2018 Summer Programs

2018 Summer Programs
Click on the image to register

Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Quick, Easy Ways to Relieve Stress

Sometimes it all becomes too much. Between school, extracurricular activities, work, and other obligations, the stress and responsibilities can just be a little too straining. If you want to de-stress without spending a lot of time or money, try these simple techniques:

1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
This technique involves tensing each muscle group, starting from the head to the toes (or the other way). You hold each muscle group for 8-10 seconds before adding tension to another group. Once you have tensed all of your muscles, you then relax all the muscles at once. By forcing your muscles to relax, you force other relaxation responses in the body (deeper breathing, lower heartbeat and blood pressure, etc.) Although difficult to execute, it is effective if you only have a few minutes to spare.

2. Listen to music (or maybe nature sounds?)
Or you could watch the Hotline Bling video
for some laughs. 
Listening to music may reduce stress by shortening the stress response, which is done in two ways. The first is by reducing levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme found in saliva that is released during stress. The second is by lowering levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps cause stress. However, these effects help stop stress after the stressful situation is over. To reduce stress while still in the stressful situation, research has shown that ambient nature sounds may be more helpful.

Child's Pose
3. Light Yoga:
No, this doesn't mean go buy a yoga mat and sign up for a class at the YMCA. By performing simple poses and employing controlled breathing techniques, anyone can reap the stress relieving effects of yoga (more specifically, reduced blood pressure and cortisol levels.) Some easy poses suitable for beginners include the eagle pose, child's pose, and my favourite, corpse pose. 

4. Don't Perceive Stress as a Bad Thing 
Hear me out: while not technically a way to relieve stress, perceiving stress as beneficial may help prevent serious health problems. As Kelly McGonigal explains in her TED talk, "How to Make Stress Your Friend", people who see stress as helpful do not harm their cardiovascular systems in their stress response as  much as those who perceive stress as bad. If this change of perspective seems impossible, she also recommends caring for others and seeking social support.

I hope you find this list helpful when prepping for the endless amounts of standardized tests or preparing for your next presentation. Feel free to leave some of your own stress relief techniques in the comments!     

Written by Jenna M., Homework Assistant 

No comments:

Post a Comment