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Overwhelm and stress both chip away at our quality of life – and our health – over time. We need to find simple ways to regain and maintain balance every day. “Simple” and “balance,” that’s what this article is about.
“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” Hans Selye
Here are three stress relief tips you won’t find at your local drug store.
1. Call a Friend
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” Fred Rogers
Listen to Mister Rogers and call a friend.
A text is not the same. An email is not the same. A phone call or video call means talking and listening. It means you hear your friend’s care for you in that moment, not minutes, hours or days later.
It means you can release some of the stress you are holding in that moment. Talking on the phone with a friend who cares is priceless.
Even better, if you have a local friend, call up and say: “Let’s get together for a few minutes at the local cafe.”
Or how about combining Tip 1 and Tip 2? Call up and say: “Let’s go for a walk.”
There is something about getting together in person with a friend, when sharing, caring and listening happens, that uplifts the heart and the mind, while reducing stress.
2. Go for a Walk in Nature
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir
Did you know that according to Japanese researchers, a walk in the woods may be able to lower your stress hormone cortisol by 26%?*
When life’s got you stressed, try a walk in the park or along a stream. First walk fast and get the blood pumping.
Then walk slowly and focus on the present moment. Smell the flowers, feel the presence of the trees, watch the clouds float by. See if you can let whatever has been stressing you float away with the clouds (at least for a while).
3. Clean Your Room (or House)
“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance? ” Phyllis Diller
Comedian Phyllis Diller obviously didn’t like doing housework. But for many people it actually acts as a stress buster. My wife taught me this wisdom.
First, sweeping the patio or organizing the desk can be meditative. When we focus on the task and stay in the moment, we are actually right at home with the wisdom of the Zen teachers without even thinking about it. Stress fades into the background.
Second, even a small feeling of accomplishment sets a new direction for the day. Wash a window and see more clearly. Build on the good feelings that cleaning brings and leave the stress behind.
*Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 15222-15232