These days stress just seems to be a part of life. The hustle and bustle of our tech-savvy, fast-paced world can make it feel like we’re constantly on edge, there is always somewhere to be and something to do. Here’s the thing – reducing stress isn’t just about feeling better. It’s about taking care of your mind, body and overall health and longevity!
This is important because chronic stress has been linked to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, when stressed, your body produces higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that can lead to sleep disturbances, weight gain and a weakened immune system.
The good news, there are so many easy relaxation techniques you can add to your day to decrease your stress!
The Best Relaxation Techniques to Decrease Your Stress
The great thing about these techniques and strategies is that they come with a heap of other health benefits too!
Deep breathing activates the body’s relaxation response, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Inhale deeply through the nose, hold for a moment, and exhale slowly through the mouth. Repeat this process for a few minutes and and you’ll feel more relaxed and calm.
Focus your attention on the present moment, without judgement. Observe your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations as they arise, letting them pass without getting caught up in them. Mindfulness can help you cultivate a non-reactive awareness of your stressors, making them more manageable.
If you struggle to sit in stillness this is for you! These guided sessions can focus on specific themes like relaxation, stress reduction, or gratitude. By following along with the guidance of a teacher, you can learn how to shift your focus away from stressors and create a calm and peaceful state of mind. Guided meditation is an excellent option for beginners.
We share guided meditations inside our MerryBody App. If you’d like to try one out now, head on over here and hit play on the Embody Guided Meditation, in less than 10 minutes you’ll feel entirely relaxed and de-stressed.
Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation to promote relaxation and stress relief. By practising Yoga regularly, you can expect to improve flexibility, strength and balance while also cultivating a sense of inner calm and emotional resilience. It really is the ultimate stress-relief tool!
Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on core strength, flexibility and balance. It emphasises mindful movements and controlled breathing, making it an excellent choice for stress reduction. Pilates workouts can be adapted to suit different fitness levels and provide a full-body workout without putting excessive strain on the joints. Compared to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, which can increase cortisol levels and exacerbate stress, Pilates offers a more balanced approach.
We could go on about Yoga and Pilates and how they are the ultimate exercise choices for you, especially if you’re trying to reduce stress, but we’d prefer you to simply try out a class!
Spending time outdoors, whether it’s in your garden, a park, forest or beach, has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood and enhance overall well-being. The natural setting helps you disconnect from the digital world, take a break from daily stressors, and immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquillity of the natural world. Studies have shown that even a short walk in nature can lower cortisol levels, decrease heart rate, and improve mental focus.
Get Off Your Phone
Your phone is a significant source of stress with its never-ending notifications, social media feeds and news alerts. All this information and interaction can really add up, contributing to elevated stress levels. Also, the blue light your phone emits can mess with your ability to get a good night’s sleep—something that’s essential for managing stress. Less phone time is a super effective way to lower your stress.
Get Enough Sleep
As we just mentioned, sleep is important for reducing stress because this is when your body and mind rest, recover and rejuvenate. While you sleep, your body works on repairing itself, and your brain sorts through your thoughts and feelings. This helps you feel less tense and better able to handle challenges. Not enough sleep can lead to elevated levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone, which increases feelings of stress and anxiety. So, getting a good night’s sleep can be a simple and extremely effective way to lower stress. Many of our MerryBody Members switch on a guided meditation from the MerryBody App right before they go to sleep.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to relaxation.
It’s essential to find techniques that work best for you and incorporate them into your daily routine. Consistency is key to experiencing the long-term benefits of stress reduction and relaxation. It’s not about ticking off these techniques to decrease your stress once a month, it’s about infusing your day with these techniques. How do you do this?
- Stop what you are doing, and take 3 deep breaths throughout your day.
- Go out in the sunshine on your lunch break. Leave your phone at your desk.
- Allocate 10 minutes a day (at least) to move your body in a way you love.
- Actually start meditating, but don’t begin with 20 minutes… start with just 5 minutes.
- When you pick up your phone to scroll, pick up a book instead.
If you’re still feeling a little lost and want more of a framework to work on your stress levels. Try out the MerryBody App, the perfect place for you to start is with our 7 Day Get Calm Program. This program includes 7 days of movement and meditation designed to help you let go of stress and welcome a sense of calm.
The best part, we want to give you complete access to try it all out! Sign up for your 7 day FREE PASS.
If you have any questions or ideas to add to our list of techniques to reduce stress, let us know!
Emma + Carla