Stress is part of our everyday lives. In fact, some stress is good because it motivates us to accomplish our goals—but stress can also have a negative impact on our health, compromising our bodies, our minds and our behaviors. Caring for an aging loved one, or managing our own health issues, can add a great deal of stress to our lives. With April designated as Stress Awareness Month, now is a good time to focus on techniques that can help reduce stress, relaxing our bodies and even lowering blood pressure.
Following are nine tips that you can use daily to help reduce the stress in your life:
BREATHE: Close your eyes, inhale through your nose to a count of three and exhale though your mouth to a count of three. Repeat several times to calm your mind and body.
EXERCISE: Taking a walk, doing yoga or participating in any cardio exercise provides a great outlet to decrease stress and has the added benefit of helping your waistline, too!
MEDITATE: Add meditation to your daily routine. Just a few minutes per day can help reduce stress and clear your mind.
GET A MASSAGE: The power of touch reduces stress dramatically!
LISTEN TO MUSIC: Music affects the part of the brain that helps to relax us.
LAUGH: Laughter truly can be the best medicine. Laughter releases endorphins, which helps trigger feelings of pleasure.
GIVE OR GET A HUG: Again, touch can be soothing to our senses, and sharing that intimate touch can reduce stress tremendously.
GRAB A BOOK: Reading or playing cognitive games like word puzzles help provide a break from things that may be adding stress to your life.
TAKE BATH: Warm water relaxes the body—sink in, and feel your stress seep away!
These are just a few of many quick stress reduction techniques that you can do alone, or while caring for someone else. Of course, relaxation techniques are very individual, so do what works for you! Resolve to add one stress reduction technique to your routine each day, and you’ll notice a difference—mind, body and soul!
By Dawn Lettau, CTRS is Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack. For more information about the Gurwin Family of Healthcare Services, visit www.gurwin.org.