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None of us like or enjoy stress. We all experience stress on a daily level, and it is a normal human physiological reaction that occurs to everyone. It is the ‘fight or ‘flight’ response, that you, and I, as humans have developed, since evolution. Some stress is necessary, as it helps keeps us motivate, focused, and positive.

Yet, on the other hand, when stress causes changes or challenges (stressors), our bodies react on physical and mental responses. This is known as stress.

The problem arises when you experience a significant stressful event, or severe or prolonged stress. You may experience many stress-related health conditions ranging from muscle and joint tension, immunity disorders, to chest pain to anxiety.


Here are 3 simple ways to relax and reduce your stress levels:

1. Breathing techniques:

The simplest breathing technique is belly breathing. This technique can reduce your stress levels in just a few breaths away.

  • Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
  • Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
  • Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
  • Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
  • Just notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.

2. Meditation

Meditation has been around for thousands of years. It has been used by many religions as a way to connect to deities and to the Universe.

For a simple meditation, is to find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, and have no electronic devices nearby.

Set a time for meditation of 5 or 10 minutes. Breathe naturally. Notice what is happening in your body. Just be comfortable and relaxed.

Inevitably, your mind will wonder with thoughts such as “What’s for dinner?”, “I have that big project due for work”. And that’s okay. Just focus back on your breath.

To close your meditation, reminder yourself to be kind. Be kind to yourself, and to others.

3. Mindful Movements

Sometimes in order to release stress is to get moving! The simple concept of mindfulness is to be in the present moment — in other words to be in the here are now. Yes, this does involve exercise to get your blood pumping — this could be yoga, tai-chi, walking or another form of physical exercise that relieves your stress.

Not only does this release and relieve your stress levels, but it will also help you to focus on something else for the present moment. It will also calm your mind and depending on the exercise can reduce blood pressure (I.e., yoga) and builds awareness of your physical body. (i.e., Ta- chi and yoga) such as posture, strength and flexibility.

There are many ways to learn how to cope with stress. Here are just a few. Stress is a necessary state that we all will experience from time to time. It is how all of us can help with this in healthy ways that is important.

Nevertheless, stress shouldn’t make you feel a sense of panic, frustration or cause anxiety. If this happens — this is when you should see the advice and assistance a health care professional.

All in all, stress is a healthy factor in life.


References:

Beyond Blue. (2009). Stress. In J. Ashfield, Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family (pp. 167–180). Adelaide: Peacock Publications. Retrieved June 1, 2021

Mindful Communications. (2021, June 1). How to Meditate. Retrieved from Mindful.Org: https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/

University of Michigan — Michigan Medicine. (2021, August 31). Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation. (H. Staff, Editor) Retrieved May 31, 2021, from Health LIbrary: https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2255

Yoga Journal. (2007, August 27). Yoga Journal. Retrieved June 1, 2021, from 38 Ways Yoga Keeps You Healthy: https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/health/womens-health/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit

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