It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress. The benefits are strongest. While art therapy is its own field, you can use the benefits of art to express your creative side and drawing skills to reduce stress and get in. Many people associate cleaning more with drudgery than relaxation, but there are several reasons why cleaning can be a great stress reliever.
Stress Could Alleviate
You may experience insomnia an inability to sleep because of discomfort, stress from personal concerns, or side effects from your medications. If you cannot sleep, try these tips:. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Suggestions include getting enough rest and eating sensibly. Eat and drink sensibly. Alcohol and food abuse may seem to reduce stress, but it actually adds to it.
You do not have to meet others' expectations or demands. It's okay to say "No. Stop smoking or other bad habits. Aside from the obvious health risks of cigarettes, nicotine acts as a stimulant and brings on more stress symptoms. Give yourself the gift of dropping unhealthy habits.
Choose non-competitive exercise and set reasonable goals. Aerobic exercise has been shown to release endorphins natural substances that help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude. Study and practice relaxation techniques. Choose from a variety of different techniques. Combine opposites; a time for deep relaxation and a time for aerobic exercise is a sure way to protect your body from the effects of stress. Control what you can and leave behind what you cannot control.
Reduce stressors cause of stress. Many people find that life is filled with too many demands and too little time. For the most part, these demands are ones we have chosen. Effective time-management skills involve asking for help when appropriate, setting priorities, pacing yourself, and taking time out for yourself.
Examine your values and live by them. The more your actions reflect your beliefs, the better you will feel, no matter how busy your life is. Use your values when choosing your activities. Set realistic goals and expectations. Stress comes in many forms and produces many symptoms. Mental symptoms range from worry and irritability to restlessness and insomnia, anger and hostility, or sensations of dread, foreboding, and even panic. Mental stress can also produce physical symptoms.
Muscles are tense, resulting in fidgetiness, taut facial expressions, headaches, or neck and back pain. The mouth is dry, producing unquenchable thirst or perhaps the sensation of a lump in the throat that makes swallowing difficult.
Clenched jaw muscles can produce jaw pain and headaches. The skin can be pale, sweaty, and clammy. Intestinal symptoms range from "butterflies" to heartburn, cramps, or diarrhea. Frequent urination may be a bother. A pounding pulse is common, as is chest tightness.
Rapid breathing is also typical, and may be accompanied by sighing or repetitive coughing. In extreme cases, hyperventilation can lead to tingling of the face and fingers, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, and even fainting.
The physical symptoms of stress are themselves distressing. In fact, the body's response to stress can feel so bad that it produces additional mental stress.
During the stress response, then, mind and body can amplify each other's distress signals, creating a vicious cycle of tension and anxiety.
Because the root cause of stress is emotional, it is best controlled by gaining insight, reducing life problems that trigger stress, and modifying behavior. But stress control can — and should — also involve the body. Aerobic exercise is one approach; physical fitness will help promote mental fitness.
But there is another approach: The relaxed body will, in turn, send signals of calm and control that help reduce mental tension. Autoregulation exercises are a group of techniques designed to replace the spiral of stress with a cycle of repose. Several approaches are available.
Even without formal meditation and controlled breathing, the gentle muscle stretching of yoga can reduce stress. But if that's not your thing, simple breathing exercises can help by themselves. Rapid, shallow, erratic breathing is a common response to stress. Slow, deep, regular breathing is a sign of relaxation. You can learn to control your respirations so they mimic relaxation; the effect, in fact, will be relaxing.
Breathe in slowly and deeply, pushing your stomach out so that your diaphragm is put to maximal use. Repeat the entire sequence five to 10 times, concentrating on breathing deeply and slowly. Deep breathing is easy to learn. You can do it at any time, in any place. You can use deep breathing to help dissipate stress as it occurs. Practice the routine in advance; then use it when you need it most. If you find it helpful, consider repeating the exercise four to six times a day — even on good days.
Bodily exercise can help relax the mind, and mental maneuvers can, too. Most often, that means talking out problems with a supportive listener, who can be a friend, a chaplain, or a trained counselor or psychotherapist. But you can also do it yourself, harnessing the power of your own mind to reduce stress.
Simply writing down your thoughts and feelings can be very beneficial, and formal meditation exercises have helped many people reduce stress and gain perspective. Meditation is a prime example of the unity of mind and body.
Mental stress can speed the heart and raise the blood pressure; meditation can actually reverse the physiological signs of stress. Scientific studies of Indian yoga masters demonstrate that meditation can, in fact, slow the heart rate , lower the blood pressure, reduce the breathing rate, diminish the body's oxygen consumption, reduce blood adrenaline levels, and change skin temperature.
Although meditation is an ancient Eastern religious technique, you don't have to become a pilgrim or convert to put it to work for you.
In fact, your best guide to meditation is not an Indian spiritualist but a Harvard physician, Dr. Here's an outline of what Dr. Benson has termed as the relaxation response:. Select a time and place that will be free of distractions and interruption.
A semi-darkened room is often best; it should be quiet and private. If possible, wait two hours after you eat before you meditate and empty your bladder before you get started.
Find a body position that will allow your body to relax so that physical signals of discomfort will not intrude on your mental processes. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your mind to become aware of your rhythmic respirations. Achieve a relaxed, passive mental attitude.
Close your eyes to block out visual stimuli. Try to let your mind go blank, blocking out thoughts and worries. Concentrate on a mental device. Most people use a mantra, a simple word or syllable that is repeated over and over again in a rhythmic, chant-like fashion.
You can repeat your mantra silently or say it aloud. It's the act of repetition that counts, not the content of the phrase; even the word "one" will do nicely.
Some meditators prefer to stare at a fixed object instead of repeating a mantra. In either case, the goal is to focus your attention on a neutral object, thus blocking out ordinary thoughts and sensations. Meditation is the most demanding of the autoregulation techniques, but it's also the most beneficial and rewarding.
Once you've mastered meditation, you'll probably look forward to devoting 20 minutes to it once or twice a day. Stressed muscles are tight, tense muscles. By learning to relax your muscles, you will be able to use your body to dissipate stress. Muscle relaxation takes a bit longer to learn than deep breathing. It also takes more time.
How to manage and reduce stress
People can learn to manage stress and lead happier, healthier lives. Don't rely on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors to reduce stress. Find information and 10 helpful tips on how to relieve stress from the Cleveland Clinic, and also other methods you can use to relax or reduce stress. Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving.