Health / Expert Advice

7 Therapist-Approved Solutions for Relieving Stress

Amp up the self-care with these expert solutions for managing your stress level.

Stress is a normal bodily reaction that we feel in response to some kind of threat—be it physical, mental, or emotional.

It’s only human to feel stressed once in a while. However, letting it overcome your day-to-day life can have long-term consequences for your health and wellbeing.

“Stress has become an epidemic in today’s society, due to our pace, goals, and lack of rest and fun,” says Ericka Eller, B.S., C.H.C., nutritionist and stress management coach.

“When prolonged, it compromises the body’s ability to handle the output of stress, which can inevitably lead to burnout or fatigue.” Understanding what triggers stress in our life can be the first step to taming it and living a more relaxing life, overall.

Aaptiv has workouts and classes to help you deal with stress. Check them out in the app today.

Here are seven expert solutions for lowering the stress that you feel on a day-to-day basis.

Meditate

Engaging in mindfulness activities and recognizing the signs of stress in the body and mind is the first step to gaining control of stress and managing it, says Mayra Mendez, Ph.D., LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, California.

“Relaxation techniques, such as abdominal breathing, progressive muscles relaxation, visualization, positive affirmations, and body scanning exercises support consciousness,” she says.

“They help reduce automatic reactivity and increase active problem solving to help reinforce taking control of the stress, rather than having the stress take control of the person.”

Check out all the meditation classes in the Aaptiv app. You’ll love the guided meditations we’re continually adding each week.

Exercise

You know how important physical activity is to your physical health. But you might not realize just how vital it is to your emotional and mental health, as well.

Exercise releases toxins from the body and can create a relaxed state,” explains Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., psychologist and author of Dating from the Inside Out.

“Your mind often releases toxic thoughts and your body produces an endorphin-induced feeling of wellbeing afterwards.” Taking time to work out can reset your focus and make you feel stronger to confront challenges, she explains.

Challenge Negative Thoughts

As Eller explains, stress starts in the mind. It’s how you approach a circumstance that will inevitably impact your perception and how you feel about it.

“Simply thinking of an event that you are nervous or angry about will make your brain think [that] you are in danger,” she says.

“When you use stress management techniques, practice having a growth mindset, and determine whether or not the stress or thought is real, you can automatically decrease a stress response.” In other words, focus on the good of the situation instead of the bad as best you can.

Establish Positive Self-Care Rituals

If you already do a little self-care here and there, be it a warm, relaxing bath or a weekend visit to the spa, good for you!

But, it’s making these self-care excursions actual habits that go the extra mile for your stress level. “Rituals help anchor your wellbeing and create balance,” says Dr. Sherman.

“You can add relaxing essential oils (this has amazing reviews), like orange, to lift your mood, and lavender, for relaxation, to any self-care routine.”

Unplug

It’s so easy to zone into our technological devices these days, especially given the fact that most of us now have our work email downloaded to our smartphone.

But, as helpful as these new technological capabilities are, they can be detrimental to our stress level. For this reason, it’s important to unplug at least every once in a while.

“Set limits and boundaries on technology. Allow the mind to take in the world naturally rather than always through a screen. This will also contribute to stress reduction,” says Dr. Mendez. “Taking time to breathe and see life that is happening in real time can be amazingly relaxing.”

Get Enough Sleep

Ensuring that you are getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night is essential to a body being able to handle stress appropriately, Eller explains.

“It is imperative to help your body recharge after having such high demands on it from the day. It allows your body to renew and regenerate,” she says.

“Establishing a healthy sleep pattern—going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning—can also improve your ability to get quality rest at night.”

Say “No” More Often

Most of have a hard time saying no, whether it be in response to a new work assignment or a social obligation involving friends or family. But, creating healthy boundaries is incredibly important, according to experts.

“In today’s society, busy has become the new black, and we tend to wear it like a badge of honor. We make health the lowest priority by doing so,” says Eller. “Saying ‘no’ will become one of your most important stress management tools in your toolbox of life.”

Stress isn’t fun, but luckily we can help. Download the Aaptiv app today to check out our new yoga and meditation classes to help destress.

A New You In 30 Days. Introducing Aaptiv “Coach” – Click the image below to learn more.

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