Since we’ve been focusing all month on the various negative impacts of stress on your skin, we thought we would close out Stress Awareness Month by filling you in on some of the best ways to keep your stress levels in check. Here are 11 easy ways to de-stress:
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Taking a short walk will help boost endorphins and reduce cortisol, the horrid stress hormone that threatens our health. If you can go for a stroll in a green space, like a park, even better. One study showed that walking in green spaces is more meditative than in others.
Deep breathing exercises are a great way to quickly calm down and relieve tension. It tricks your brain into thinking you’re relaxed, because you naturally breathe deeper and slower when you really are relaxed. Neat!
We’re not talking potato chips or blueberry muffins here. Eat something good for you, and take the time to enjoy it. Bananas lead the way for being high in tryptophan and potassium, which make you feel happy and regulate blood pressure, respectively. On the other hand, treating yourself to something sweet has been shown in studies to decrease stress hormones. So after a stressful day of work, reward yourself with a piece of chocolate (but just one!).
Just taking a few minutes to imagine yourself in a peaceful place has been shown to put your mind at ease. Visualize yourself on vacation at the beach or skiing in the mountains, whatever scene you fancy most. Imagining yourself accomplishing a dream can also give you a feeling of bliss.
Having a plant or two near you will do more than just give you some fresher air. They can actually make you feel better, reducing fatigue, headaches and more. Time to put some green in your office.
Information overload is a big-time stress inducer. Turn off your phone, your laptop, tablet, TV, radio… everything you have that could produce a light or sound and just look at the back of your eyelids for a few minutes. You’ll be surprised at how freeing it really is.
Indeed, laughter is the best medicine. A good laugh fills your body with oxygen, stimulates your muscles and increases endorphins in your brain. Spend some time with your hilarious best friend, watch your favorite cat video on YouTube (but don’t get caught in a cat video vortex for hours), go to a comedy show; just do something that makes you LOL.
Classical music has been shown to calm people, but listening to any of your favorite songs can release dopamine and reduce anxiety. So if rolling down the windows and blaring Pat Benatar clears your worried mind and puts a smile on your face, by all means—do it.
Nothing releases endorphins like a good workout. And this doesn’t mean you have to throw around some weights or run till your death on the treadmill (though those aren’t frowned upon), but rather, do something you really enjoy. Dance in your living room. Release your inner Venus (or Serena) in a game of tennis. Even getting intimate with your spouse has been proven as both a great form of exercise and an effective stress-reliever.
Counting as a triple dose of exercise, meditation, and breathing exercise, Yoga’s all the rave. It’s one of the oldest stress-reducing practices around. Everyone’s doing it, so why not give it a try? Can you say “vinyāsa”? (We can’t.)
Distracting yourself from the stress by focusing on something easy and repetitive is a great tactic. Painting, sewing, crafting—all good practices. One M.D. highly promotes knitting. All in all, do what makes you happy.
Now, doesn’t that feel better? You’re probably smiling already. At Theraderm Clinical Skin Care, we think there’s nothing sweeter than a smile. And to help keep yours looking its best, we’re introducing the Smile Set to make your lips plump, hydrated and more defined. It makes a perfect Mother’s Day gift. So go get ya one while there’s still time!