3 Fun and Quick Ways to De-stress

What happens when we get stressed?  We often feel more tired and our ability to focus and retain information becomes compromised.  Our tolerance gets lower and we usually feel irritated at things that may not bother us otherwise.
 
It really doesn’t take that much to de-stress.  What it does take is the willingness to do it and the consistency to keep at it.  When we are experiencing stress, particularly high amounts, we need to balance it somehow with things that will take the pressure off before it becomes too much.
 
Here are 3 “quick fixes” to de-stress:

1. Get into nature – Check this picture out from a recent outing in beautiful B.C. Canada

Taking even a short walk in nature has shown to be beneficial to our ability to de-stress. Researchers found that taking a short minute walk in nature has a restorative effect including improving memory and attention by 20%.   Nature is also linked to improvement in mood, psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness and vitality. Interesting enough, the same benefits were not detected when walking down a busy street.
2. Hug someone –  Hugging my sweet niece always feels nice 🙂
 
Hugging releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin into our bodies and lowers our heart rate and cortisol levels. Cortisol regulates and influences our responses in the body related to stress, heart disease and high blood
 pressure.
3. Smile.  You might think that 28 out of 31 days of rain in the month of October – as you can see indicated by the wet skylight above me in the picture – might not make me smile, but as Thich Nhat Hanh said: “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”  There are in fact plenty of reasons to smile despite the weather or circumstances we find ourselves in.  Here are some reasons cited by current research:
1. It has similar effects as an anti-depressant by lifting our moods
2. It makes us appear more attractive to others
3. It releases all of the feel-good neurotransmitters: dopamine, endorphins and serotonin which, relaxes your body, lowers your blood pressure and heart rate.
4. The added bonus of these endorphins is that they act as a natural pain reliever.
 
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