Spell it: Here’s what science says you should do to beat stress

Although some level of anxiety is considered normal and even necessary, in order to realize that something is wrong or might need our attention, stress can also create an overwhelming response. Results of a 2018 UK-based Mental Health Foundation study found that 74% of people said they felt so stressed they were unable to cope.

Managing stress is often a challenge for most of us. Here are some proven ways to deal with stress, before it becomes something we can’t handle:

1. Breathe

Invoke the relaxation response in your body, through a technique commonly used in meditation and yoga: deep breathing. Studies have proven that deep breathing – where air enters through your nose and completely fills your lungs, with your lower abdomen rising – is an effective way to unwind and relax your body. According to Harvard Medical School’s US website, it can slow heart rate and stabilize blood pressure.

2. Talk

Talking to someone you trust about your problems can help relieve stress. A July 2017 study published in the British journal Scientific Reports found that even talking to yourself in the third person reduced anxiety. The action helped people gain some psychological distance from their experiences, which proved helpful in regulating emotions.

3. Walk

A short walk around the block can help take your mind off stressors. A 2018 study published in the international journal Health Promotion Perspectives found that walking for just 10 minutes improves mood in young adults, compared to no activity at all. It had the same effect as a short period of meditation!

4. Chew

Chewing gum is known to be a powerful stress reliever. According to the American Institute of Stress, recent studies have shown that it reduces muscle tension and anxiety. This is why the US military has included gum in combat rations since World War I, and sports trainers and managers are often seen on television vigorously chewing gum to relieve their pent up tension.

5. Block with music

Music has been a huge hit as a stress relief tool. A November 2020 study published in the journal Health Psychology Review found that music lowers heart rate and cortisol levels, releases feel-good endorphins, and even helps you fall asleep. Overall, it improves our sense of well-being.

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