Stress affects everybody, but women sometimes seem to have more than their fair share.
Between managing successful careers, homeschooling their children and running their households, it’s natural to become overwhelmed.
How can you manage stress? Here are eight ways to ease your tension.
1. Watch for Unhealthy Habits
Sometimes, stress takes an indirect toll on your appearance. You might not realize how much pressure and anxiety you feel until you notice that you have bitten your nails down to the quick. Other physical signs include changes in your weight and eating habits or neglecting your grooming.
Are you one of those who think that a drink or two will help them relax after a challenging day? While one indulgence won’t hurt, please be mindful if you reflexively reach for the bottle.
Your brain is more prone to developing negative drinking habits when stress throws your hormones into an uproar. Plus, some people with anxiety disorders find that alcohol makes their conditions worse.
2. Punch It Out
Do you sometimes wish you had a punching bag in the corner of your office when dealing with your boss? Maybe you can’t redecorate your workspace, but you can head to the gym for a heavy bag workout after-hours.
If all you need to do is burn off nervous tension, a cardio-kickboxing class can lower your adrenaline and cortisol levels. If you want to learn self-defense, why not sign up for martial arts?
3. Try a Rage Workout
You might have heard that yoga is a fabulous way to manage stress — more on other forms later. However, not all classes require you to sit in lotus pose and chant “om.”
Rage yoga includes war cries and dirty jokes while heavy metal jams in the background instead of pan flutes. While some adherents of more traditional styles raise their eyebrows at the practice, this class format can help you find your vibe when mindfulness alone isn’t cutting it.
4. Walk Away
Have you ever heard the advice to walk away from a conflict before saying or doing something you later regret? Science now supports what folk wisdom long advised. Brief bouts of physical activity lower the stress hormone levels that can sometimes cause you to act out of character under pressure.
There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I need to take a minute to collect my thoughts,” and exiting stage left when things get heated. Pay attention if the other person involved in the conflict tries to prevent you from going. This behavior could indicate they are consciously or subconsciously manipulating you — stick to your boundary and clear your head.
5. Get Outdoors
Research indicates that even gazing at pictures of natural scenes can help induce a calmer mental state. Immersing yourself in the great outdoors does an even better job of elevating your mood and lowering stress levels.
One reason for this effect is that you tend to be more active outdoors, stimulating endorphin flow. However, even if you do little but bask in the sun, you still absorb natural vitamin D and feel more relaxed.
6. Try Tea and Aromatherapy
Visualize yourself curled up on the couch with a novel in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. Does that mental image induce relaxation or what?
Teas such as lavender and chamomile can help to ease stress. Excess caffeine, on the other hand, can make you feel tenser. Try swapping out one of your daily cups of joe with an herbal blend and see if you feel calmer.
Aromatherapy works when scents activate receptors in your brain that tell you to relax. Fragrances such as lavender and chamomile can help you to unwind.
7. Adopt a Yoga and Meditation Practice
Perhaps cursing isn’t your thing. If you are seeking to cultivate inner peace, the ancient practice of yoga can help. Try a relaxing form such as yin after a challenging day. You’ll feel like you are melting into your mat.
Many instructors pair meditation with movement during your practice. In doing so, you become aware of the racing thoughts that often contribute to your stress. You can then practice positively reframing ideas such as, “I’ll never get everything done,” with “I can accomplish my goals by taking manageable steps each day.”
8. Lean On Your Support System
Finally, the right support system can ease stress. Humans are social animals, and sharing your thoughts with a like-minded person helps you feel like you don’t face all your troubles alone.
If you struggle to make friends as an adult, seek out ways to meet new people. Volunteering puts you in touch with others who support the same cause and gives you a boost of positive neurochemicals to decrease your stress. Recreational sports leagues introduce you to others with similar interests and get your body moving and flowing with endorphins.
Women, Use These 8 Ways to Manage Stress
Women seem to bear the lioness’ share of the world’s stress. If you find yourself feeling tense and on edge, please consider these eight ways to cope.Lastly, I'm starting to tell other women about a health newsletter that I've benefited immensely from and that I highly recommend. I think you might like it, too.
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