Relax & Refresh: Squash Stress with These Tips

Work obligations, social anxiety and a stressful family life can lead you down a path of unhappiness and even hopelessness. However, there are many strategies to de-stress that doctors and even celebrities vouch for. Here are some tips you can use when you’re overwhelmed and stressed out.

Meditation

You may think of meditation as new-age mumbojumbo, or hippy-dippy mysticism, but it has helped thousands let go of emotions brought on by stress. Director of cult classic television show, Twin Peaks, David Lynch knows all about meditation. “Things like traumatic stress and anxiety and tension and sorrow and depression and hate and bitter, selfish anger and fear start to lift away,” Lynch told The New York Times, about his Transcendental Meditation practice. Neuroscientists have even studied the human brain while individuals meditated and found that the brain physically changes, and the part of the brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, becomes less active. People who suffer from intense anxiety have very active amygdalas, so a healthy meditation habit can help with moderate and intense stress.

Visuals & Space

Many meditation experts say that happiness is self created from within the mind. But the outside world, especially your surroundings, can also have an immense impact on your mental and emotional health. A beautiful living space can relax you just as a trip to the beach can. Decorate your space with fragrant flowers, delicate colors, and indoor plants. Live plants cut down on carbon monoxide, which enhances the air quality in your house or apartment. If you color coordinate your home, it is also more aesthetically pleasing. When you have a clean and uncluttered space you will find that you feel less frazzled and more relaxed.

Exercise

Perhaps the most accessible remedy for moderate or severe stress is exercise. Whether you go for a run or a bike ride, like to pump iron at the gym, or enjoy laps in a pool, physical activity relieves stress. While millions of Americans use exercise as a relaxation technique, few are more famous perhaps than First Lady Michelle Obama. In an interview with Marie Claire back in 2008 while on the campaign trail, she divulged that hitting the gym with her favorite tunes and bike rides with her daughters are her favorite ways to relax after a tense or stressful day.

Art

Creativity can help you relax. Your creation can be a manifestation of your stress or a ward against it. Art comes in all shapes and sizes. For instance, if you have some land, start a garden. Maintaining a garden can bring you into the present moment. Leave your worries about the future, or your frustrations concerning the past behind as you nurture a flower, food, or hybrid garden.

If you’re more interested in traditional art, then you can paint, work with your hands and clay, or keep a creative journal. All of these mediums of art let you work out your stress, transfer it to another object, and keep you in the present moment. While Brad Pitt might not use a traditional art for relaxation, a relaxing hobby of his is architecture.

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