Did you know that according to new research from WalletHub, California is the 25th most stressful state in the USA? (Louisiana is number one in case you were curious). And Arizona (our other home base) comes in at a surprising number 11. Lots of stress from all aspects of life and as we’ve discussed in this blog before, stress buildup can easily result in some pretty serious health problems.
But never fear, there are some great ways to relieve stress out there. In fact, we found a list of 123 of them from Emma over at HealthGrinder so there’s sure to be something for everyone to try. Some of our faves from Emma’s fantastic list include:
Think of Happy Memories… and Don’t Dwell on the Past — She says “recalling happy memories or moments in your life has been shown to activate the secretion of serotonin in our brain’s anterior cingulate cortex.” That sounds pretty good, so try that.
Sing — Studies indicate that singing reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for that burst of energy, extra alertness, increased heart rate and higher blood pressure feeling when we are in stressful or dangerous situations.
Stop Multitasking —Studies offer evidence that engaging in multitasking actually results in doing things slower, often with less results, compared to focusing on one task at a time. As a side effect, forcing our brain to switch back and forth between tasks increases its workload. This results in increased levels of stress.
Add Some Plants — Studies have shown that the presence of indoor plants reduces workplace stress.
Stand Up and Get a Good Stretch —Research by the University of Kentucky reveals that in 2 studies done, participants who engaged in simple stretching exercises got similar stress relieving results to those who performed relaxation techniques.
Treat Yourself to a Soothing Massage—At the University of Miami School of Medicine, a review of previous studies related to massage and its effects on stress reveal that spending a little time getting pampered by a masseuse helps reduce cortisol levels by an average of 31 percent.
Do Some Deep Breathing — Taking 4 seconds to slowly breathe in, and another 4 seconds to exhale will help lower blood pressure as well as slow down your pulse rate.
Get Enough Vitamin C — A study by Germany’s University of Trier found that supplementing young healthy adults with 3 times a day of 1000 mg ascorbic acid resulted in lower blood pressure as well as subjective stress response from stimuli. The subjects also exhibited faster cortisol recovery from the stressed state levels.
Try some Gingko Biloba — Gingko Biloba is often used for its ability to improve one’s memory as well as let them think better. Other useful benefits are its anti-anxiety properties, as well as allowing people to be more social. A study found that taking a 120 mg Gingko Biloba extract helped lower blood pressure levels and cortisol levels in healthy young individuals, during a stressful situation.
Eat Some Green Leafy Vegetables —A study performed by the Department of Human Nutrition in New Zealand’s University of Otago, also shows that in 281 young adults, eating 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables makes them more positive the next day.
Munch on Dark Chocolate —Chocolate helps stabilize metabolism and as shown above regulates our cortisol to help fight stress. But it doesn’t stop there. In total, this food contains 300 different compounds many of which contribute in suppressing the negative effects of stress, among other things.
Lower Your Caffeine Intake — One of the most popular beverages in the world, and a staple in breakfast tables, coffee is something you may want to cut down to reduce stress. Research reveals that caffeine, which is present in good amounts in coffee, increases the amount of cortisol secreted by the body. Results also showed that caffeine elevates the release of cortisol during times of mental stress as well as when you exercise. Though this affected men and women differently.
Those are all great choices, but be sure to check out the HealthGrinder article for a VERY comprehensive list of de-stressors. Making sure you and your team stay ahead of stress is the best way to rule your world. My team of employee benefits and health insurance experts are always ready to munch on dark chocolate, I mean, de-stress with you, and answer any of your questions!
123 Proven Ways to Reduce Stress and Relax
2018’s Most & Least Stressed States
https://wallethub.com/edu/ most-stressful-states/32218/# methodology