Reduce stress and anxiety levels with these simple exercises
The National Institute of Mental Health (United States) defines stress as the brain's response to any demand. There is no reference to anything good or bad, just a simple statement of facts.In fact, there are studies that have shown that the human brain goes through a series of stress reactions. These reactions, some good and some bad, are designed to develop your ability to mobilize and protect yourself from inherent threats. In fact, stress within certain limits is also known to sharpen the mind, responses, and memory of events. Stress, in fact, ensures that we feel alive at all times. It also provides us with motivation, challenging us to learn, grow and create.
Cortisol, also known as the built-in alarm system of the human body, is a by-product of stress in the body. It is best known for fueling the fight or flight reaction of the human body. However, when the body remains in a constant fighting mode due to continued stress, that's where the problems start. High perpetual stress leads us to eat more fatty foods, as it helps the body prepare for dangerous situations; our heart rate increases as the body needs a constant supply of oxygen to fight, causing problems such as high blood pressure and increased strain on the heart; and the muscles remain continuously tense, causing back and neck pain.
Managing stress is therefore important and the solution comes from our own minds!
Below are a few ways to do this.
Sleep We accumulate stress throughout the day, and sleep is the time we recover and prepare for the next day. Think about it, when we don't exercise or meditate, what leads us to recover from stress? The answer is sleep! Therefore, good sleep quality becomes important. Relaxing before bed with a warm bath, reducing exposure to blue light before bed, and eliminating caffeine intake at least 6 hours before bed are key to improving sleep quality.
Yoga and deep breathing
Due to the widespread awareness of Yoga and its benefits now, we have studies that prove the benefits that an individual can get from regular Yoga practice. Research shows that meditation leads to almost 3-4 times greater recovery from stress compared to recovery achieved in sleep. Meditation is like a turbocharger! Techniques like Yog Nidra, which involves drawing your attention to different parts of the body, take away the focus on stressors, causing deep relaxation. With breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, abdominal breathing, and accelerated breathing, one can enjoy a better awareness of their breathing, making it slower and deeper. This helps lower your heart rate, allowing you to feel calmer.
Those who exercise regularly can relieve mental stress and are less likely to experience anxiety. Physical activity increases the production of neurotransmitters in the brain to feel good, endorphins that improve mood and act as natural pain relievers. A round of healthy exercise every day also ensures better sleep quality that deepens the body's mental and physical recovery.
Time with loved ones
Being part of a real, not virtual, social network is key to recovery in times of stress. Humans are social animals and we have evolved to feel happiness in the company of our loved ones. Talking to loved ones, having a sense of belonging, spending time with children are proven methods of relieving stress.
slap on the back
Charity begins at home! And also forgiveness and compassion. It is extremely crucial to love yourself and be kind to yourself. Don't be too critical of your actions or thoughts. In fact, pat yourself on the back every time you feel like you've accomplished something. What matters is what the person in the mirror thinks of you and your actions!
While these are some tried and tested methods, you can also develop your own ways of dealing with stress, including writing your thoughts, self-positivity, spending time on a hobby, etc.
Let's get through stress and anxiety together, no matter what time we are in!
Contributions of Mudit Dandwate, co-founder, Dozee