America's Energy Doctor
Stress comes at us from every direction as we go about our daily lives. And, left unchecked, it takes a serious toll. It can run us down, drag down our mood and energy levels, cause chronic aches and pains, depress the immune system and leave us more vulnerable to illness, disrupt sleep and concentration, hurt our performance, interfere with our relationships, and otherwise leave us feeling lousy—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
It’s important to realize that stress builds up in us over time. If we don’t regularly relieve it, it just keeps collecting, doing us ever greater harm. Let it accumulate long enough, and it’s bound to cause some sort of health crisis, be it physical or mental health—or both. We all need to find ways to de-stress that work well for us personally and that fit comfortably into our lives and lifestyles.
Below is a wide variety of options for effectively managing stress on an ongoing basis. Some are free, some require investing some money into your continuing sanity. Try to incorporate as many as possible into your life as often as possible, and remember to mix things up to keep yourself interested.
Healthy Ways to De-Stress
- Exercise every day. Cardiovascular and strength-building exercises are great for busting stress.
- Take up yoga, tai chi, or a similar movement-based practice with a meditative component.
- Go for walks—especially in pleasant natural settings.
- Sip green or herbal tea at night. Chamomile is always a good choice.
- Listen to soothing music.
- Try aromatherapy with scented candles or essential oils. Lavender, jasmine, cinnamon, pine, vanilla, and sandalwood are commonly used for relaxation.
- Take a hot bath. Combine it with either of the two entries above for greater stress relief.
- Do deep breathing exercises. Here are simple instructions for several techniques on WebMD.
- Meditate. Take a look at this New York Times article for some help getting started.
- Use these other relaxation techniques described by the Mayo Clinic.
- Make time regularly for a hobby; take up a new one if necessary.
- Spend some time all alone.
- Spend some time with friends.
- Spend a day at a spa.
- Get a professional massage.
- Laugh. Read funny books, watch funny shows and movies, hang out with your funniest friend, or go see a comedy show.
- Arrange date nights with your spouse or significant other.
- Take a day trip or go on a weekend getaway or longer vacation.
- Surround yourself with live plants at home (and work if possible).
- Get away from all electronic devices for a while.
- Build a little cushioning into your daily schedule so you’re not constantly rushed.
- Stay away from negative people.
- Think positively.