There are many stress relief techniques out there that have become highly popular for various reasons. Knowing how they work – or why they work – may be part of why some of us don’t use them as often as we should. Today, we’re taking a look at three popular methods that most of us can partake in on a daily basis and now we’ll know why they’re worth it.
1. A Warm Beverage
This one I can certainly attest to – drinking a cup of tea, caffeinated or otherwise, is my primary relaxation and de-stressor.
31% of the respondents in one British study make tea as a relaxation method. It helps them unwind, relax and, if only for a few moments, forget the stress of the world. Any type of tea is recommended for this technique, whether traditional black, green, yellow, purple, or white tea. They all contain catechins which help to reduce the cortisol hormone production in our bodies. Caffeine in the teas also gives you a temporary mood boost and mental clarity.
Additionally, in another study conducted with Korean adults, they found that “study participants in the highest quartile of caffeine consumption had 24% lower prevalence of depression than those in the lowest quartile. Frequent consumption of green tea, coffee, or caffeine was associated with a reduced prevalence of self-report lifetime depression in Korean adults.”
The main tip with this method is to skip the sugar and milk and drink the tea straight for the best benefits without added calories and potential hormonal drops (due to the sugar).
2. The Calming Sounds Of Nature
The University of Sussex conducted a study on listening to nature sounds, specifically the sound of falling rain, babbling brooks and ocean waves. The study showed, “individuals who showed evidence of the greatest stress before starting the experiment showed the greatest bodily relaxation when listening to natural sounds.”
It’s also been found that artificial noises (i.e. manmade sounds) encourage the human brain to fixate inwards, which increases anxiety. Natural sounds like bird songs, ocean waves, babbling brooks all soothe and calm the mind.
These natural sounds are great for relaxing during the day or helping woo our brains into sleep at night, as needed. Personally, I crank the ocean waves every night as I start to get sleepy and have found I sleep much more deeply.
3. Cuddling Up With Your Pup (Or Kitty)
The Cleveland Clinic found that the simple act of petting an animal can boost serotonin levels and decrease cortisol levels. This act of cuddling with your kitty can reduce stress almost instantly as well as help battle high blood pressure, anxiety and even help a little with fat loss (thanks to cutting down cortisol).
Petting that pup can improve your mood as much as eating a chocolate bar or taking a long run.
Your Best Stress Relief
Ideally, using all three of these stress relief methods together will improve your overall health simply, inexpensively, and reasonably quickly. The more you practice these techniques – like any other methods – the more benefits you’ll receive. Personally, I’m going to go cuddle my fluffball right now.