
Here at TakeLessons, we’re interested in the relationship between learning and stress. While learning can be fun and rewarding, it can also be challenging to fit lessons into a busy schedule, coordinate with teachers, and manage the ups and downs of your learning journey. We also know that experiencing stress and anxiety isn’t good for your body or mind. According to Harvard Health Publishing, stress and anxiety can negatively impact you “physically, emotionally, and psychologically.”
So, is it possible to take lessons and expand your horizons without feeling stress and anxiety? There are natural stress relief remedies and behavior strategies that can help. From why sleep and laughter matter, to why you should consider reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake (we’re sorry!), let’s explore methods for stress and anxiety relief.
13 Small Steps for the Best Stress Relief
You’ve come to the right place for natural stress relief. Here are 14 actionable steps you can take this week to start reducing your stress and maximizing your learning.
1. Find Fun Ways to Exercise
Exercise is one of the most powerful tools we have for reducing stress. Physical fitness lowers your body’s stress hormones, and simultaneously releases endorphins, which are mood-boosting chemicals that do an amazing thing: they act as natural painkillers. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t mean getting an expensive gym membership. Your stress-reducing exercise could be a weekly swing dance class, an indoor rock climbing course, an outdoor nature hike with a friend, or an online yoga video at home. It’s all about finding what works for you.
2. Prioritize Deep Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important factors in a natural stress relief plan. While insufficient sleep can increase stress and anxiety, getting a full night of deep sleep on a regular basis will reduce levels of stress and anxiety. The science is clear, and you can feel the impact. Life is busy, but there are opportunities for improving your sleeping habits. Hit the sack early instead of watching that late night movie, or stay at home to relax instead of going out with friends. If you are struggling with stress, sleep is your new form of self-care.
3. Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
While we often turn to caffeine during a stressful day, or rely on alcohol to soothe anxiety at night, these habits are actually making our symptoms worse in the long run. Alcohol and caffeine are known to increase feelings of anxiety for most people. If you’re looking for the best stress relief, it can be as simple as cutting down on the number of cups of coffee or tea you drink each morning, and being mindful of your alcohol intake at night. Replacing caffeine and alcohol with herbal tea or hot cocoa can significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. This change will also help you sleep better at night.
4. Find Your Unique Learning Style
Learning a new skill is good for you. Following a passion, pursuing an interest, and improving your abilities are known to boost your happiness and your health. But when you’re working on natural stress relief, don’t overbook your calendar beyond what you can handle. It’s important to find a learning strategy that works for your unique lifestyle and goals. Experiment by taking shorter lessons, scheduling lessons every other week, joining live group classes, or taking lessons online instead of in-person. The options are out there. Learn in a way that works with your schedule and needs.
5. Spend Time With Friends & Family
“A good friendship is a wonderful antidepressant,” says psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Make time for the friends in your life. Nurture old friendships, and invest in new ones. If you can’t meet in person, try FaceTime for human connection in the digital age. And never underestimate the power of keeping in touch via text.
6. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.
One of the best stress relief remedies, laughter is, as they say, the best medicine. Laughter relieves stress and tension by relaxing your muscles. In the long-term, laughter has also been found to improve your immune system. Watch a funny movie, spend time with friends who lighten your mood, or turn on a stand-up comedy show instead of listening to the news. Even during high-anxiety days, look for the humor around you.
7. Practice Meditation
Meditation is a mind-body exercise that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Research suggests that meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. And it’s 100 percent free to try today. There really is no reason why you shouldn’t meditate for natural stress relief.
8. Prioritize Physical Contact
Positive physical contact can release oxytocin and lower cortisol, helping to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Simple touching also fosters wellness and relieves stress for couples. If you’re in a relationship, prioritize physical contact and make time for cuddling and being together. Even holding hands has a positive impact on your stress levels. Don’t forget about physical contact with your pets at home, too!
9. Play More Music
Listening to music you love releases tension in the body. Similarly, playing musical instruments has a positive impact on your stress levels. With two ways to participate, music is one of the best remedies for stress and anxiety relief. Suzanne Hanser, chair of the music therapy department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, explains: “Research shows that making music can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, reduce stress, and lessen anxiety and depression.”
10. Breathe Deeply
Mental stress causes your body to go straight into “fight-or-flight” mode, releasing stress hormones, and producing physical symptoms like quicker breathing, a faster heartbeat, and constricted blood vessels. When this happens, deep breathing exercises can help ground you in the present moment and lower stress and anxiety in the mind and body. Check out these breathing exercises and find the right fit for you.
11. Spend Time With Your Pet
Cuddling with your cat or walking your dog might seem like just a regular part of everyday life, but these activities are actually major sources of stress relief. Interacting with those furry friends may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes positive mood. During times of stress and anxiety, give yourself permission to spend a little extra time with the cats and dogs in your life… it’s good for you, and them!
12. Say “No” More Often
It’s easy to accept invitations and take on extra work, especially for natural people pleasing types. And yet, saying “no” to activities, friends, or tasks that don’t bring you joy opens up time for things that do. If you’re feeling stressed out, practice turning down invitations that aren’t making your life better, and create space for the things you love.
13. Unplug from Technology
Excessive screen time has been linked to higher blood pressure in children, and screen time before bed can negatively impact quality of sleep for any age group. Of course, sleep is one of the fundamental tools for natural stress relief. Take notice of the amount of time you (and your family) spend on the computers, tablets, and phones. To reduce stress and anxiety, try to replace some of that screen time with books, games, and music.
Natural Stress Relief for Optimal Learning
According to Harvard Health Publishing: “You can counteract the damaging effects of stress by calling upon your body’s rich potential for self-healing.” Take the simple steps above to have a happier, healthier life, and create a learning journey that is fun, friendly, and most importantly, free of stress and anxiety. What are your favorite remedies for natural stress relief? Share your tips in the comments below!
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