AARP recently posted five easy strategies for de-stressing. For tips on how to dial down your stress, read below!
1. Get to know your stress response →
Before you can tame tension, you need to understand what triggers it.
Tip: Do a personal body scan. Try to hone in on what might be triggering it
2. Start Exercising →
Exercise short-circuits the stress response by triggering the release of BDNF (brain-derived neuropathic factor), which nourishes cell growth, as well as endorphins (serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine), brain chemicals that boost feelings of well-being, ease muscle tension and improve sleep.
Tip: Carve out 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise.
3. Good Nights Sleep →
“When you sleep poorly, your mood, memory, creativity and problem-solving capabilities [all] suffer,” says John Medina, director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning at Seattle Pacific University.
Tip: National Sleep Foundation suggests adults aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
4. Try Meditation →
Compared to a control group, meditators showed an increase in gray matter in the hippocampus (devoted to learning, memory and attention) and a decrease in gray matter in the amygdala (the part of the brain associated with emotions, anxiety and stress).
Tip: Try different types until you find one that works for you. Ideally, set aside at least 15 to 20 minutes twice a day to meditate. But even a five-minute break to sit quietly, feel planted on the floor, breathing slowly and deeply from your abdomen, can break the gridlock of stress.
5. Don’t fret →
The worst stress is triggered by situations that leave you feeling powerless, whether it’s a demanding job with lots of responsibility but few rewards, a tanking economy that takes a big chunk of your retirement savings, or caring for an ill spouse. But just fretting itself can decrease physical and psychological well-being.
Tip: schedule a worry break: Set aside 15 minutes a day to actively dwell on problems and concerns. When that time is up, though, tell yourself to STOP (or picture a large red stop sign). Finally, instead of allowing your to-do list to take over your life, reconsider what’s on it and prioritize.
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