17 Feb How to Destress and Reenergize
In today’s world, it’s easy to get stressed out. As of 2015, the American adult’s average stress levels were a 5.1 on a 10-point scale (and over the last several years, that rating has only increased). It’s easy to understand why it happens—increasingly busy schedules, demands of work and home life, and everything else—but what can we do about it? We’re tackling it from two angles: destressing and reenergizing.
Breathe. There’s a reason why breathing is a central part of yoga and other meditation practices. Think about how you breathe when you’re relaxed. Your breathing is probably slow and steady. When you’re stressed out, your breathing becomes shorter and shallower. Next time you feel stressed, pause and take a few deep breaths. This helps your body relax for a few reasons. For one thing, it makes your body think you’re relaxed because you’re breathing like you’re relaxed. It also sends an extra boost of oxygen to the brain, which helps you be more alert and think more clearly. Finally, it can help lower your blood pressure, which tends to rise when you’re feeling stressed out.
Turn on some tunes. Music that you love helps you destress by releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain, lowering your blood pressure, and slowing your heart rate. If you don’t have headphones handy or can’t listen to music at work, try quietly humming a favorite song to yourself (it still works!).
Visualize. If the present situation is getting too stressful, take yourself on vacation for a few moments. With visualization, you close your eyes and imagine yourself somewhere that’s peaceful and calming. The more vividly you can picture it, the better it works. If you’re picturing yourself on a beach, think of what the air smells like or how the wind feels on your face. If you’re in a meadow, imagine the sun warming you up and how the grass feels under your feet. Even if you’re only able to do it for a few seconds, this can help your body release tension.
Get enough sleep. Sleep is often one of the first things we’re willing to sacrifice when our schedules get too full. In truth, being sleep-deprived won’t make your life any easier. When you don’t get enough sleep, it impairs your ability to focus and process information, so you’re not able to work as efficiently. Plus, being sleep-deprived can negatively affect your mood. If sleep deprivation goes on for too long, it can contribute to serious health issues down the road, like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Get moving. Exercise in all forms works wonders. If you don’t have time to make it to the gym, take a 10-minute walk. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that help counteract the stress hormones in your body. Plus, it can increase blood flow to the brain, lower your blood pressure, and increase your energy levels, as well as lots of other good stuff.
If you have any questions about your health, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Mai Sharaf, by calling 817-617-8650 or by scheduling online at continuumtx.com.