When you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, it is important to have activities that will help you to relax. This can help to improve your overall well-being.
The things that help you stay calm and relaxed at home might not be possible when you’re out in the world.
It’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools available so you can find a method that works for your current situation.
Fast-Acting Stress Relief Strategies
Try guided imagery
Guided imagery is a form of relaxation where you focus your imagination on a positive image or scenario.
Guided imagery can be done by listening to a recording of someone walking you through a peaceful scene, or by practicing it on your own once you know how.
Imagining a peaceful scene can help you relax. Close your eyes and think about what you would see, hear, and feel if you were in that place. After a few minutes, open your eyes and come back to the present.
Meditation is a great way to relieve stress in the short term, as well as manage stress in the long term. There are many different forms of meditation, so you can find one that suits you best.
You could create a mantra to say to yourself as you take deep, slow breaths. Alternatively, you could take a few minutes to be mindful and focus on what you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves relaxing all the muscles in your body, group by group. This tension-relieving technique can be performed while sitting or lying down.
You can start practicing by taking a few deep breaths.
To start, practice tightening and relaxing each muscle group, beginning with your forehead and moving down to your toes.
The more you practice, the better you’ll get at recognizing tension and tightness in your muscles. You’ll also be able to relax more easily. Every time you practice, you should feel a sense of relaxation washing over your body.
Focus on breathing
Changing the way you breathe can have a big impact on your stress levels. Breathing techniques can relax your body and mind in a short amount of time.
If you do breathing exercises, it will help reduce your stress, and no one around you will even know you’re doing them. So if you’re feeling stressed in a meeting or sitting in a crowded theater, take a few moments to do some deep breathing.
While there are many different breathing exercises, like karate breathing, a few simple ones include:
- Breathe in through your nose and watch your belly fill with air. Count slowly to three as you inhale. Hold for one second, and then slowly breathe out through your nose as you count to three again.
- Breathe in through your nose and imagine that you’re inhaling peaceful, calm air. Imagine that air spreading throughout your body. As you exhale, imagine that you’re breathing out stress and tension.
Take a walk
Exercise can help relieve stress in just a few minutes. Going for a walk can help you escape your current surroundings and clear your mind. Walking also has the added benefit of being good exercise.
Whether you take a short walk around the office or a long walk in the park, walking is an effective way to rejuvenate your mind and body.
Get a hug from a loved one
Physical touch, like hugging, can be very beneficial in reducing stress levels.
Besides causing contractions during childbirth, oxytocin also reduces blood pressure by reducing the stress hormone norepinephrine. This can create a feeling of relaxation.
If you’re feeling stressed, ask a loved one for a hug. Hugs can help reduce stress, and they’re free and easy to do.
Aromatherapy can be used to relieve stress and tension. It can help you feel more energetic, relaxed, or present in the moment.
Apparently, some smells can actually change brain activity and reduce the amount of stress hormones in the body according to recent studies.
If you enjoy candles, diffusers, or body products, you might want to try using aromatherapy.
It’s never too late to reconnect with your creative side. Whether you used to enjoy artwork as a child or you’ve always been interested in creative hobbies, there are plenty of ways to get back in touch with your artistic side. Doing things like attending art classes, visiting art galleries, or even just practicing at home can help you get back in touch with your creative side.
If you’re looking for a way to relax, you might want to consider coloring in a coloring book. These books have become popular with adults because they can be a great way to relieve stress.
Eat a balanced diet
The temporary fix of emotional eating can actually add to your long-term stress.
Eating refined carbs can cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, which might leave you feeling more stressed and anxious.
A healthy diet can help you fight stress in the long run. Foods such as eggs, avocados and walnuts can help regulate mood and balance energy.
Try stress relief supplements
There are some vitamins and supplements which may help to reduce stress levels. Which vitamins are beneficial for relieving stress? Other supplements that may help relieve stress include:
- Melatonin: This natural hormone can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. Improving sleep can help you feel less stressed.
- Ashwagandha: This adaptogenic herb is thought to help improve the body’s resilience to mental and physical stress.
- L-theanine: This amino acid has been shown to help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality.
- B vitamins: Some research indicates that B vitamins may help lower homocysteine levels, reduce stress, and improve mood.
Make time for leisure activities
Although leisure activities can be a great way to reduce stress, many people feel like they don’t have time for hobbies, games, or anything else fun.
Making time for leisure activities could improve your wellbeing and make you more productive at work.
Hobbies and leisure activities are important for living a happy and fulfilling life. Whether you enjoy gardening or making quilts, hobbies can help you to relax and have fun.
Develop a positive self-talk habit
It is important to be mindful of the way you talk to yourself, as speaking harshly to oneself, self-doubt, and making negative predictions can lead to increased stress levels. For example, thinking “I don’t have time for this,” and “I can’t stand this” creates unnecessary stress.
If you talk to yourself in a positive way, it can help you have a better outlook. If you are optimistic and kind to yourself when you talk, it can help you manage your emotions and take positive action.
Yoga exercises the body, clears the mind, and provides control over breathing, which are all excellent stress relievers.
You will probably see some benefits right away from doing yoga, but if you do it regularly, you will see even more benefits in the long term.
Yoga can provide benefits in many different areas of your life, from physical to psychological to spiritual. To get started practicing yoga, you can take a class, enroll in an online program, or use an app.
Science-Backed Ways to Lose Weight
Although many diets and supplements claim to help you lose weight quickly, most lack scientific evidence. However, there are some strategies that are supported by science and can help with weight management.
- Trying intermittent fasting
IF is an eating pattern that includes regular short-term fasts and consuming meals within a shorter time period during the day.
Intermittent fasting for a period of up to 24 weeks has been shown to lead to weight loss in overweight individuals, according to several studies.
The most common intermittent fasting methods include the following:
- Alternate day fasting (ADF): Fast every other day and eat normally on non-fasting days. The modified version involves eating just 25–30 percent of the body’s energy needs on fasting days.
- The 5:2 Diet: Fast on 2 out of every 7 days. On fasting days eat 500–600 calories.
- The 16/8 method: Fast for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window. For most people, the 8-hour window would be around noon to 8 p.m. A study on this method found that eating during a restricted period resulted in the participants consuming fewer calories and losing weight.
You should eat healthy on days you’re not fasting to avoid overeating.
- Tracking your diet and exercise
The most effective way to lose weight is by being aware of everything you eat and drink each day. The best way to do this is by logging every item you consume in either a journal or an online food tracker.
There were an estimated 3.7 billion health app downloads in 2017, with apps for diet, physical activity, and weight loss being among the most popular. This is due to the fact that tracking physical activity and weight loss progress on the go can be an effective way of managing weight.
Tracking your physical activity and monitoring your food intake and exercise can help you lose weight. A study found that people who consistently tracked their activity level lost more weight than those who didn’t, and a review study found that people who monitored their food intake and exercise more frequently also lost more weight. Even a simple device like a pedometer can be a useful weight-loss tool.
- Eating mindfully
Mindful eating is a practice where people focus on being aware of their intake of food. People who practice mindful eating often times are able to control their weight and develop a healthier relationship with food.
Most people have busy lives and often eat quickly while doing other activities like driving, working, or watching TV. This can lead to people not paying attention to the food they are eating.
Techniques for mindful eating include:
- Sitting down to eat, preferably at a table: Pay attention to the food and enjoy the experience.
- Avoiding distractions while eating: Do not turn on the TV, laptop, or phone.
- Eating slowly: Take time to chew and savor the food. This technique helps with weight loss, as it gives a person’s brain enough time to recognize the signals that they are full, which can help to prevent over-eating.
- Making considered food choices: Choose foods that are full of nourishing nutrients and those that will satisfy for hours rather than minutes.
- Eating protein for breakfast
Protein helps to regulate appetite by affecting hormones that control hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger, is decreased by protein. At the same time, protein increases levels of satiety hormones, such as peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokinin, which signal the body that it is full.
Eating a high protein breakfast has been shown to have lasting hormonal effects for several hours.
A few good ideas for a protein-packed breakfast are eggs, oatmeal with nut or seed butter, quinoa pudding, and chia seed pudding.
- Cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
The Western diet is becoming more and more unhealthy because of the added sugars. These sugars are causing people to become obese, even if they consume them through beverages rather than food.
Refined carbohydrates have been heavily processed and no longer contain fiber or other nutrients. This includes white rice, bread, and pasta.
They are high in glycemic index. These foods are quick to digest and turn into glucose quickly. They have a high glycemic index.
If there is too much glucose in the blood, it will trigger the hormone insulin. insulin will then cause the body to store fat in the adipose tissue. This will lead to weight gain.
Where possible, people should swap processed and sugary foods for more healthful options. Good food swaps include:
- whole-grain rice, bread, and pasta instead of the white versions
- fruit, nuts, and seeds instead of high-sugar snacks
- herb teas and fruit-infused water instead of high-sugar sodas
- smoothies with water or milk instead of fruit juice
- Balancing gut bacteria
Some researchers are investigating the part bacteria in the gut might play in managing weight.
There are around 37 trillion bacteria living in the human gut.
Different types and amounts of bacteria in the gut can lead to different outcomes in terms of energy harvest and fat deposition.
Some foods can increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, including:
- A wide variety of plants: Increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, and grains in the diet will result in an increased fiber uptake and a more diverse set of gut bacteria. People should try to ensure that vegetables and other plant-based foods comprise 75 percent of their meals.
- Fermented foods: These enhance the function of good bacteria while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, and miso all contain good amounts of probiotics, which help to increase good bacteria. Researchers have studied kimchi widely, and study results suggest that it has anti-obesity effects. Similarly, studies have shown that kefir may help to promote weight loss in overweight women.
- Prebiotic foods: These stimulate the growth and activity of some of the good bacteria that aid weight control. Prebiotic fiber occurs in many fruits and vegetables, especially chicory root, artichoke, onion, garlic, asparagus, leeks, banana, and avocado. It is also in grains, such as oats and barley.