Did you know that six in 10 American adults regularly experience stress due to work or finances? Since the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic, these numbers have grown even higher. Almost everyone experiences stress from time to time. However, stress that’s left untreated, or allowed to fester, can manifest physically.
Over time, stress can cause a variety of neuro-musculoskeletal problems, including:
Stress can also negatively affect your mental health. If you’re stressed out, you’re also more likely to experience feelings of depression, anxiety or overwhelmedness.
Life is stressful and has lots of uncertainties. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. There are several easy, at-home practices you can implement to lower your stress levels and improve your quality of life.
1.) Lay off the caffeine. Many of us like to drink coffee, soda or energy drinks, but these beverages are loaded with caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make feelings of anxiety or tension much worse. If you’re stressed out, try sticking to water or herbal teas. For example, teas that contain chamomile, kava or lavender are scientifically proven to encourage relaxation and a sense of general well-being.
2.) Meditate. Meditation is a mindfulness practice that can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation practice, you try to focus on the present moment. This helps clear the jumble of thoughts and stressors that run through your mind during the day. You can meditate on your own or participate in a guided meditation. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate. Check out this guide from the Mayo Clinic for beginners.
3.) Breathe deeply. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, set aside 10 minutes to practice some deep breathing. Clinical studies show that breathing deeply triggers certain neurons in your brain. These neurons tell your body it’s time to relax. Close your mouth and breathe in deeply through your nose, counting to four. Next, exhale deeply through your mouth. Repeat this process several times, until your heart slows and you can focus.