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August 08, 2017

Practice these 10 healthy habits to reduce stress

Wellness Stress

Content sponsored by IBC - Native (195x33)

Man walking a dog Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

It’s easy to get stressed out by all of the obstacles life throws our way on a daily basis. While it’s true that some stress is natural and normal, real damage can occur when it gets out of hand. Stress can come in many forms, including financial troubles, romantic woes, or issues at work just to name a few. But here’s the good news: there are plenty of ways to manage it!

Here are some tips on how to live stress-free:

1. Meditate

Meditation is an ancient mind and body practice that has long-term positive psychological benefits. In addition to the mental health benefits, meditation also improves physical health by reducing blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Learning basic meditation techniques that you can implement daily goes a long way in cutting out stress. 

2. Exercise

Who knew that physical stress has the power to relieve mental stress? Exercise is meditation in motion — the higher the heart rate, the lower the stress. When you work out, your body releases endorphins, the brain’s feel-good chemical. Getting the blood flowing not only reduces stress hormones and increases endorphins; it also boosts self-esteem, improves sleeping patterns, and wards off feelings of anxiety and depression. Try a high intensity fitness class and begin reaping the benefits today!

3. Laugh

Laughing is good for the mind, body, and soul. Ever feel a euphoric high after a really good, deep-in-the-belly laugh? That’s because laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, which eases pain throughout the mind and body. Laughter lowers blood pressure, improves cardiac health, and boosts t-cells.

4. Dance

Dance is obviously a form of exercise, but it has some unique benefits of its own. Studies have found that people over the age of 75 who danced during leisure time have a lower risk of developing dementia. Which makes sense, since music plays an important role in anxiety and stress relief as well.

5. Practice gratitude

It can be hard to feel grateful in the midst of chaos, but making the choice to do so relieves stress, and makes life more enjoyable. Part of life is what happens to us, but most of life is how we react to it. Making the choice to view something in a more positive way also has a ton of health benefits.

6. Write

Writing is a great way to express what’s on your mind. Expressive writing helps people cope with stress and trauma in productive and therapeutic ways by helping them overcome emotional inhibition — which can be an underlying reason for high stress levels.

7. Cry

Crying is a natural and healthy way to relieve stress. Research suggests that crying literally flushes negative chemicals out of the body. So, a good cry can be both cathartic and healthy.

8. Walk

Like the other physical exercises mentioned, walking boosts endorphins, which lowers stress hormones. Walking makes the body and mind feel good and, when you walk outdoors, it also improves memory and attention. So put on your comfiest shoes and get strolling.

9. Get a pet

What’s better than a fluffy cuddle buddy? Not much! That explains why dog owners have less stress. One study even shows that patients who spend a little bit of time with a dog before an operation have experienced about a 37 percent reduction in anxiety and stress levels. Pets distract people from their concerns, thus providing a sense of calm to humans.

10. Breathe

If you’re reading this, you’re (hopefully) breathing. But did you know there’s a better way to breathe? Studies have shown that slower and deeper breathing slows down heart rate, stabilizes blood pressure, relaxes muscles, and increases blood flow to the brain.

Practice these 10 healthy habits to reduce stress — your mind, body, and spirit will thank you for it!

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