Stress is no stranger in our lives. We all suffer from stress from one degree to another. Unfortunately, negative stress can be devastating to our physical, emotional and mental well-being.
In discussing stress one day with a psychologist, she used a very accurate analogy. She likened stress to water in a bucket. Everyone has a “stress bucket”. Some are very deep, some quite shallow. All of the stressful events and occurrences throughout your day, no matter how important or insignificant, are like drops of water slowly filling the bucket. The key to effective stress management is to empty your bucket frequently throughout the day, so that your bucket never overflows. You need to find ways to “empty your bucket”; (relax and de-stress) on a regular basis.
So, what are some of the ways you can incorporate relaxation and de-stressing into your daily routine?
Some may think that watching TV is relaxing. In reality, the constant noise and rapid image movement of television is actually over-stimulating the brain even more. Playing video games or surfing the Internet are equally stimulating activities. Much more effective alternatives are:
Exercise is one of the best stress-busters there is. A brisk 30 minute walk will do wonders in clearing your mind as well as the physical benefit of releasing endorphins and detoxifying your body of the residual chemicals that stress creates in your body. Walking, jogging, aerobics, swimming and biking are all great ways to burn off excess energy and reduce stress, effectively emptying your stress-bucket.
Meditation is a very effective relaxation technique. It is not necessary to learn any complicated techniques to benefit from meditation. Simply finding a quiet place with a soothing atmosphere, making yourself comfortable, closing your eyes and freeing your mind of all thought is enough to start out with.
Breathing exercises are one of the easiest relaxation methods. You need no special equipment, and you can do it anywhere – in the office, stuck in traffic, walking down the street – anywhere you happen to be. By simply breathing slowly and deeply, in through the nose and out through the mouth, making sure that the air is going deep down into your lungs (your abdomen should extend when inhaling, not your chest) you will begin to feel the relaxation effects quite quickly. There are other breathing techniques that you can use as well, but the long, slow, deep breathing method is a good place to start.