2 simple habits to reduce stress in your life

July 28, 2015

While stressful situations can be handled with relaxation techniques, managing stress is also about integrating stress-reduction strategies into your daily routine. These tips will help you reduce the overall level of stress in your life.

2 simple habits to reduce stress in your life

1. Develop a morning ritual

When you get out of bed in the morning, spend a few minutes consciously sensing your body from toes to head.

  • Focus on the feet first. Notice how they feel from the inside out and mentally relax them.
  • Then move upwards to your ankles, then to your knees, on up your legs to your torso, chest, upper back, neck, head and face.
  • As you get used to the technique, you can bring your awareness inside your body and focus on relaxing each body part whenever you start to feel stressed.
  • Develop a ritual in the morning that focuses on calmness, beauty and the people who support you, or anything that helps you to feel a sense of peace.
  • You might, for example, spend a few moments reminding yourself of your blessings.
  • Your ritual might involve sitting outside (weather permitting), taking in your surroundings and appreciating the sounds of the birds and the sights of the sun glistening off the leaves and grass.
  • If you can't sit outdoors, go to a room in your home that you find calming.
  • Settle down, take a few deep breaths, and call to mind three people or things that make life worth living.
  • As your inner gratitude increases, pledge to commit one small act during the day to help someone else – somebody you know or a perfect stranger.

2. Exercise

Walk the stress off. Stress hormones prepare your body for a physical response. So a healthy way to respond to a rush of stress is to get physical.

  • Go for a brisk 15 minute walk and burn off your nervous energy.
  • Use the time to think through the issue and return to a positive, peaceful frame of mind.
  • If exercise isn't helping to lower your stress levels, switch from a repetitive type of exercise to a type that engages your mind.
  • Sometimes workouts are not effective at reducing stress because we use the time to think about all the stressful things going on.
  • Step aerobics, very active spinning classes (where you change positions a lot) and circuit or interval training (where you alternate different activities) prevent your mind from drifting, providing the mental break you need.
  • A good option at home is dancing. Involve your whole family to benefit one and all.
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