It may start out as a mental issue, but when left unchecked or resolved, stress can lead to serious physical ailments.
1. Infuse more laughter to your day
Researchers found that merely anticipating a laugh can ‘jolt’ healthy changes in the body which helps to reduce levels of cortisol. High levels of these stress hormones in the body have been linked to major diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
I adore funny sitcoms or stand-up comedy shows – they’re entertaining and, most importantly, they add more laughter to my day.
I have a tendency to get bored very easily so when I am faced with a mundane task, it would easily bring out the stress in me. Fortunately, as I usually work from home, when I’m doing menial work-related tasks that don't require too much brain power/creativity, I would often have one of my favorite TV shows on (e.g: Friends, Modern Family) in the background. It keeps me entertained, motivated and, as a result, keeps stress at bay.
On days where I’m working at the office or in a group setting, I would set aside 5-10 minutes to watch a few funny video clips on YouTube during my lunch hour. It ranges from clips of hilarious scenes from my favorite comedies to adorable cat videos (which everyone simply can’t resist!).
Alternatively, you can designate one night a week as a ‘comedy night’. Watch a funny tv show or movie after a full day at work as a way to wind down. It won’t be long till you feel the stress melt away.
2. Meditate daily
The wonderful thing about meditation is that it requires no tool and doesn’t cost a cent. It’s a practical tool that you can take with you wherever you go. That said, in order to fully reap the benefits, I definitely recommend practicing daily – preferably in a quiet space within your home every morning as it will help your mind, body, and soul to ‘prepare’ for the day ahead!
3. Change the way you stress eat
Many of us – myself included – tend to nosh on junk food such as potato chips and/or chocolate bars when we find ourselves under pressure or feeling overwhelmed. What we all already know but may refuse to admit is that this ‘reckless’ stress eating causes more harm than good (and not to mention adds inches to our waistlines).
So, the next time you’re tempted to ravage the fridge for a pint of ice cream after a tough day, why not reach for a bowl of berries instead? They will satisfy your craving for sweets and are packed with vitamin C, which has been proven to reduce the body’s level of cortisol.
Looking for other healthy alternatives to your favorite snacks? Check out this great list of delicious natural treats.
4. Take a staycation
Whenever possible, take a (personal) day off or, if that is not possible, set aside a couple of hours during the weekend and dedicate it to only YOU. Go for a run by the beach, try a hot yoga class, or catch up with old friends. Whatever you do, be sure to do the things that give you joy.
Often times, stress occurs when we neglect our own needs in order to cater to everyone else's’ needs. However, it’s crucial to take the time to take care of yourself to avoid burnout or feeling overwhelmed. Setting aside regular ‘me time’ enables you to tend to your own needs so you continue to bring out the best version of yourself to the world.
5. Show up early
One thing that never fails to send me into a tailspin is the anxiety of being late. So, to minimize this frustration from happening, I always make a point to show up five minutes early to any scheduled appointment/meeting.
More often than not, being punctual is definitely something we have control over. Train yourself to take account of anything that may cause a delay (traffic etc.) by giving yourself more time to get to your destination than you anticipate. Doing this has definitely helped me to dodge a lot of unnecessary stress!
Reduce your stress levels on a daily basis by becoming more mindful. Learn how you can cultivate mindfulness by going on a mindfulness meditation retreat!