7 Ways to Keep Calm, With Science
We all have so much on our plate. Trying to balance the priorities of home and family with the daily stresses of a demanding job is something many struggle with on a daily basis. We’re overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, and it’s impacting our health.
(Photo Credit: Healthnewsnet/Flickr)
Learning to handle the copious amount of stress that permeates our lives is important in order to find the needed peace and strength to keep going. Also, increasing your ability to effectively cope with stress will make you healthier. Luckily, researchers are on the case, searching for ways to help us manage our stress and keep calm.
Here are some scientifically proven ways to reduce stress.
1. Get plenty of sleep.
There is always a lot of talk about sleep; this isn’t a new idea. But, lack of sleep can lead to impaired cognitive function, and certainly won’t support you throughout a long and stressful day, so it’s important to keep this point in mind. Try to make sleep a greater priority in your life. Seven hours a night will do wonders for your body and mind.
2. Get it out.
When you’re really stressed, it can be hard to just set that aside, back-burner your worries, and get some rest. Sometimes, you need a bit of a device to help you transition. Find a way to grapple with your stress so that you can get it out of your system and move on. Write it out, walk it out, talk it out, whatever you need to do to release and let it go for a few hours, before (ugh…), returning to the grind.
3. Try meditation, yoga, or another mindfulness practice.
Many people swear by the distressing effects of meditation or other relaxation techniques such as yoga. Physician and alternative medicine advocate, Deepak Chopra, recently led a meditation session on Capitol Hill in an attempt to reduce the stress levels of legislators and staffers. More and more, Americans are turning to these kinds of practices to manage their moods. So, look into some local course offerings, find something that appeals to you, and give it a try.
It’s not so much that email is inherently stressful, but the rushed pace of our workplace can cause a lot of tension and pressure. If you feel like you need to reply to any request or inquiry within an hour or so during the work day, you’re probably pushing a little too hard. Finding ways of slowing down the pace and reducing that feeling of urgency could make a big difference in terms of your stress. Try to pull back on the frequent email checking just a little, and see if it helps.
5. Look at something green.
I know it sounds kind of crazy, but color psychology is a real thing. Looking at the color green has been shown to reduce stress and tension. In many parts of the country, it’s a bit tricky to find natural green hues out our office windows right now, but even changing your computer background to a nice nature pic could help a bit. Many people also elect to paint their office (or home office) walls this shade because of its calming effects.
6. Eat healthy.
When you’re stressed, you may find that you crave unhealthier foods. Perhaps this is a survival instinct, our animal instincts telling us to load up on calories in order to combat the predatory danger that must be coming for us. However, eating healthy reduces stress. Even though your time is limited, finding a few minutes to invest into shopping and preparing healthy foods might be a good point of focus.
7. Listen to music.
Because it is so connected to our emotions, listening to music can be a great way to manage stress. Turn it up, sing along, let music distract you and carry you away. Be mindful that the emotions triggered by the music you select will seep through to your work, so make your selections wisely.
Tell Us What You Think
How do you keep calm and reduce stress? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.
Gina Belli works as a teacher, freelance writer, and educational consultant, and lives in her beloved home state, Connecticut. She likes to write about education, work-life balance, and the economy. Given her arresting capacity to over-analyze anything interpersonal, her writing often tends to focus on some of the more emotional aspects of workplace connections and disconnections, as they relate to partnerships and teams, personality and communication styles, and leadership. In her free time, she likes to putter around her renovated one-room schoolhouse home, take walks in the woods, and eat as much guacamole as she can get her hands on.