According to a study conducted by Harvard Business School and Stanford University, employees in stressful and demanding jobs are far more likely to suffer mental and physical illness later in life. Shockingly, those who work longer hours have been found to die younger than those who spend more time at home.*
Unwinding is more important than ever in our hectic lives, if you can’t avoid the stress in the first place then you need to reduce it. Below are 9 ways to unwind.
1. Grab a cup of green tea
If you’re feeling stressed at the end of a hard day, refresh yourself with with a cup of herbal tea. Green tea contains L-Theanine, a chemical that helps relieve anger. One of these a day and you’ll be cool as a cucumber!
Research on human volunteers has demonstrated that L-theanine creates a sense of relaxation within approximately 30-40 minutes after drinking.
2. Chew some gum
Chewing gum is shown to reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels.
The effects on stress levels can be felt almost immediately, but chewing has long-term effects too. Chewing gum also increases our alertness!
Chewing gum reduces cortisol (the hormone produced when we’re under stress) by 18%. It’s thought that chewing increases blood flow to the brain, which helps with alertness and may also distract us from irritations.
3. Progressive relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a process of tensing and then relaxing. First, you systematically tense particular muscle groups in your body, such as your neck and shoulders. Then, you release the tension and notice how your muscles feel when you relax them.
- Deeper relaxation
- A greater control over stress and anxiety
- Reduced insomnia
- Reduced symptoms of certain types of chronic pain
4. Breathe Deeply
By breathing deeply from your diaphragm you can relax yourself instantly. When we’re stressed we tend to take shallower breaths which don’t provide our bodies with enough oxygen, breathing deeply relieves this.
Research has shown that breathing exercises can have immediate positive effects on the pH of your blood and your blood pressure, and can be used as a method to train the body’s reaction to stressful situations, as well as reduce the production of stress hormones.
5. Join a gym or just go for a run
Virtually any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever. It increases the level of endorphins in your body, which make you feel better.
Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
After an hour at the gym or game of football, you’ll often feel better and have forgotten the day’s problems, as you’ve been concentrating on your physical activity.
6. Drip Cold Water On Your Wrists
Running cold water on your wrists will calm your whole body, as you’ve got major arteries just underneath the skin.
7. Get outdoors
Take a walk in a forest or the local park. Simply being outdoors offers a new relaxing environment that can seem a thousand miles away from the stresses of the office. Patients have been observed to recover from operations quicker when their ward window overlooks a natural scene (even just a tree) as opposed to bricks or other non-natural views.
Children with ADD are also known to be calmer when in natural surroundings (or even a room with a natural view) than those playing in man-made playgrounds, etc.
8. Sniff an orange
The smell of citrus can help us relax, really!
Brazilian scientists had participants spend five minutes inhaling one of three substances: Sweet orange essential oil, tea tree oil or plain old water. Participants then underwent a stressful test while having their vital signs measured. Those who sniffed orange oil were less anxious throughout the test, and the beneficial effects even lingered once the exam was over.
– From prevention.com
9. Get your headphones on
Listening to calming music will help you to forget about office stresses and aid your relaxation. Classical music can produce a calming effect by releasing dopamine and reducing stress hormones, all of which help to generate a pleasant mood.
* From HR GRapevine