Sunday, December 11, 2016
Stress management is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Of course with busy lifestyles, including careers and social commitments, it can be difficult to combat stress and find a moment for relief.
If you are in need of some stress reduction, here are some activities and practices you can try to relieve yourself of stress:
Meditation is a technique that many have practised for years. Today most people use it as a method to de-stress, with the aim of it being to create a relaxed state of mind. Meditation has many benefits with the ultimate goal being to improve overall physical and emotional well-being. It can enable a person to learn and develop skills that will assist in managing stressful situations, reducing negative emotions and increase self awareness. Some use meditation as an additional form of therapy for illnesses such as asthma, cancer, depression, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, depression and chronic pain.
There are several types of meditation, and while all have the same goal in mind, different relaxation techniques may suit certain people more. Some types of meditation include: Guided medidation which focusses on imagery and visualisation; Mantra meditation in which you learn to relax and calm through a specific phrase or 'mantra'; Mindfulness meditation which encourages increased awareness and focusing on the present moment.
Yoga is an additional form of meditation that is commonly used to improve fitness and mental well-being. Yoga generally consists of practicing different movements and postures to improve strength and flexibility, whilst it also focuses on breathing techniques to calm the mind. Most people find the combination of mind and body practice to be beneficial, with some suggesting that it can help to reduce stress, and ultimately lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Others find it to be beneficial in controlling and reducing stress and anxiety due to the combination of breathing exercises and meditation.
Physical activity and exercise can be a good tool when learning to reduce and manage stress. Even light exercise can be helpful to use as a coping technique. Low to moderate intensity activities such as walking, running and yoga have been known to help with stress management. With stress affecting the brain, it's understandable that for your mind to feel better, your body needs to be in good health also.
Exercise produces endorphins (natural painkillers in the brain) which can help to improve sleep and reduce fatigue - factors which can contribute to an elevated feeling of stress.
A healthy diet can also help when combating stress, with research suggesting that healthier food options can help to relieve tension, stabilise blood sugar and ultimately leave you feeling better and less stressed. So next time you feel like reaching for sugar rich junk foods, opt for alternatives like blueberries, pistachios or dark chocolate.
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