Life is stressful. That is not debatable. From work responsibilities to family obligations and everything in between, there are a number of reasons each day for people to feel stress and anxiety. Although stress is a given, stress is not a state that people must constantly live in. Finding ways to relax is a very individual process, so it is not the same for everyone. But there are practices and activities that commonly work to lift the weight of stress from most people.
Sometimes the only thing to do to alleviate stress is to literally be removed from it. For some, it is impossible to relax when the stress of life is literally right in front of them or down the road or even in the same country. For these people, taking some sort of physical trip away from what is causing them stress is necessary. There are a number of ways to do this. It can be as simple as taking a walk away from the office at lunch or as grand as taking a Mediterranean cruise for a week or two. For those who need to create physical distance, it is important that they discover the big and small ways to separate themselves from stressors in order to relax.
Do Something Enjoyable
For others, physical distance is not enough. They need to be actively doing something that they enjoy such as a hobby or physical activity that brings them pleasure like running or playing a sport or game. Engaging in something that brings enjoyment is a way to not only separate the body from the stressors of life but also the mind. However, it is important not to mistake engaging the mind with an enjoyable hobby or the mind and body in physical activity with mere distraction. The mind can be distracted from one stressor while simply engaging with or finding another stressor. This is why there is little relief from stress when scrolling through web pages or social media. The mind is distracted from the immediate stressors of life, only to be bombarded with distant stressors of others’ lives and the world in general. Distraction and relaxation are not synonymous and simply distracting or replacing stressors with other stressors should be avoided.
Engage the Mind
However, there are ways to engage the mind in order to relax that does not involve simply employing distraction. Reading is one such activity that can help alleviate stress. Reading a book, magazine, e-book, or even audiobook are all effective methods of relaxing. Choosing texts that are on a subject or in a genre that one enjoys allows individuals to immerse their minds in something that distances them from the stresses of life and fills that time with information, stories, and ideas that nurture the mind and regenerate a person. This does not mean that people must read books or articles on self-improvement. Reading as a practice is simply a great way to allow the mind to focus on something other than the things that are causing stress and instead focus on a text that might inform but also might simply entertain, and that is okay.
One of the simplest ways to regularly help a person not only relax but improve overall health, in general, is to go outside. Being out in the natural world and in the sun helps improve people’s moods and helps them to relax. This is true whether a person is “outdoorsy” or not. The benefits are for everyone. This is an easy yet often overlooked tool for reducing stress but it is extremely effective.
There are undoubtedly many other effective ways to reduce stress in life. These are simply a few suggestions. Whatever the method, or methods, people choose to apply in their lives, it is important that everyone understand that one size does not fit all and should try different practices to discover what works for them. Additionally, people should not give up after the stress is not relieved on one try. In order to discover the efficacy of a method will require a fair amount of time to be committed before deciding to move on to another idea. People do not have to resign themselves to being overly stressed. It may take a bit of effort to relax, but it is well worth it.