From someone that gets frustrated and anxious quite easily, I know how difficult it is to get out of a stress-induced funk. Luckily, I have found some ways that personally help me to calm down, relax and focus on the good. Below is a list of ways to help alleviate feelings of stress, sadness, anxiety or any other reason you might be feeling low.
Running/Exercise — Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety-induced feelings. While some prefer working out, my exercise of choice is running. I find that when I run, I feel happier throughout the day. When you run, chemicals are released throughout your body. Endorphins are hormones that block pain and elevate mood; these are released when you run. Some runners notice that they feel a type of “runner’s high” either while they are running or after. This high is due to the endorphins being released during exercise. The individual experiences elevated feelings of happiness, helping reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, when an individual runs, the endocannabinoid system of the body is activated. This is the same area of the brain that is activated in someone that has consumed cannabis. Contrary to the drug, running produces the same high, but naturally.
Taking a Hot Shower — When I am stressed or anxious, I have found that taking a hot shower can make me feel instantly better. Turns out, there is some science behind this. Hot water relaxes muscles in the body that can often be strained due to stress. Additionally, hot water activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and relaxation. Your heart rate slows down when you shower and works to calm you down. In addition, having great shower products enhances the benefits of showering. Certain smells, such as lavender or chamomile, can help relax the mind. Having products that make me feel fresh and clean when I am feeling down have really helped me.
Reading a Book — Sometimes curling up with a good book is just what you need to destress. Reading before bed, or really any time at all, can help the brain wind down and relax. There is something about holding a printed book, opposed to a device, that helps me calm down. Immersing myself in a world other than the one we live in can help me forget about what I was stressed about. Even taking a trip to the book store can help some to destress. I enjoy buying books just as much as I enjoy reading them, to be completely honest.
Watch a Comfort Show — A great way to calm down after a stressful or anxious day is to put your phone away, put your favorite tv show or movie on, and grab your favorite snack. For me, I like to watch Gilmore Girls, a Disney movie or Harry Potter. These things calm me down because they are familiar to me. Might as well get some comfort food to go with it, too. I prefer some Chick-fil-A, or maybe some Chipotle…ice cream wouldn’t hurt either.
Moral of the story: don’t let a bad day define you. There are many ways to combat negative feelings. As Walt Disney said, “Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.”