I think you are having stress or get stressed out easily, that’s why you are here to learn some stress relieving activities. It is impossible to stay without stress in this world full of distractions and so many things vying for our attention. The only way is to learn to manage the stress and stress creating thoughts.
What is stress?
Stress is a feeling of strain and pressure. It is the body’s reaction to a change that requires an adjustment. Stress is a normal reaction of the body to changes. It can be triggered by physical, emotional or mental changes. In simple words: Stress is our body’s built-in response to a change.
Causes of stress
Stress can be caused by any type of physical or emotional stimulus. Also, people report different types of stress namely, work-related, relationships stress, stress about different phases of life. Even children are prone to success. If not managed t time adequately, stress can take a toll on your health.
Most common stress creating situations arise from
- Strained relationships
- Social or financial situations
- Lack of social support
- Physical or mental illness
If not controlled, stress can lead to many health conditions namely
- Panic attack
- Heart diseases
- Sleep problems
- Poor concentration
Types of stress and its effect
Stress can be classified as good stress or bad stress. Stress is beneficial in small amounts as it helps motivate you to do better and complete deadlines. The actual culprit is bad stress which can make your life miserable.
Few of the fun activities to relieve stress
I have compiled a few activities which can relieve stress to some extent. Meditation and breathing are known to relieve stress but they cannot be done everywhere. Along with breathing and meditation, there are few quick activities can help you relieve stress quickly.
Laughter is contagious and therapeutic. This humourous activity can reduce the bad effect of stress on our bodies. It occurs in response to a physiological as well as psychological response to a humour stimulus. Humour affects the large frontal lobe which dictates most of the human emotional response.
It can help reduce fatigue in the body due to stress. Laughter increases the blood flow as well as improve the immune system.
2. Watch a comedy movie
As laughter is therapeutic for stress, anything that triggers a laugh should be done frequently. Watching a good comedy movie can make you laugh your heart out. Watch a comedy movie alone or with family. It will help you manage stressful situations.
3. Meditate for 10 minutes
Meditate daily for 10 minutes to relieve stress. You might have heard that meditation is beneficial for the stress as it helps in relieving g stress-causing thoughts. It is not rocket science, rather it is a simple process of filling your lungs with the elixir of life (oxygen) and watching this process with your mind with concentration.
How to meditate
- Sit in a quiet corner or just stand wherever you are
- Close your eyes
- Inhale and watch oxygen going in your lings
- Then exhale and again watch your breath
- Try not to stray your thoughts
4. Get good sleep
Getting good sleep helps in muscle repair as well as memory consolidation. It is the most important human function required for the proper functioning of the human body. Sometimes you cannot sleep due to stress and not sleeping properly again causes stress.
Getting full rest is required for relieving stress as well as for the optimum functioning of the body. If possible, get a sleep of 7 to 8 hours daily.
5. Drink Tea
Some herbal teas are considered beneficial for relieving stress. If you are going through chronic stress and getting medicine for the same, introducing herbal teas can help reduce stress to some extent. Talk to your health provider before introducing tea in your routine.
Moreover, what works for one person may not work for another. Check yourself which one suits you.
Here are some of the of teas considered helpful in the reduction of stress:
- Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
- Chamomile ( Matricaria Chamomilla
- Lavender (Lavandula Officinalis)
- Kava ( Piper methysticum)
- Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)
- Passion Flower ( Passiflora incarnata)
- Green tea ( Camellia Sinensis)
- Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)
- Fennel Tea (Foeniculum vulgare)
6. Look through happy photos
Looking at photos clicked during happy times are known to reduce stress. Next time, whenever you will feel stress, take out your family album and have a look at them. I know in this era of smartphones, it is difficult to find albums. Try some of the older ones and feel the difference.
7. Start journaling
Journalling helps in reducing the stress by organising thoughts, clearing your mind and accelerate problem-solving skills. Stress clog your mind with never-ending negative thoughts but journalling facilitate catharsis of such thoughts. It is the best ways to clear your mind and get in touch with yourself.
Journalling prompts for stress management
- What is stressing me out right now?
- How I can improve this situation
- What is the worst thing that can happen
- I am thankful in my life because …..
- What are the 3 blessings in my life
- What I want in my life now
8. Pay Gratitude
Paying gratitude is a simple and powerful technique to reduce stress. Paying gratitude for whatever you have, detaches your emotion from a stressful situation and make you feel better. As humans, we are prone to stress and it comes automatically. But while paying gratitude, your thoughts are shifted towards a positively focused target.
9. Make time for hobbies
A hobby is an activity which is done in leisure time just for pleasure, not for pay. Imagine why a person spends time on the hobby when it is not going to pay anything? Because it gives you happiness, it allows you to forget the worries of your day to day life. Science has backed this data that hobbies are great for reducing stress. Some of the hobbies that can have a positive impact are
- Listening to Music
- Reading books
If you have forgotten what you loved to do and want to try your hand on hobbies again, go for it and let your stress go away.
10. Dance like you are only watching yourself
Put the music on and start dancing to the tune. Ask your family to join and have fun. If you want to do it alone, just start moving with the music. You will forget the worries as soon as the endorphins set in. Music along with dancing can work as a stress management tool and help you out and reduce the stress.
Along with other activities, dancing can help you minimise the effects of bad stress on the body.
Outdoor stress-reducing activities
Any type of outdoor activity helps in reducing stress. Here are a few outdoor activities you can do to minimize stress.
11. Brisk Walking
Walking can be done by anyone at any age and without any expensive equipment. It is such a powerful exercise that it helps in not only reducing the stress but joint pain also. Start with 5 minutes of brisk walk and build up the stamina gradually.
After building your stamina, you can start jogging too. Walking outside helps in getting sunshine which eventually boosts your Vitamin D and serotonin (a feel-good hormone)
Yoga is one of the most effective stress relieving activities. It can have a positive effect on mental as well as physical health. Start doing yoga outside. It can be done indoors also but natural surroundings have a better impact on relieving your mental stress. Stretches and yoga asanas have been known to remove joint pains and stress.
13. Take-up gardening
Spending time outside planting and nurturing the plants have a calming effect on your mind. Plant a few plants and watch them grow daily will give you a sense of happiness. Looking at the blossoming flowers is the best sight and on top of that, you will get enough sunshine.
14. Go for outings
Go for outings with your family and friends. Instead of going to expensive places, plan an outing for a local park. You will get to chat with your friends, your kids can play together and if possible, you can enjoy the sunshine which is itself a stress buster.
Activities to reduce stress quickly when you are at work and short on time
Stress can come at any time without any warning and signs. Work-related stress is the most common type of stress that can be triggered at any time. Moreover, you cannot do breathing exercises or dance during your work hours. To minimise the effects of work-related stress, you can do a few activities.
15. Deep breathing
Deep breathing can have a calming effect on your mind. Relax your whole body from head to toes, inhale and fill your lungs with oxygen, then exhale with the same intensity. While doing so, concentrate your mind on breathing. Take a few breaths and increase the oxygen supply to your brain and body. I promise you will feel better after a few deep breaths.
16. Eat healthy snacks
Stress can deplete nutrients from your body, but eating the right food can minimize the impact of stress. Snack on healthy foods and be ready to tackle the stress at your workplace. Dark chocolate, berries, yoghurt, carrot, tea are considered stress relieving foods.
17. Stop multitasking
Multitasking can create more stress. While multitasking, after working for some time you will feel you haven’t accomplished anything. All of your tasks stay there incompleted. These uncompleted tasks create stress. To avoid this, take one task at a time complete it and move on to next one.
One completed task will give you motivation to accomplish the next one. Make a to-do list and prioritize your tasks. Complete those ones that need to be done first and then start the next task. You will feel better as well as you will not have that much stress.
18. Take time for a small walk
If you are stressing out about the tasks you need to complete and could not concentrate, go for a small walk even if it is to the kitchen or go up and down on stairs
19. Imagine happiness
The human mind cannot distinguish between the actual things happening and imagination. Try to feel happy and imagine all those things that make you happy. Imagination will give you the same happiness as while enjoying the actual activity.
Stress is a human trait which cannot be avoided totally but can be managed with few changes.