Top 5 Ways to Reduce Stress…Without Food or Alcohol
Stress is not always a bad thing. In small doses it can ignite a fire that leaves us feeling motivated, focused and ambitious. However, too much stress can have the opposite effect and can leave us feeling anxious, depressed, tired and sick. Remaining in a constantly stressed state can lead to decreased immune function and can leave us overweight and sick.
Different people deal with stress differently, but for a lot of us we turn to alcohol or food to help us “feel good”. Unfortunately this feeling is only temporary, if at all, and often leaves us feeling worse afterwards.
There are many ways to help reduce stress that don’t involve food or alcohol, here are my top 5!
- Less is More - Taking some time to get rid of clutter can be very helpful when managing stress. When our environment screams chaos it sends a message to our brain that we interpret as “life is out of control”. This only leads to more stress. For a lot of people clutter and mess leads to procrastination, which in turn leads to more stress. Here are 3 strategies to help de-clutter your life:
- Pick one small project and complete it before moving on to another one
- Decide if it’s useful or beautiful, if it is neither then it serves no purpose in your life, get rid of it!
- If you feel like you can’t get rid of it, put it in a box with an expiration date. If you haven’t opened that box by the date you chose, either donate it or throw it away.
2) Listen to Music - Music has the ability to give context to our emotions. It is also a great distraction from life’s stressors. Listening to music that means something to you and that calms you down can help lower your heart rate reduce blood pressure and make you feel like everything is going to be ok. The cool thing about this one is it can happen anywhere - while you are answering emails, showering, cooking, working out or driving in your car.
3) Get Outside - being outside and enjoying nature has long lasting effects on mood and stress levels. Surrounding yourself with nature can help calm you down and help you put things into perspective.
4) Surround Yourself with Good People - creating a tribe of people that have your back during tough times, know how to make you feel better and keep you laughing is important. A good laugh and knowing you are supported can put a completely different light on something that you viewed as negative. Surrounding yourself with people who make you happy will actually keep you healthy and happy.
5) Exercise - Exercise released happy endorphins, makes you feel strong and allows you to release your stress in a physical way. Doing it often will keep you happier and healthier and will allow you to manage daily stress in a much more productive way.
Life can be tough sometimes. It is easy to turn to food or alcohol for a quick fix and instant pick me up, but there are better ways to stay happy and healthy and manage stress. Try these!
Live well, be well.