When I ask my patients if they are stressed, invariably they say not more than usual and they tell me that they are handling it. Oftentimes they don’t realize the affect it is having on their physical and mental health. Stress can make any immune, hormonal or mental or physical symptom or illness worse. It has been implicated to the onset of autoimmune disorders, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, ulcers, gut issues and just about any other condition.
Many of my blogs and posts mention the most common ways to reduce stress such as deep belly breathing, meditation, and exercise. However, there are other ways to reduce stress that you may find are free, fun and relaxing.
Use Music to Modulate your Mood
Scientists recorded people’s physiologic response to music and came up with the 10 Most Relaxing Songs. You can try any of these or play the music you know makes you feel relaxed and at ease. I sometimes take a hot bath and play some classical music such as Debussy for Daydreaming or The Most Relaxing Classical Music.
- Marconi Union, “Weightless”
- Airstream, “Electra”
- DJ Shah, “Mellomaniac (Chillout Mix)”
- Enya, “Watermark”
- Coldplay, “Strawberry Swing”
- Barcelona, “Please Don’t Go”
- All Saints, “Pure Shores”
- Adele, “Someone Like You”
Commune with Community
Get together with people who are easy to be around or with whom you share a hobby, an activity, intellectual, spiritual or fun pursuit. It can be a good escape and lift your spirits, indulge your senses and perhaps laugh and have some fun. There may also be people with whom you can share your burdens without complaining or bringing everyone down. Others may have had or are having similar problems and may help you put things into perspective, and you won’t feel alone.
Spend Time in Nature
Being by the sea and listening to the sounds of the waves can be soothing. Hearing birds sing changes brain wave patterns to relaxing alpha waves. Walking or being in the woods or looking at greenery is very relaxing and has proven benefits. Within 5 minutes of walking into a forest your brain and bodies start to change. Your heart rate slows, facial muscles relax, and your brain wave patterns change. 5 hours a month in nature makes you happier overall.
Social Media Fast
It has been well established that being on social media and trying to keep up or comparing oneself with others can cause significant anxiety. It can be addictive, and people have a fear of missing out (FOMO). Instead try for more face to face gatherings to catch up. It’s more personal and fun and you will find new and better ways to use your free time. Michele Drouin, a psychologist and social media specialist said: “When you step away from social media, you are able to start attuning to the other social signals in your life, like social overtures from your friends, your partner, your children.” Don’t be afraid to unplug, even if it’s temporary.
Pick one or more things to try and share your responses in our private Facebook Group Vibrance for Life. Get out and have some fun and try new ways to reduce stress, gain resilience, improve innovation, creativity and productivity and improve your overall health.