By Lisa Vreugdenhil, Social Worker

Stress can cause feelings of frustration and irritability. While we can’t always control stress in our environment, we can control how we react to stress. Stress relievers can restore calm and serenity to a chaotic life. For a quick stress relief try one of these tips:

  1. Get Moving– Virtually any form of physical activity acts as a stress reliever. Physical activity pumps up your body’s feel-good endorphins and other natural neural chemicals to enhance your sense of well being & improves mood.
  2. Tune Into Your Body –Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day.  Be aware of places you feel tight and for 1-2 minutes, imagine each deep breath flowing to that part of the body. Repeat this process as you move your focus up your body.
  3. Meditate –A few minutes of meditation each day helps ease your stress reaction. Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.
  4. Breathe Deeply –Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse this process as you exhale through your mouth. Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
  5. Yoga –With its series of postures and controlled breathing exercises, yoga is a popular stress reliever. Yoga brings together the physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress.
  6. Be Present –Slow down. Take a few minutes and focus on only one behaviour with awareness. For example, focus on the texture and taste of each bite of food. Enjoy spending time in the moment.
  7. Decompress –Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes.  Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, shoulders, and back muscles.
  8. Reach Out –Your social support network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others face to face or on the phone. Share what is going on and welcome a fresh perspective.
  9. Laugh – Humour and laughter helps to lighten your mental load and causes positive physical changes in your body. Tell some jokes or watch a comedy show.
  10. Be Grateful –Being grateful for your blessings can help cancel out negative thoughts and worries. Celebrate your accomplishments.
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