How to Stress Less
Work is piling up, your child has a fever, and your mechanic says your car trouble is serious. You can’t always prevent stressful events, but you can learn to find calm in the storm. “Stress doesn’t just affect your mood,” says Edith Jones-Poland, M.D., a family practice physician with Hi-Desert Medical Center. “It can contribute to everything from skin problems, to stomach trouble, to heart failure.” Consider taking up one (or more) or these practices to find your way to a calmer place:
T’ai Chi: Go with the Flow
T’ai chi ch’uan—also called t’ai chi—is a series of graceful, meditative movements and poses. In t’ai chi, you learn to coordinate your body’s movements with breathing your, which concentrates your focus and calms the mind. T’ai chi has been shown to reduce stress, and research shows that it may also help alleviate depression, boost energy and improve sleep.
Yoga: Strike a Pose
Yoga helps you retrain your automatic stress reaction and create a sense of calmness. In fact, a study recently published in the Journal of Medical Hypotheses found that yoga practitioners are less likely to suffer from a range of stress-related health problems. “There are many types of yoga, but if your primary goal is to alleviate stress, choose a style that also includes meditation, like Kundalini,” Dr. Jones-Poland suggests.
Get Going: Work It Out
Exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s also great for your mental state. Exercise focuses your mind on your body’s movements and helps you shed the day’s cares. And rigorous activities like a run, a hike, or a game of tennis help spur your production of your brain’s feel-good endorphins.
To begin an exercise program—and stick with it—start slowly by setting manageable goals.
Schedule your workout in your calendar, just like any other appointment, so you’ll stick with your plan. To stay motivated, pair up with a workout buddy or take a fun exercise class like Zumba. And create a reward system for yourself. Made it through your first week of exercising? Treat yourself to a movie or a massage.
Stressful events don’t have to control you. Adopting healthy habits can go a long way toward soothing frazzled nerves and promoting peace of mind.