We all know it, stress is a killer. However, decreasing the amount of stress in our hectic life can be a challenging pursuit, if we don’t take active steps to address what is causing it. From muscle aches to headaches, to feeling run down all the time, stress often leads to depression and has the tendency to destroy people from the inside out.
Since everyone has some level of stress, the key is managing it. It all comes down to perspective, as people who are over-stressed have to find a way to look at their world in a different light and relax. Life is too short to be stressed out all the time so follow these nine steps to combat stress in less than 5 minutes so you can get back to enjoying your existence.
1. Strike A Power Pose
Striking a power pose is an excellent way to manage stress and clear your head. Often, people who employ this strategy successfully take the first minutes of their day focusing on the confidence that they have within. When assuming a power pose, testosterone increases, while cortisol decreases, potentially improving health significantly.
In fact, in studies on subjects who strike a power pose for two minutes, a significant increase in testosterone was noted, while cortisol fell substantially. In other words, assuming a confident pose can physiologically decrease stress at its core.
Whether standing up or sitting down, striking a power pose is easy to do. For people who spend all day sitting down at a desk job, standing with the feet separated slightly wider than the shoulders and placing the hands on the hip has historically been associated with confidence. People who practice this pose, although it doesn’t require much practice, may find themselves becoming more confident throughout all aspects of their daily life and reduce their stress significantly.
On the other hand, people who prefer to sit down while they assume a power pose should sit back in their chair with their hands behind their head and relax. Remember, you are the boss, at least for yourself. Think about how a typical boss would sit back at their desk and mimic their behavior. At first, this may feel strange, but continue to practice this pose, so it becomes natural.
In all reality, striking a power pose shouldn’t take more than two minutes and has the potential to reshape your day completely. So while confidence may not be oozing immediately, often, you have to fake it to make it. In other words, with enough practice, your overall persona may change, projecting a confident, successful person externally.
Have you ever noticed that confident people don’t ever seem overly stressed?
The benefits of stretching are clearly noticeable on overall health, but many don’t associate stretching with a reduction in stress. However, think about it, after you get done stretching, how do you feel? In most cases, the answer is excellent, as it almost seems like you are brand-new again.
Ideally, exercise a little bit to warm up, get the blood pumping, and stretch out the muscles throughout the body. Especially focus on tight muscles, usually the hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves. Also, stretch out the shoulders, chest, neck, and back to maintain a posture that exudes confidence.
Stretching is especially important for anyone who sits down at their job, as the muscles noted above generally become tight as people are hunched over at the computer or cell phone. Day after day, year after year, individuals who work at their desk often become hunched back and suffer from health maladies. Since the hunchback position doesn’t demonstrate a whole lot of confidence, simply looking in the mirror could increase stress levels. Ideally, invest in a standing desk and notice how your health improves nearly immediately.
3. Think Positive
What is more important than the power of positive thought? In all reality, what we believe eventually becomes who we are. People who think positively often find that things just fall into place for them, as they are exuding confidence to others around them and know deep in their heart that everything will work out as planned.
The universe, while mysterious, appears to reward positive thoughts, whether in the form of prayers, confidence, or desire. Since thoughts are one of the only things that people can control, if they take it upon themselves, positive thinking can offer enormous benefits to nearly anyone.
The hardest times to remain positive are during tough periods in life, as depression often sets in. However, people who have control over their thoughts during these times have the potential to completely change their situation and end up with a positive result. Remember, what you think is who you are and how others perceive you.
4. Take A Walk
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to take a long walk, especially in a natural environment. For instance, a walk on the beach or in the forest is an excellent way to enjoy what life is all about. Just breathing in fresh, oxygen-rich air and exercising, even mildly, promotes the correct frame of mind that allows rational thought to take over.
Anyone who is overly stressed begins to lose sight of what is important, as they dwell on their situation. This is why it is important to put these negative thought patterns behind, go for a walk, and clear the mind entirely. Often, it may take a while to become fully encompassed in the beauty of nature, but out of nowhere, a solution to a particular problem may present itself as soon as the mind is cleared of all the clutter that stands in its way.
5. Book A Massage
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to get a massage. In many cases, people who become overly stressed don’t even know that they are tensing their muscles all day long. This often manifests itself as a sore back, sore neck, or clenched jaw. As soon as a massage therapist begins to target these trigger points, the level of tension becomes apparent, and the relaxing effects start immediately.
As soon as relaxation sets in, stressful issues have a tendency to melt away. After a long massage session, nearly every muscle in the body should be completely relaxed, and the mind may finally be at ease. It is during these moments of serenity when people can think about what is really important to them and leave everything that doesn’t matter behind. In other words, receiving a massage can jump start the stress reduction process.
6. Book An Acupuncture Session
Throughout the eons, acupuncture has been used to reduce stress and address all sorts of medical ailments. Often, acupuncturists can target trigger points, improving energy flow that can allow the body to function more efficiently overall. In many cases, deep-seated stressful issues can be addressed with acupuncture, leaving people in a state of peace. Learn more about how acupuncture can reduce stress.
7. Spend Time On YouTube
Who doesn’t love YouTube? When things become stressful, taking some time for yourself and watching videos on YouTube can at least temporarily reduce stress. Ideally, search for videos that are enjoyable and can make you laugh even when you are depressed. Remember that life is more than worrying about problems.
As a suggestion, cat videos are my favorite, who doesn’t laugh at those?
8. Show Some Gratitude
Think about all the good things in your life instead of dwelling on the stressful issues. Almost anyone has a reason to show gratitude, as there are many people would do nearly anything to be in your shoes. While certain situations are extremely stressful and need to be dealt with, individuals who focus on the positive things that they have going for them may be able to completely change their perspective on life by being thankful for everything they have.
9. Look Out The Window
Look out the window and enjoy the view. Often, we become so focused on what we are doing that we lose a sense of the greater picture. People who have a great view out of their window should take the time to just stare off into space and allow their mind to drift. In many cases, staring out the window, especially out into nature, can enable people to come to terms with their stress and focus on something more positive.
Instead of just looking out the window, it is best to just go outside and enjoy the fresh air. People who stay inside too long often feel themselves suffocating when they think about whatever stressful situation they are dealing with. As stated before, go for a walk, or do something else instead of focusing on stress, as this is often a downward spiral towards depression.
Life is too short to be stressed out all the time. While stress is a normal biological function that we all deal with, people who can manage their stress efficiently come across as confident individuals who enjoy being alive. So the next time you feel the pressure of anxiety building up in your chest, take 5 minutes to enjoy one of these 9 activities to objectively deal with stress.
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Dr. DeFabio is a highly regarded chiropractor in Chicago who focuses on helping his patients achieve optimal health and wellness. He takes a holistic approach to care, treating symptoms and addressing underlying issues to promote long-term healing. Dr. DeFabio is passionate about empowering his patients to take control of their health and live their best lives. You can find him surfing, skateboarding, and volunteering at the Lakeview Food Pantry when he’s not in the office.