Thoughtful Thursday: 5 Tips for Stress Reduction
Take up knitting. No, really. This article details the health benefits and stress-reducing effects of knitting. Many libraries have knitting groups, or check out Meetup.com to find a knitting group near you (it also provides you with a social network, for extra stress-reducing benefits!).
Breathe deep. When you’re stressed, you tend to breathe more shallowly, which sets of a physiological response. Breathing deeply helps to relax your body and mind. It also forces you to take a minute, pay attention to your body, and go within, being mindful of the moment.
Exercise. This doesn’t have to mean a gym – although if your school has a gym facility, they’re often great places to utilize, as many also offer fitness classes, training sessions, and access to fitness equipment you might not get to use otherwise. If you’re not able to get to a gym, fear not – you can still exercise! We know you’re busy with school and work, and this is one more thing to add to your schedule – so make it easy on yourself! Take a walk at lunch, park farther away from the store when running errands, take the steps instead of the elevator, go for an after-dinner walk, or go to the park with your kids and play with them on the equipment! Instead of meeting a friend for coffee, get the coffee to go and walk around a local track with them while catching up. Find little ways you can get in some exercise, and your body and mind will thank you.
Visualize success. Similar to guided imagery, visualization can be a great stress reliever and confidence booster. Imagine yourself completing tasks successfully, dealing with stress smoothly, and achieving your goals. Studies have found that visualizations can actually form neural pathways in your brain, so that when you go to do something that you’ve already visualized, it feels familiar and less stressful. Try these techniques to help you get started.
Rock out. Music therapy has shown multiple benefits, including stress reduction. Faster beats can actually promote concentration and alertness, and slower beats facilitate relaxation. Put together a playlist with songs that make you feel good, bring back happy memories, and help put you in a relaxed state of mind.
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