7 Science-backed Ways to Reduce Stress

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Stress is not always a bad thing—sometimes it can help you achieve positive outcomes in some situations. And some people work best under pressure. Nothing motivates such people like a deadline that approaches fast and furious. No one can avoid stress entirely, though. The good thing is, a little stress occasionally won’t kill you. Long-term stress, however, can lead to serious health issues while worsening existing conditions. Here are the 8 science-backed ways you can try to relieve stress:

  1. Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation, also known as PMR, is not only highly effective but also easy to learn. Many people use this technique to manage stress, insomnia, and even chronic pain. PMR is a kind of a “tense-and-release” relaxation technique. Start by tightening a group of muscles. Then, allow a relaxation phase. At this point, release all the tension in your muscles. Repeat the process until you feel great again. It works, and doctors recommend it.

  1. Play some music

Listen to some calming music. Rock might not work best when it comes to calming you down. But go ahead and play whatever soothes your soul. Studies have shown that by listening to music relieves stress. Music triggers “stress reducers” in your body, lowering your stress. Your favourite music is what you need when you’re getting over a stressful medical procedure.

  1. Find serenity with yoga

Yoga can keep stress at the bay because it promotes relaxation, which is the natural opposite of stress. This practice prepares you for deep meditation that provides various health benefits. Pranayama, a form of yoga that involves deep breathing, can help you decrease your stress right now. Studies show that yoga induces stress resilience, helping you manage stress effectively.

  1. Call a friend

Whenever you’re feeling stressed, do take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle, and they’re especially important when you’re dealing with too much stress. Hearing a reassuring voice, even for a few moments, can help you put everything in perspective. 

  1. Treat yourself and visit a spa

Show yourself some love — get a nice spa treatment. Drive down to the local spa. Scientists find that a massage achieves more than just relieving pain. Maybe that massage could be all you need to reduce your stress at this time.

  1. Take a walk

Instead of sitting in the couch and switching on the TV, take a stroll around the neighbourhood. Walk briskly or jog. As you walk, your brain’s nerve cells are busy trying to relax your senses. One study showed that running mice were better able to handle stress. The Journal of Neural Science believes humans should experience the same effects if they get more active.

  1. Visualise it away

Walk to the bedroom. Or visit some other place that allows you to shut the world out. Go to work on your mind. Will it to relax. How? Think about peaceful thoughts. Imagine yourself sitting by the shores of a calm water body. Or beside a pool. Throw a pebble into the calmness. Watch what happens. Visualize your stressful thoughts leaving your mind the same way ripples roll away.  Scientists would prefer guided visualization, though.

In a nutshell…

While stress is not completely bad, you don’t want too much of it. Long-term stress can be detrimental to your overall health and rob you of your peace. Remember, stress is still manageable. So, whenever you’re feeling that you’re under too much stress and pressure, try out these science-backed ways to reduce stress work.

Samantha LippiatAuthor bio: Samantha Lippiatt is an entrepreneur, healthy lifestyle advocate and co-founder of Australia’s first specialty wellness travel company Health and Fitness Travel. Samantha has an unbridled enthusiasm for all things travel, health and fitness and is committed to providing healthy holidays options that not only enhance but change lives. Samantha’s goal is to bring wellness tourism into mainstream acceptance in Australia and showcase that taking care of yourself can be both a very enjoyable and rewarding experience.

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The Mind Centre was a counselling and meditation centre for several years before morphing into an information centre for people seeking to know more about mind and body health.

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