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What are your ways to relieve stress? Have you ever analysed if they are good or bad?
Believe me – it’s really important to know if the stress relieving ways you adopt really help you or not.
I wrote a post sometime back on the bad ways to reduce stress, which revealed that not all methods to relieve stress are really good.
Many were really amazed to know the extent some people go to, just to lower their stress levels.
Well, there are many good ways to deal with stress too. Some require you to bring personal changes to cope with them.
While there are others like special stress relief techniques that you can use in specific stressful conditions.
In this post, I’m going to tell you about some rather natural ways to cope with stress that you should adopt in your life.
You can use them anywhere, anytime, and need not worry about their after effects. 🙂
“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” ~ Lee Iacocca
Difference Between Good and Bad Ways To Relieve Stress
Getting relief from stress is not the only concern. You need to adopt only those ways to relieve stress that have no harmful impact on you or others.
The stress relieving methods you use should not be:
Addictive – eg. alcoholism
Weird – eg. trichotrichalmania
Harmful – eg. self-hitting
Risky – eg. sex with strangers
Unhealthy – eg. pornography
Expensive – eg. compulsive spending
And so on.
If a stress coping mechanism has any or all of these qualities, you should know that it’s a bad choice.
While you must be aware of the various good ways of relieving stress like meditation, massage, walking, progressive muscle relaxation, and yoga, here are some really different and effortless means to reduce your stress levels.
“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” ~ Steve Maraboli
What Does Stress Do
Before you proceed any further, you need to know exactly what happens during stress.
In my post >> What Stress Signs Do You Have << I’d written about what stress is and what does it do.
Here is a brief recap to gain an understanding about what you should particularly do to relieve stress.
Stress is a physical response that puts you into a “fight-or-flight” mode. During this process your blood pressure rises, breathing quickens, and muscles tighten.
You feel nervous and have bouts of breathlessness. There’s also release of a stress-producing hormone called cortisol.
Mentally and emotionally you experience fatigue, mood swings, and lack of concentration. Your mind also becomes restless and uncontrolled.
Obviously if you wish to seek relief from stress, you need to consider these signs and symptoms, and take appropriate steps to normalize them.
Good and Natural Ways To Relieve Stress
Your first option should always be to adopt natural and unconventional ways to get rid of stress.
They can be those that don’t conform to any rules, standards, expectations, or the ones that you sometimes ignore as useless.
For example, things like sleeping, resting, and having food at regular intervals.
These might be quite normal activities that you don’t pay much attention to, but they’re instrumental in helping you to cope with stress.
Others are exercising, playing games, sex, and living a healthy lifestyle, etcetera. However, you should be careful not to overindulge in these activities or ways as that can affect you adversely too.
I’m listing a few unconventional ways to relieve stress that make use of your body senses and Earth’s nature.
Ways to Use Your Senses as Stress Relievers
You’ve all got five senses – visual (eyes), auditory (ears), olfactory (nose), taste (tongue), and touch (skin).
You also might know that the mind is called the controller or ruler of these senses.
If your mind is not in control, you’d go rampant in the misuse of these senses, and overindulgence in them might be a cause of your stress.
But you can also use the senses as an antidote and use them as stress relievers. If you control your senses, then you would be able to control your mind!
If you cannot change the stressful conditions, you can change your attitude and reaction towards it.
Here’s how you do that by using your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. These sense organs not only help you relax and minimize stress, but also indirectly carry-out mindful meditation.
Of course, I’d also like you to jot down your views and add them to this list by mentioning them in the comments!
“Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” ~ Hans Selye
If you’re visually-able, then eyes are the window to your world. Whatever you see – affects you.
Whenever there’s stress or tension, you may feel pain or pressure on your eyes. Even if not, you sure can try to release the existing pressure through your eyes.
An expansive view will make you feel relaxed. How do you feel when you climb atop a hill or visit a hill station and look down and view the scenic beauty?
Don’t you feel relaxed and elated?
Similarly, you can even spend some time looking at the wide open sky during the day, or the colorful and mesmerizing sunset or sunrise at other times.
Try gazing at the clouds that form shapes and move in the sky, and keep witnessing the process. Not only do you feel relaxed, but you’re also able to engage your mind.
If you have ever tired to fix your gaze at a far off placed thing and observed your breathing, you’ll notice that you’re in control – this is also a part of meditation.
My favorite time is when I’m one-to-one with nature during my morning walks. It’s a delight to see the birds chirp, puppies playing alongside, and the awesome sunrise and overall view!
Surround yourself with colorful images that soothe and uplift your spirits. Bring nature in and around your house or office, by placing plants and flowers in pots.
Lastly, leave everything to your imagination – just close your eyes and picture the thing or place that makes you feel peaceful and rejuvenating. It always works!
Hear it and heal yourself – one of the best ways to reduce stress.
Music opens your mind, lets it flow with the rhythm, and helps it escape the stressful conditions.
If you love music, then let it become the reins of your mind, so it can be controlled.
Listen to your favorite piece of music and it will soothe your nerves. It’ll help you release the negative emotions and feel relieved.
I do a lot of that though only when I am not working, or else it distracts me. However, it IS a great stress reliever for sure!
If you haven’t got your own audio or don’t like listening to music, then nature has it for you everywhere you look.
You can find natural music in – the sound of waterfall, wind rustling through the trees, waves crashing on the beach, or birds chirping all around you.
Nature’s music has the most soothing and relaxing impact on your mind. In case you live in a place where you can’t access the sound of nature, then listen to its recorded audio media.
Close your eyes, sit comfortably, or preferably lie down and listen to the music. It will take off your mind from the issues that trouble you and stabilize body’s sympathetic nerve activities.
You can even place decorative indoor pieces inside your house that have a small working fountain or waterfall so you can hear the sound of water falling down.
Also, you can have wind chimes or artifacts with artificial chirping birds built into them.
Not to mention that you can even sing yourself a song, or hum your favorite tune. That’s good music for your ears. 🙂
Did you know that smell has the capability to change your moods? It does to quite an extent!
Haven’t you seen the perfume and deodorant ads on TV and how these impress people?
There are even nostalgic smells that bring up memories of the past. Your olfactory sense is closely associated with the part of the brain that deals with emotions and memories.
In fact, it is said that only smell has the ability to reach the part of the brain called the “emotional brain”.
These smells induce the brain to release hormones and neurochemicals that mitigate stress that changes your mood.
You may’ve heard of aromatherapy or fragrance therapy. These use essential oils and fragrances from flowers and plants that are known to have profound physiological and psychological impact on you.
You can use these oils to massage your body, add it in your bath, or to apply it all over your body.
One good way is to use them is as air fresheners, candles, perfumes, and in soaps laden with perfume.
I’ve not used all of these, other than a few perfumes and deodorants, incense sticks and candles too. How about you?
Aromatic oils can not only relax you but they also improve your skin condition, promote better sleep, and treat common health issues like skin inflammations, indigestion, cold and flu.
Some of the popular scents are lavender, peppermint, chamomile, geranium, ylang ylang, and others.
There is actually a way of eating, such that it makes the eating process enjoyable and relaxing.
The secret is to be mindful while eating. Eat slowly, watch and feel every bite, and savor its taste to the last bite.
It is recommended that you chew a single bite at least 20 times before taking the next one. I’ve somehow tried it, but never managed to chew so many times! Do you do that?
Focus on the feel of the food in your mouth, and you’ll be able to enjoy its taste much better on your tongue. Good food will always bring out the good feelings in you.
Do you remember watching food commercials that show people munching their food with their eyes closed, and they look so immersed in eating and tasting the food that it brings a smile to their faces?
It really does happen. Do you wonder why?
Well, eating is a process where you use all your senses. Eating is an activity that can engage your mind, so that it’s diverted from stressful situations so that you feel happy while eating.
Try chewing a sugar-free gum when in stress – you’ve must’ve seen many sportspersons do that. Instead of helping you to concentrate on the stressful situation, you use it to take your mind away from it.
How can I forget to mention the lingering dark chocolates, herbal teas, and your favorite ice creams and all? They are all great ways to relieve stress, aren’t they?
You’re used to the sensory experience of touch ever since you were born.
As a child too, whenever you’re stressed and tensed, you’re hugged and consoled through touch by your parents, family members, and friend’s.
As an adult you can try massage therapy either from a massage therapist or try self massage.
Touch can even include wrapping yourself in a warm blanket or wearing clothes that feel soft against your skin.
You can even hold a comforting object in your hand such as a stuffed animal, your favorite key ring, or a smooth piece of stone that makes you feel good as you roll your fingers over it.
Such special touch stones and even stress balls are available in the market that you can touch or squeeze to relieve stress.
You know that the touch therapy works well when you hold, pat, or touch the pets, either a cat or a dog. Such pets are also used to provide comfort to people in trauma through touch or even otherwise.
My dog is a great stress reliever for me and my family. He might not know it, but he works like a magic charm in our lives. 🙂
There’s a healing power in touch. People are advised to touch themselves when in stress, or even give someone a hug or a kiss.
You might even find people grooming themselves more than often, because grooming is a touch sensory experience that has de-stressing effects. You didn’t know that, did you?
“Give your stress wings and let it fly away.” ~ Terri Guillemets
All senses are wired through the nerves to your brain. They affect, control, and regulate specific parts of the brain that are associated with awareness, behavior, emotions, memories, and so on.
To relieve stress it is important that you choose a sensory experience that can relax and energize you, and that you enjoy so that it makes you feel good.
Eventually, you need to figure out what works for you and what soothes you.
Whatever you choose to do, you need to make efforts to apply mindfulness to it. If you’re not able to rein in the mind, then your exercise is futile as the mind will still be engaged in stressful conditions.
If you’re able to be completely present in the ‘NOW’ and be non-judgmental as well, then it becomes mindful meditation, no matter what activity you’re engaged in.
Once you know and learn how to effectively use sensory experiences as the way for stress relief, you’ll always be clear-headed and in control, and have the confidence to face the challenges.
So, are you ready to use these ways to relieve stress and lead a happier life? 🙂
“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” ~ George F. Burns
Over to You –
Have you ever used any of these sensory experience to relieve stress? Which are the ways to relieve stress that you’d prefer? Share in the comments below.
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