Have you ever had a really difficult day at work and waited in your car, listening to the radio or just taking in the quiet before you walked into your house? Stress- for some, it may be a accompanied by a feeling of queasiness, a tension headache, a quickened heart rate or difficulty sleeping. At some point, all of us have experienced the symptoms of stress. Stress affects people differently but it is a normal part of life and we must deal with it. However, too much stress can overload our coping mechanisms so we have to learn to de-stress.
De-stressing is when your breathing slows and your blood pressure decreases. How do you de-stress? Do you take deep breaths and count to ten to help you relax? Do you try to visualize your relaxation? Maybe you close your eyes and picture a peaceful scene or your favorite vacation. Next time you are feeling stressed, try these behavior modifications:
1) Turnoff the computer at least an hour before you go to bed. A study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden found that late night computer use was associated with stress in both men and women.
2) Turn off your cell phone at night. Your cell phone is a mini-computer and its constant use can stress you out and raise your blood pressure.
3) Turn on classical music. Studies have shown that listening to classical music slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and decreases levels of stress hormones. Any music you love will help to de-stress you while you are in the midst of stressful events.
4) Eat a banana. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure which rises during stressful times. The American Psychological Association recommends eating a banana to fight the physical ailments of stress. Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin. Serotonin helps the body relax, improve your mood and makes you feel happier.
5) Downward-Facing Dog. Yoga poses are known as stress relievers as they relieve neck tension and eliminate many of the physical symptoms of stress.
6) Hit the gym, lift weights, go for a run. When you are stressed out from a difficult situation or event, do whatever makes you happy.
When I am faced with a stressful situation, I love to escape to the beach and walk on the sand. Unfortunately, I do not live close to the beach and the weather in New York is not always conducive to a stroll on the beach. My second choice is usually to work out, whether it is lifting weights, biking or running- as long as I get a good sweat going, my anxiety usually disappears.
“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive”- Lee Iacocca