Chronic stress affects millions of people across the globe. While stress is a normal response to danger and necessary from a biological perspective, it is possible to become trapped in a deeply problematic spiral of ever-increasing stress. Stress can be caused by relationship issues, financial loss, addictive behaviors, related psychological conditions like depression, or traumatic life experiences. Certain levels of stress are normal and even tolerable, but when they get out of control, they can cause physical symptoms like digestive issues, aches and pains, and difficulty concentrating. There are several well-documented strategies for naturally reducing stress without the need for medication. Here are a few of the best stress-melting activities you can begin to practice today.
Whatever the leisure activity, from shooting pool to fishing, the object is to focus the mind on an outside task and give a person some time to “unwind’. Circular thinking where a stressed person rehashes the same thoughts over and over, brooding over them, is a hallmark of stress and eliminating that endless feedback loop is vital for de-stressing. Hot tubbing is a great leisure activity to do when you’re stressed. Keep in mind that high quality and well maintained hot tubs can last 15-25 years, so choose a reliable hot tub that will last. The better manufacturers offer in-home installation, so the process of getting one set up in your home is a breeze.
Exercise reduces stress by opening the floodgates for a type of happy hormone called endorphins. Endorphins trigger deep relaxation in people who exercise. This phenomenon has often been called a “runner’s high” because of its sometimes blissful effects. A simple routine of 30 minutes of cardio (running or bicycling) can be enough to release a heart supply of endorphins and boost your mood.
A huge component of most meditation traditions is letting go of repetitive thinking that does not lead anywhere productive. Quieting the mind is one of the goals of meditation, to promote a state of being that does not include obsessive considerations such as balancing busy schedules or reliving trauma. Meditation has become increasingly popular in the West and most big cities have several centers with teachers who can possibly bring healing from stress.
Any activity that engages the mind in productive new ways to alter patterns of thought can bring about a positive change by disrupting the regular practices of the mind that result in stress.
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