Ways to relax for National Stress Awareness Month

By By Lydia Boggess
Winfield High School
REBEKAH KAMBARA | George Washington High School

Have you been feeling stressed lately? Do you ever have to stop, take a deep breath and try your best not to explode? You are not alone.

Stress is such a problem that in 1992, National Stress Awareness Month was created. It takes place every April.

What is stress exactly? By definition, it’s a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. WebMD says it is “the body’s reaction to a harmful situation whether real or perceived.”

When people are put in stressful circumstances, their body starts to fatigue. On the emotional side, they become agitated, frustrated and moody; they may even avoid others or feel lonely, worthless and depressed.

A lot of people tend to feel like they are losing control and have difficulty relaxing. In some cases, they become disorganized or forgetful. They procrastinate or are unable to focus.

On the physical side, they may have less energy or frequent headaches. They may experience tense muscles or chest pain, insomnia, nervousness or a rapid heartbeat. In more intense cases, they can even suffer a loss of appetite or increased use of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes.

Does this sound good to you? Does it sound healthy? Not one bit. However, many people have these symptoms so often they become accustomed to them and don’t even realize they are there. Stress could be destroying their body without them even knowing it.

Just take a minute right now to stop what you are doing and analyze yourself as a whole. Do you experience any of those symptoms? Have you been feeling or acting those ways? If so, then it is time for a change.

Here are 10 simple ways you can relieve stress in your everyday life:

can do it will always help restore your confidence.

3. Eat healthy: Many people don’t realize this, but what you eat affects how you feel. If you are filling yourself with positive foods such as fruits and vegetables and receiving the proper nutrients from those, then you will start to a feel a change. You need all the essential vitamins you can get, and junk foods just won’t cut it.

4. Breath easy: When you feel pressure bogging you down, simply stop and take a deep breath. Try it now. Just stop, take a deep breath in and let it out. Don’t you feel much better? Take time to breathe slowly and deeply to absorb that oxygen. It is good for your lungs and your brain.

5. Laugh it off: This may be easier said than done, but try it once in a while. Laughter releases endorphins that decrease the level of stress-causing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline while also improving your mood.

6. Drink green tea: Teas or other drinks with caffeine can give you short-term relief, but green tea is much healthier and more beneficial. It contains theanine, an amino acid that is known to soothe the nervous system.

7. Exercise: Even if it is just for a minute, exercise keeps the blood moving and, like laughter, releases endorphins that make your body feel better.

8. Get more sleep: Many people don’t realize how little sleep they get and how much they really need, but they should. Lack of sleep is very dangerous and can cause your body to become out of sync. Every person should get at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night.

Think of unnecessary things you can cut to make this goal achievable. It may mean turning off the TV a little earlier or not reading Twitter and Facebook for so long, but either way, remove things that won’t benefit you and make time for things that will.

9. Try a meditative activity: Take up yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates or even just regular meditation. These can incorporate physical and mental exercises, and with consistency, they can change your life in the long term.

10. Be mindful: Recognize your stress, and don’t ignore it. When you find yourself getting stressed, be proactive and make a change. The results will not only make you feel better but set you on a path to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

So take this month, and be aware. Stress is serious; you need to know what it will do to you and how to prevent it. Remember that every day is a new day, and it is up to you to go out there and embrace it.

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