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8 Ways to Release Stress From Your Body

Stress is an inevitable part of life. While a little bit of stress can motivate us to take action, too much stress over an extended period of time can take a major toll on our mental and physical health. When we feel stressed, our bodies produce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. While these hormones help us react quickly in the face of perceived threats, having consistently high levels of them can lead to inflammation, high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression and more.

The good news is there are many effective ways to relieve stress so it doesn’t accumulate and cause damage. Here are 8 healthy ways to get stress out of your body:

  1. Exercise. One of the best ways to relieve stress is through physical activity. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins which are “feel good” chemicals that improve mood and reduce stress. Any form of exercise can help, so choose something you enjoy – go for a jog, take a dance class, lift weights or try yoga. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day.
  2. Meditate. Meditation is essentially concentrated relaxation. It trains our minds to focus and reduces racing or anxious thoughts. Starting a regular meditation practice – even just 5-10 minutes per day – can dramatically reduce stress over time. There are many types of meditation, like guided imagery, mindfulness and mantra meditation. Find one that resonates with you.
  3. Get a massage. Massage therapy helps relax tense muscles, increase blood flow, boost endorphin levels and put the body in a deeply relaxed state. Schedule a professional massage or do self-massage. Massaging pressure points on the hands and feet can be especially calming.
  4. Take relaxing baths. A nice, long soak in the tub can melt stress away. Add Epsom salts to your bath as the magnesium helps relax muscles. Scent your bath with lavender oil which has calming effects. Light some candles to set a relaxing ambiance.
  5. Spend time in nature. Getting out into nature is an easy way to hit the reset button when stressed. Take a walk through the woods, sit by a lake or ocean, or simply spend time caring for houseplants. Nature has a way of making our problems feel small and more manageable.
  6. Listen to music. Music has the power to regulate our nervous system and emotions. Soft, soothing music can induce deep relaxation. Create playlists for relaxing or making stressful tasks like driving in traffic more pleasant. Singing along can boost mood too.
  7. Unplug from technology. Information overload from our devices is a huge contributor to stress. Set boundaries and limits for social media, email and screen time. Power down all devices at least one hour before bed for better sleep. Unplugging regularly helps us reset.
  8. Laugh it off. Laughter really is good medicine when it comes to stress. Watch a funny show, read an amusing book, spend time with friends who make you laugh. Laughter releases tension and floods your system with feel-good endorphins that counteract stress chemicals.

The next time you notice stress building up, try one or more of these techniques to clear your mind, relax your body, and restore a sense of calm. Making stress relief a regular habit can greatly improve your ability to manage stress overall.