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5 Easy Tips to Help You Relax

October, 2017

With all of the technology available to us today, you’d think life would be easier. Certainly, we don’t have to do many of our daily chores by hand if we choose, but still, stress remains one of the biggest threats to health (source).

So what can be done to manage stress?

The first important thing is to recognize that we might not even realize we are being affected by stress. So it’s important to work some practices into our daily routine that help us deal with the stress that we may not even be aware of.

The biggest problem with this for most people is finding the time. So here are five easy ways to help manage stress levels as part of daily life.

#1 – Meditate

In its most simple form, meditation is setting aside some time to spend in quiet contemplation. Scientific research indicates that meditation can have a significantly positive effect on stress.

Meditation doesn’t have to take long – even five or ten minutes is enough, it’s portable, and doesn’t have to be complicated, although it is a skill that takes practice to develop. A good way to start is just to sit in a comfortable posture, with your hands resting gently in your lap.

Close your eyes slightly or fully, and focus your attention on the pattern of your breathing. Try not to think about anything other than your breath. Some people use the technique of recognizing any thoughts that might come into their mind, and gently pushing them aside, or allowing them to float out of the mind while returning their focus to their breathing.

Alternatively, you could try a guided meditation, many of which are accessible online, like these (source).

2# – Get outside

Being outdoors in the open air, and spending time in natural places helps you to recharge and appreciate the simple things in life. It is possible to do this virtually anywhere, and beaches, woods, forests and even city parks or the tiniest copse of trees are all fabulous places to be.

Clinical studies have long proven that spending time outdoors, especially in the sunshine, and walking are both highly beneficial to health, reducing stress, anxiety and depression (source).

Walking barefoot – making sure that it’s safe to do so first – helps to connect with nature and become attuned to natural cycles. Observe the beauty and harmony, and the natural forces at work.

In daily life, make detours that take a more scenic route on your way to work, use your lunch break to get out into nature, and make family walks part of your regular routine.

#3 – Eat Chocolate

This is the yummiest stress buster ever! Studies have shown that daily consumption of 40 grams of dark chocolate (and to a lesser degree milk chocolate) can significantly reduce stress levels.

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (above 75%) has also been shown to decrease blood pressure, risk of heart disease and diabetes. This serves to illustrate the fact that treats in moderation really can be good for you (source).

#4 – Do Some Gardening

Once you’ve made short work of your daily chocolate quota, it’s time to head into the back yard. Not only can you work off a few calories, it’s also good for reducing stress.

Numerous studies have shown that caring for plants, weeding and tidying the yard can have numerous significant benefits to health, including reducing stress, anxiety, depression and increasing life satisfaction and self-esteem.

So whether it’s your window box, someone else’s yard, or even a corner of a park or woodland you regularly visit, a daily dose of gardening – even just for a few minutes – is definitely on the stress buster list (source).

#5 – Laughter is the Best Medicine

You know those moments when something just tickles you, and you start to giggle? Moments later, you find the giggle gradually escalating into a fit of laughter that you just can’t control…doesn’t it feel great?

There’s a reason for that. Laughter is thought to release endorphins – chemicals that make us feel good, and has been shown in research to help to decrease stress, anxiety and depression, and give increased quality of life.

So make it a habit. Find a memory that makes you laugh, or a joke, or spend time watching what the children are up to when they think you’re not looking – anything that gives you that feel good factor. And when the laughter comes, don’t hold back…just let it out! (source).

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About the Author:

Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.