By Wendy Bacigalupi-Bednarz, Editorial Contributor
Everyone experiences stress. Whether it’s short-term stress from getting caught in a traffic jam or long-term concerns over finances, the more stress you have, the more it can affect your health and well-being.
We spend plenty of time feeling overloaded by stress. Sometimes all we need is a few minutes to slow down, reevaluate why we are stressed and make a conscious choice to relax, says Diane Robinson, PhD, a neuropsychologist with the Integrative Medicine Department at Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center. Fortunately, there are some surprisingly quick and fun ways you can cope with stress that take 10 minutes or less.
Practice Your Breathing
Slowing down your breathing is one of the simplest ways to de-stress. One technique is known as Sama Vritti or “equal breathing.” Pay attention to how you breathe. Inhale and count to four, hold it briefly, then exhale and count to four. Slowing your breathing tells your brain to stop releasing stress chemicals.
Studies show that specific essential oils used in aromatherapy can help relieve stress, relax the body and promote better sleep. Essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, ylang ylang, clary sage and jasmine can be diffused into the air or applied to acupressure points on your body.
Take a Walk
Walking helps your body produce endorphins — Mother Nature’s “feel good” chemical — and releases some of the physical tension building up in your muscles.
In addition, exposure to sunshine helps our bodies manufacture vitamin D, a natural stress buster that regulates serotonin.
Bring Your Pup
Take that walk a step further. Bring your dog along, says Dr. Benjamin Kaplan, an internal medicine physician with Orlando Health Physician Associates. Walking your dog helps reduce stress levels and can increase oxytocin levels, another stress-busting “happy” hormone.