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Safeguard Your Happiness with Stress Relievers

Feeling Less Overwhelmed Leaves More Room For Happiness

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Updated July 01, 2012

Safeguard Your Happiness with Stress Relievers
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From traffic to job stress to bills and kids, most of us face many stressors throughout the day. Our bodies react to this stress with the fight or flight response, which alters different functions in our bodies temporarily so we have a jolt of energy we can use to fight or run from a perceived threat. While this in itself isn’t a problem for our health, many of us repeatedly experience this response throughout the day with an absence of accompanying calmness, resulting in chronic stress and a constant hyper-arousal of our body’s stress response. (Simply put: our bodies always think they’re in danger, and this can cause a great deal of wear and tear.) Over time, we end up more susceptible to illness, both mental and physical, as a result, and the experience of all this stress (let alone the health problems that can result from it) can hinder our happiness. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to calm your body quickly and counteract your body’s stress response so that your body has a chance to recover from daily stresses and you feel more at peace. The following short-term stress relievers can be quite helpful:
  • Breathing Exercises: Take a few deep breaths. Breathing in ‘relaxation’ and breathing out the stress you feel, and expanding your diaphragm (rather than lifting your shoulders) as you breathe can help you to feel calm very quickly. This is a great one to try, as it can be done anywhere at any time, and requires no special equipment.
  • Reframing: Reframe your experience. A lot of the stress we feel has to do with our perception of what’s going on—remember, the fight or flight response is triggered by perceived threat, not actual threat. If you can get into the practice of viewing more experiences as challenges rather than threats, you can remain calm and interested in finding a solution, rather than stressed and scattered.
  • Take a Break: If you give yourself a few minutes to talk down and clear your head, you can often calm down your physiology. Taking a short walk changes your scenery, gets your blood circulating, and helps blow off steam, so this can be a beneficial way to take a break. However, just allowing a little space between you and what stresses you can often allow you to calm down and feel more prepared to deal.
In addition to these 'quick fix' strategies, it's also vital to have some regular stress relieving practices, so that you feel less stressed overall, and the little things don't impact you as much. The following are some of the best stress relief habits for overall stress management.
  • Meditation: You have probably already heard of meditation as a useful stress management technique, and for good reason: meditation offers benefits for people while it's being practiced, but some evidence shows that it can also provide protective benefits so that future stresses don't bother you as much. Coupled with the fact that meditation can be done by virtually anyone, anywhere, the practice of meditation is a very useful stress management technique!
  • Yoga: Yoga had many health-promoting benefits, so it's great for your body and your mind. Yoga can combine the benefits of meditation, breathing exercises and exercise, and provides a way to get into a different frame of mind and just feel good in the end.

  • Music: For very busy people, even a more passive stress relief activity like listening to music can provide some useful stress management benefits overall. Music affects your body as well as your frame of mind, and can help you feel less stressed as you go about your other activities. Playing it in the morning as you get ready, in the car as you commute, or when you get home and unwind from a stressful day can all contribute to overall stress relief.
These are just a few of the many stress management options available. For stress relievers that are more targeted to your tastes and lifestyle, you can take the Stress Reliever Personality Test, which will ask you a few questions about yourself and provide you with a list of recommended stress relievers. You can also find other free ongoing stress reduction resources on this site. Happy stress relieving!

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