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De-Stressing: Why It’s Important and Top 5 Ways to Do It

Last updated November 15, 2022

Let’s face it; modern-day living isn’t easy. It can be pretty stressful with that endless to-do list and trying to juggle work, social and family life. 

Stress tends to creep into our lives and build up over time unless we actively do something about it. 

In today’s world, de-stressing is one of the most beneficial things we can do for our long-term health. Taking it seriously, especially during tense times of our lives, can boost our overall health and help us avoid illness and disease. 

Before we talk about how we can de-stress in our modern age, let’s look into why we might want to de-stress in the first place. I mean, isn’t it great to always be running around and trying to get as much done as possible? Not quite. 

As we become stressed, it’s the brain that undergoes a few different changes, and in times of high stress, chemicals in the brain begin to increase.

As a result, the adrenal glands release hormones associated with stress. This process can cause effects such as increased heart rate and high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. 

Over time, if not managed correctly, other more severe problems can develop, such as stroke, stomach ulcers and heart disease. Chronic stress can even contribute to cancer. 

Stress is also hard on the nervous system, leading to symptoms like tension headaches and muscle tensing. It can also affect the digestive system causing nausea, heartburn, constipation and acid reflux. 

If you find yourself in a constant state of stress and notice these conditions, it is essential not to ignore these symptoms as they play a large part in overall health. 

How to De-stress in the Modern Age

Luckily there are many easy ways to take action to reduce our stress levels. Just by adding a few of the following tips into your daily routine or after work each day, you’ll be able to de-stress and feel the positive effects of leading a low-stress life. 

1. Meditation

In recent years meditation has gone from being something monks did in faraway lands to a practice that’s beneficial and accessible for most today. 

In short, meditation works to calm the mind and the thoughts and provides a space to examine the inner workings of your mind compassionately. 

There are many different types of meditation practices, from mindfulness to spiritual to mantra meditation. While they all have different core concepts, each can help with de-stressing the mind, slow down thoughts, and train the mind to think more positively. 

2. Avoid stimulants

Stimulants such as caffeine and sugar can wreak havoc on the body and stress levels. Stimulants act to increase energy levels and alertness but only for a short period of time. 

This can actually increase the amount of stress in the body and even contribute to depression. If you’re someone who relies on multiple cups of coffee or sugary snacks to get through the day, this might be something contributing to your higher stress levels.  

3. Exercise

Exercise, without doubt, is one of the best ways to deal with stress, not only in the moment when we feel stressed but also as a way to keep the body healthy and protect it from being weakened by stress. 

Almost all exercise is beneficial for reducing stress, whether it’s a cardiovascular workout or weight-based to build strength. 

Some of the best forms of exercise to de-stress are yoga, which helps bring together the body and mind and Tai Chi and Martial Arts that involve movement and breathing techniques. 

Just about any form of movement that allows you to relax and think about something else for a while can be beneficial to stress relief. 

4. Get enough sleep

As we sleep, we calm and restore the body. Having a regular sleep pattern can improve concentration, regulate mood and above all, reduce stress. 

To make sure you get enough shut-eye, try to power down devices to reduce blue light stimulation before bed, take a warm shower or bath and make yourself a good sleep environment. 

While how much sleep we need varies from person to person, experts recommend 7-9 hours per night for overall health and de-stressing benefits. You might even consider a sleep retreat to kick-start healthy habits.

5. Eat right

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is fundamental to overall health, but did you know that eating the right diet can help you control your cortisol levels? 

Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone,” is something our bodies need balanced levels of to give us energy when we first wake up or between meals. It’s when cortisol levels are too high or low that problems may begin. 

It’s stress that causes cortisol levels to rise to potentially unhealthy levels. Studies show that women, in particular, can balance cortisol levels with the proper diet, particularly a Mediterranean style or plant-based diet that contains whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables. 

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, and while we don’t need to panic about a bit of stress in our lives (which is normal), too much can be unhealthy. 

It might be helpful to look into making some changes to your lifestyle and prioritize time for de-stressing in high-stress periods or if you feel like you might suffer from chronic stress. 

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