Stress is referred to as the modern worlds leading health problem. Studies show that the stress levels that people are subjected to and are experiencing are worsening year after year. This assertion is backed up by the numerous surveys that show how the general public believes that they are under much more stress than a decade ago.
Furthermore, there have also been studies that have found that an estimated 75 to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems. This goes to show that although we are well aware of the presence of stress in our lives, most of us are not able to effectively manage or control it.
3 Essential Stress Relief Methods You Need To Learn
To help you keep your stress within healthy levels, I have put together a couple of stress relief methods that include cognitive, affective and physical strategies:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is one of the most widely-used physical stress relief strategy. Its name may make it seem complicated but this very effective stress buster is actually a very simple process. All you need to do is systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body systematically in a set sequence.
The most widely used sequence run as follows: Right foot, left foot, right calf, left calf, right thigh, left thigh, hips and buttocks, stomach, chest, back, right arm and hand, left arm and hand, neck and shoulders and face.
Through repetitive practice you quickly learn to recognize the feeling of a tensed muscle and a completely relaxed muscle. With this simple knowledge, you can then induce physical muscular relaxation at the first signs of the tension that accompanies stress and anxiety.
By its name you know that this strategy is related to cognitive or mental stress relief. By definition, cognitive restructuring is a process by which an individual learns to change his irrational or maladaptive thoughts. This method is effective in reducing the stress in your life as it can help you identify, challenge and alter the stressful thinking that fuels your stress response.
Cognitive restructuring can help you replace these stress-inducing thoughts with a more flexible, more accurate, less rigid, less stress-inducing thinking style. Cognitive restructuring is a somewhat complicated process, some people can learn it by themselves while others need the help of a professional. But the basic principle behind the entire process is mindfulness of your thoughts and their rationality.
For the affective stress relief method, I chose the good old ”self expression”. A lot of people are highly stressed because they do not allow themselves the express what they are feeling inside.
Learn to express yourself whenever something or someone is bothering you laugh, cry and be emotional whenever you need to. But just remember to communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way and to act in a way that is not destructive to anyone else.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, there is no way to totally get rid of it. But the good news is, you really do not need to. Although high levels of stress can be harmful to your health, the right amount of stress can spice up your life and even push you to do greater things. So the key to living a happy life is not totally getting rid of stress but learning to manage it effectively.