Nowadays, almost every other person is battling stress, regardless of age or income levels. Stress is amongst the biggest killers and is linked to many diseases including those related to the heart, immune system, digestive and hormonal functions and many more. The mind-body connection is more and more being acknowledged and a lot of research has gone into figuring how stress affects the functioning of our bodies. Though most times we cannot control the external factors that trigger stress, we surely can control our reaction towards the same. Here are some ways you can combat stress and lead a more fulfilling and happy life.
Live in the moment and practice mindfulness. All great philosophers have advocated this seemingly simple but difficult to follow principle of living in the present and not ruing over the past or fretting about the future which is beyond our control.
Instead of lighting up a ciggie and going for that one peg of your favourite hard drink, hit the stairs or go for a quick walk. It is a better way to channelise the excess nervous energy. In the bargain, you not just charge yourself and also get the necessary exercise.
Do not aim for comfort foods which give you a temporary rush due to refined carbohydrates and sugars, apart from adding those extra kilos. Chomp an apple or a banana instead.
Meditate and look inwards. The path to peace lies inside and not outside. Meditation has been proven to reduce blood pressure and improve the immune system and quell anxiety. It recharges your body and mind.
Do deep breathing as it helps lower cortisol - the hormone which is released in response to stress.
Follow a regular routine to bed and adhere to the same. Practising yog nidra helps relax muscles and slows down the heart rate and aids in getting better sleep. A well rested body harbours a stress free mind.
Do something new. Engaging in a new hobby, learning to play an instrument or even simply changing your hair style helps to pump up the mood and boost one’s happiness quotient. Listen to music; it helps soothe the nerves.
Exercise. Exercising releases endorphins—which helps to sleep better and thus reduces stress.
Take a break. Even a short holiday helps break the chain of stress and diverts the mind.
Hang around with friends and do things together. Spending time with friends increases the sense of belonging. Having friends who exude positivity has an enriching impact.
Take up a social cause and volunteer. People who engage is giving others have an elevated sense of fulfillment and happiness. Like Mahatma Gandhi said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Nurture a pet or take care of a stray animal. Being around animals and nurturing them not just makes us happy but also impacts our health positively and wipes out stress.
A little bit of stress is inevitable and can be managed with these tips. However, if things are getting out of control, it is best to consult a doctor and get the requisite treatment.
Winston Churchill once said “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” Don’t be stressed about being stressed about stressful things which never existed or possibly will never ever exist. Life ultimately is mind over matter. If it is not in your mind, it will not matter.