Chronic stress can be detrimental to your health; it can lead to heart disease, depression, digestive problems, and weight gain. Not all relaxation techniques will work for every individual, so it’s important to establish your own go-to stress management tips and tricks so you’ll be prepared next time you feel overloaded. In honor of National Stress Awareness Day on April 16, read Atkins tips on how to relieve stress.
Practice relaxation techniques.
Breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, yoga, and tai chi are excellent ways of calming a racing mind. Breathing deeply oxygenates your blood, which can be relaxing. By contrast, shallow chest breathing can speed up your heart and cause your muscles to tense.
Take a one-minute timeout to loosen and stretch out your muscles. Try the cat-cow stretch (a popular move in yoga) in a seated position at your desk. Sit up straight in your chair, with both feet flat on the floor. Exhale as you curve your spine and contract forward in cow pose. Inhale as you arch your spine and tilt your head back in cat pose. Repeat for five breaths.
Write in a journal.
Journaling provides an outlet for your thoughts. Sometimes, simply seeing a problem written down on paper can provide you the clarity and insight you need to move past it. One stress-relieving tactic: divide your paper into two columns. On the left side, list the stressors you can fix, and on the right, list the ones that are out of your control. Devote your energy to solving the problems on the left.
Take a whiff.
Certain smells are instant mood relaxers, such as chamomile, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender. Place a few drops of your favorite scent of aromatherapy oil in a small vial that you can carry in your purse or pocket; whenever you need a calming whiff, open it up and sniff.
Go for a walk.
Bonus points if it’s outside. Walking increases your circulation and can help eradicate a feeling of sluggishness. Focus on deep breathing while you walk, listen to your favorite music, or call a friend for a quick pick-me-up.
Find a mantra.
Come up with a positive affirmation you can repeat when you feel stressed out or overloaded. Sample mantras include: “This too shall pass,” “I can handle this,” and “I am wholly capable.”