In the modern world, it seems that stress has become a part of daily life. No matter who you talk to, you will find that they are worried and anxious about a whole host of things. Maybe that's what happens when life becomes faster than we can cope with. Maybe the weight of responsibilities has become too heavy in this day and age.
What is more concerning is that stress can lead to a ton of other problems, which can add to your worries. It can impair your productivity, relationships, motivation, mental health, and even cause diseases like stroke and diabetes. Naturally, you need to make sure that you always keep stress at bay.
So, how do you do that? Perhaps the best way is to instill a number of simple habits into your daily life that can ensure your mental well-being and keep you tension-free. To that end, let's take a look at 12 such habits that are backed by science.
1) Go On A Digital Detox
It's no secret that the digitization of human life has been taking place for over a decade now. Ever since the internet and smartphones became mainstream, more and more of our lives are going digital. While this has augmented our lives in countless ways, there have been a lot of grave consequences as well.
For one, many studies have shown that excessive internet users are much more likely to suffer from depression than moderate users. There are many psychological reasons for why that happens. That's why it's so important to go on a digital detox from time to time. Just plug out of everything for an hour or two every single day and you'll feel the difference in no time.
2) Read Books
Books are a treasure trove of knowledge. But do you know what else they are great at? Well, they are one of the most effective ways of keeping your attention focused on the subject matter, especially if you are reading non-fiction. If you have ever gotten lost in a story, you will know exactly how effective books are at making you forget everything else.
Even in studies, it has been shown that stress reduces by 68% after reading for just 5 minutes. So, it's definitely a good idea to pick up a book whenever you start getting worked up about something. Better yet, you can make it a daily habit and allot a fixed time every day for reading.
3) Do Something Creative
We have become too reliant on the logical side of things. This is perhaps one reason why life has become so calculative and analytical. But we all know that life's true beauty lies in abstract things. Therefore, it is only natural that you should spend time doing creative things. Just pick anything that speaks to you like painting, writing, designing, taking photos, playing a musical instrument, and so on.
Studies have shown that just 45 minutes of creative activities can help reduce stress significantly. Plus, you get to learn a new skill that can be beneficial in so many ways. Add to that the happiness and joy you feel at that time, and the whole thing becomes a no-brainer.
4) Eat Stress-Reducing Foods
In today's world, our eating habits have taken a turn for the worst. Truly, the amount of unhealthy foods that we indulge in is simply alarming. This is one of the main reasons why diseases and disorders are on the rise. And what most don't know is that these foods can also increase your stress due to the various toxins and chemicals present in them.
What you need to do is focus on stress-reducing foods. Nature has provided us with so many great options to induce relaxation and peace. You can eat avocados, almonds, eggs, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, etc. to reduce your stress instantly. You can even have some dark chocolate!
5) Make Exercising A Habit
This is something that most people know they should do, yet they avoid it. It has been shown time and again that exercising not only boosts your health in countless ways, it also reduces your stress levels. In fact, it releases feel-good hormones that make you feel great about yourself and your life.
Initially, you might need to push yourself to do some exercise. However, within a week or so, it will become a habit, and you just won't want to give it up. And when you start to see all the positive effects of it, it will motivate you further and go the extra mile. This will bring in a transformative change in your life.
6) Get Proper Sleep
Sleep is the ultimate elixir of a good life. If you get proper sleep every day, most of your work is already done. This is because sleep restores your energy, repairs your body, organizes your mind, regulates your emotions, and much more.
Scientists have discovered that REM sleep (the stage of sleep where you dream) can decrease levels of stress hormone in your body. This is probably why you feel so much better even after taking a short nap during the day. So, make sure you get plenty of shut-eye each night.
7) Engage In Spiritual Practices
There are many spiritual practices that have managed to stick with us since ancient times. Things like meditation, mindfulness, yoga, are just a few examples. There is a good reason why human beings have been indulging in these practices for so long. They not only help in building good health, but they also keep stress at bay.
Take breathing exercises for example. They increase the flow of oxygen in your body which reduces your blood pressure. This, in turn, slows down your heart and releases tension from your abdomen. So, you end up feeling a lot more relaxed and at ease.
8) Spend Time Outdoors
We, humans, emerged from mother nature. In fact, most of our evolution took place out there in the open. It is only in the last ten thousand years or so that we have begun living in fixed structures. In today's world, we live in concrete jungles. This has resulted in a huge disconnect between us and the larger reality that surrounds us.
So, when you spend time outdoors, amidst mother nature's elements, you feel good. You feel relaxed and more connected with the phenomenon of life itself. Studies show that "forest bathing" decreases anxiety levels. Therefore, you should pick yourself up and head out whenever you get a chance. Small things like this will make a huge difference.
9) Take A Warm Bath
Who doesn't love bathing? Even a grumpy person ends up feeling great after a bath, especially if it is a warm bath. Studies show that warm water increases body temperature which relaxes the muscles. This not only feels great physically but also mentally. The end result is that your stress becomes almost non-existent. Besides reducing stress, it will also lift your spirits and keep you in a better mood.
10) Dance Your Stress Away
For the longest time, music and dance have been an integral part of human life. The ancients knew that these touch on physical, mental, as well as emotional levels. We all know how great it feels to get lost in our favorite music and dance to the tunes like no one is watching.
So, even though you won't want to do it when you are stressed, you could get a partner and just start dancing. Forget about your problems for a while and give yourself to the rhythm of the music. It will leave you feeling much more relaxed and happy. Who knows, you might even get a jolt of inspiration to solve your pressing problems!
11) Laugh Your Heart Out
Laughter is the best medicine. We have been hearing this for a long time. But is there any truth to it? Well, our experience teaches us that it is pretty accurate. You can't help but feel better after a hearty laugh - whether it is with friends/family or by yourself.
Since laughing needs an outside stimulus, you could indulge in comedy movies or spend time with friends who are naturally funny. This will make sure that you spend at least some time laughing your heart out. Scientists have shown that laughing can actually reduce stress hormones and even improve your immunity!
12) Spend Time With A Pet
Those who have pets know how awesome it is to have them around. They are little bundles of love that you can just pick up and get recharged whenever you want. At the end of the day, when you come home, and your pet greets you at the door, all your stress and worries just wash away.
It’s not a surprise that research studies have shown that spending time with your pet can reduce stress-causing hormones and increase stress-reducing hormones in your body. Therefore, if you have ever been hesitant about adopting a pet, now is a good time to think again.
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