If there’s one thing we surely have more than enough of, it’s stress. Waiting in line at the grocery store, the early morning traffic jam, the annoying noise of construction drills from across the street, the tension of waiting for that call – these are all just some of the most common situations we’ve all experienced almost daily. But they take a toll on your patience and mental capacity to enjoy life.
And precisely for that reason, to restore joy and emotional balance in your life, you can use your imagination and start creating your own stress-relieving strategy. Perhaps even more importantly, you will also enrich your life with a few invaluable skills every time you give yourself the freedom to move out of your comfort zone and learn something new.
1. Bust some moves
Whether it’s the frisky salsa, the modest waltz or the fiery tango, dancing has been shown to help your body produce that feel-good chemical also known as serotonin, which elevates your mood. Not to mention the added perk of forming new neural connections, better balance and those wonderful clumsy moments when you cannot resist giggling.
However, you don’t have to take a class or have a partner to reap the rewards. It’s more than enough to play some of your favorite tunes, and let the music inspire you to move, sing and loosen up. Just the melody and lyrics can do wonders for your wellbeing, let alone the actual dance improvisation.
2. Laugh it off
Seems too funny to be true? The simplest of all solutions is most often the best one for your wellbeing, and so is the case with your burst of genuine laughter. Inspired by a movie, a solid stand-up show or yet another cat video, it makes no difference to your brain, as long as it leads to firing up and then instantly cooling your stress response system.
A good laugh helps your muscles relax, your blood pressure rise, and keeps you in good spirits, including your lingering smile that shows the persistent feeling of joy after an honest chuckle. It can even serve as a perfect painkiller and a way to anchor yourself in a happy moment.
3. Skate your worries away
Do you remember that carefree feeling when you were a child and blue skies, an empty road and a rusty bike were all it took to make you jump with joy? Hoping that this child still lives within you, all it takes is some creativity to encourage your childlike happiness of learning new skills, or perhaps refreshing old ones.
Cruising down the street or in your nearest skate park can be one hell of an exercise for your body and your mind, while restoring that pure childlike joy within you. And much like building your favorite model planes out of dozens of little pieces is surprisingly rewarding, getting creative with your skateboard hardware can be equally exhilarating and soothing at the same time.
4. Play fetch
Perhaps walking your furry friend is more than enough to be your perfect stress-relief. Then again, adding that extra dimension of freedom and playfulness can’t hurt, so why not throw a frisbee or a ball? Even if they aren’t too enthusiastic about the first throw, your pooch is sure to wiggle and cuddle their way to your heart.
Their sheer presence is known to be beneficial for our long-term health, from preventing cardiovascular issues, to helping people cope with stressful life events through affection and support. Even if you’re more of a cat or a horse person, time spent with your four-legged buddies is an incredible stress-relief on its own.
5. One breath at a time
In the wise words of Freddie Mercury, we all seem to be travelling at the speed of light these days, and this hectic tempo can wreak havoc on your mindset and your health in the long-run. Whether you would prefer to slow down with the help of physically more demanding activities such as yoga, or devote your time to mastering mindful meditation alone, either way your body will be forever grateful.
The beauty of this technique is primarily in its unparalleled simplicity – no matter where you are, who you might be with or what the situation is, you can take a moment to dive into your own breath and focus only on the inner workings of your energy. It will lower your blood pressure, and within a matter of minutes, your stress levels will dwindle.
Too often we think that finding balance and relieving stress has to be difficult. Why not try these simple activities and let your experience be the judge!