5 Ways to De-Stress and its Health Benefits

Image Source: Unsplash

The busyness of life always seems to stay in our daily lives, whether it may be landing an internship, partaking in a part-time job, or enrolling in summer classes to graduate early. Here is a reminder to take a deep breath and relax before a new school semester or a job position begins. With that said, here are some strategies to do so:

  1. Go outside

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the benefit of going outside has tremendous effects on our physical health as it “reduce[es] our stress, cortisol levels, muscle tension and heart rates—all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.” Spending time outdoors is a great way to be active and reduce stress amidst the chaos and busyness of life. Going on a quick walk can also improve concentration levels and memory capacity. 

  1. Start a gratitude journal

Gratitude journaling can significantly decrease stress levels when we take the time to acknowledge and feel thankful for the positive experiences in life. Writing a few things you are grateful for can deliberately and readily make a helpful impact as you fill your mind with sincere thoughts! Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Start simple—write five things you are grateful for, and gradually build upon the list over time.
  • Choose depth over breadth—the more detailed and specific your list, the more beneficial it can be than a superficial one.
  • Write regularly. Choose a specific time and date to write what you’re grateful for, and honor that commitment.  
  1. Listen to relaxing music.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, music therapy may affect “brain networks that mediate emotion,” and there is “potential value of musical activities in relieving stress and treating depression.” Listening to relaxing music can reduce stress levels when you take the time to rewind by playing your favorite playlists. 

  1. Pay it forward with a random act of kindness

A random act of kindness, as simple as holding the door open for others or supporting locally owned businesses, can significantly lessen distress and anxiety and improve life satisfaction. Here are some simple and easy ways you can pay it forward:

  • Run an errand for a busy family member
  • Write an encouraging letter to a friend
  • Find opportunities to compliment someone because it can make their day
  • Strike a conversation with the person next to you in line
  1. Pick up a new hobby

Activities like reading and drawing can play a significant role in overall well-being. According to the National Library of Medicine, enjoyable leisure activities can “encourag[e] positive feelings and promot[e] a variety of social and physical resources that allow individuals to feel refreshed and better cope with stress.” Such activities can improve social connection and improve mental well-being, and self-esteem. 

Hopefully, these five practical activities can assist you in living a more stress-free life, and the busyness can start to feel less overwhelming.