When people think of things that can help relieve stress, it usually has something to do with sight, touch, or sound - like a massage or hearing the rain fall during a light storm. While it may seem unlikely, your sense of smell can actually have a dramatic effect on your stress levels.
The idea of using certain scents to relax and relieve stress is referred to as aromatherapy, and it’s been shown to work fairly well. There are a wide variety of oils with different scents that you can use in aromatherapy, all with different unique effects.
Some are good for helping you relax, while others might invigorate you and help you get more work done. All of these can help you relieve stress in different ways. For example, if you’re stressed out because you’ve had a long day and you just need to unwind, then lavender might be a good option for you.
It makes you feel less stressed out, but also helps you sleep better, so don’t use lavender if you still have a long day ahead of you, because it may end up making you a bit sleepy.
On the other hand, if you’re in the middle of your day and it’s just not going well, then you can use rosemary instead. Rosemary also helps lower your levels of cortisol, but doesn’t have quite the same effect of making you tired.
Instead, it just boosts you up so that you can get the rest of your day accomplished. Similarly, lemon can have just about the same effects. Perhaps you’re a bit stressed because you’re not working as efficiently as you know you can.
In that case, a peppermint scent might help a lot. Peppermint has been shown to make you more alert and productive, which can help a lot of you’re just dragging through the day not getting much work done.
Cinnamon can also have this kind of effect. Different scents can have different effects depending on the person, so it may take some trial and error time to figure out which scents work best for you.
You might really not like the smell of cinnamon, so it wouldn’t have the same stress relieving effects on you that it would have on someone else. Try to sample a few different common scents and figure out what works well for you and what kind of effect it has and then use it throughout your day to combat stress and get a pick-me-up whenever you need it.
There’s been a significant amount of scientific research conducted around the idea of pets helping relieve stress in people. As it turns out, it’s been proven to work very well, for a variety of reasons.
Additionally, it was shown that the results tended to be best with dogs. The most significant factor in the stress relieving effects of dogs was all in our hormones. Petting and playing with a dog was shown to lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that causes the fight or flight syndrome with increased heartrates.
Petting dogs also increased our levels of oxytocin, a hormone that can relieve stress. This was an astounding discovery to many, and it probably relates to human’s early interactions with and domestication of canines.
So, when you’re playing with a dog at the park or with your own dog at home, that relaxed feeling you have is actually very scientific. Due to the fact that it works so well, many institutions have begun having days where dogs are brought in for stress relief.
For example, some universities have days throughout the semester where you can go visit a bunch of dogs in the library. This is used to relieve students’ stress, especially around the times of exams.
There are a few different ways that you can get in on this stress relief phenomenon. First, you could adopt your own dog or other pet. As long as your pet has ample space to move around and you have enough money to take care of them properly so that it doesn’t add to your stress, it’s worth the investment.
Just make sure you’re ready to take on the responsibilities of owning one before you make the leap into buying one. If you don’t feel ready to get a pet just yet, there are still many other ways that you can get to play with some animals.
Check around and see if you have a friend who might own one and hang out with them and their pet. You can also visit dog parks, where many pet owners are okay with you playing with their pets, as long as you ask beforehand.
Strangely, some cafes recently have begun to open up with a variety of animals in them, such as cat cafes or puppy cafes. There you can go get work done, order some coffee, and still play with a bunch of little animals running around the place.
Often times when people feel stressed out, they turn to things that will only help them forget about it for a little bit. They might go out with their friends for a night and relax just to take their minds off of it or sit back and watch some TV or a movie.
There are plenty of things you can do to help yourself feel less stressed out in the moment, but you can’t limit yourself solely to those options. While temporary relaxation might help you destress for a day or two, it’s not an ideal proper solution as much as it is a BandAid.
If you want to really stop feeling so stressed out, you need to do something more difficult, which is finding the source of your stress and actually dealing with it at the root level.
Finding the real source of your stress can be quite challenging on its own. It’s very easy to identify something else as the source of your problems, while there’s another aspect that’s actually causing that initial problem.
For example, you might blame your stress on not having enough free time, so you begin cutting out certain activities or procrastinating about certain things in order to give yourself more time.
This might seem like a proper solution, but in reality, something else like poor scheduling might be the root of your lack of time, so you just have to keep following the trail to see where your stress is coming from.
By dealing with your true problems, you’ll find that you don’t have to come up with as many temporary solutions that will only help you for a little while. This is the only way to be able to resolve your stress long term, allowing you to focus more on what you really want to do in life.
Now, this isn’t to say that temporary stress relievers don’t have their uses. Temporarily relieving stress is a good way to give yourself some room to breathe and focus on finding long term solutions.
If you’re all caught up in your stress, you won’t be able to find the real sources very easily, but if you relax a bit, you’re more likely to be able to deal with your problems appropriately.
These temporary fixes start to become issues only when you start allowing them to distract you from actually finding long term solutions. Be proactive so that you enjoy more of what life has to offer.
When people think about all the possible causes of their stress, they usually think about things like work, money, relationships, and things of that nature. These are good starting places, but they’re not always the answer.
A commonly overlooked cause of stress is the stress that other people are experiencing. Much like a disease, stress is contagious and can spread fairly easily. Humans naturally feel for one another and understand one another’s emotions, and therefore are prone to sharing a lot of emotions.
For example, if someone’s friend or family member is stressed out about their job, they can then become stressed out as well thinking about whether or not that person is going to be okay.
One of the ways that stress becomes contagious is by the changes in people’s personalities when they’re stressed out. When someone gets stressed, they may become more irritable, snapping at people for small or insignificant things.
In turn, the people on the receiving end of the irritability will become upset and stressed out themselves, and it just continues from there. For some, this can be motivation to start addressing the sources of their stress, so that their friends will stop having to stress out as well.
However, for others, this can only add onto their existing stress, having to worry that their friend is worrying about them. The only way to break this back and forth cycle is to have good communication with your friends and loved ones about why you’re stressed out and to get down to it and solve your problems at their roots.
You should never be afraid to talk to your friends and family about why you’re stressed out as long as you do it in the right manner. As long as you remain calm about it while you’re talking, you shouldn’t cause too much extra stress.
And if your friends and family fail, you can usually find a therapist to talk to instead. You should also be able to tell someone when they’re stressing you out. Sometimes it can be a wakeup call for them, which can be a major relief for you.
Other times, they may continue to stay stressed out. In this case, do what you can to help them, and if that doesn’t work, you could always distance yourself a bit from them. There’s no use in continuing to stress yourself out over someone else’s problems - especially when you’ve done all you can to help them.
Our lives can get really hectic these days. We’re constantly trying to keep up with everything and stay organized, but it’s not easy. Nobody wants to drag around a journal to keep track of their emotions along with a planner and calendar and all sorts of other stuff.
Luckily, there are a wide variety of apps that can help you alleviate stress in a variety of ways. The first kind of stress relief app you might come across are those that help with meditation.
Meditation is a very good way of relieving stress, allowing you time to clear your head, collect your emotions, and think clearly. It emphasizes deep, slow breathing to help lower your heart rate as well, which is another contributing factor of stress.
Guided meditation apps will help you learn to meditate properly by displaying breathing techniques along with calming sounds, music, and images. This makes meditation a lot easier to pick up and is more interesting and interactive than just sitting in silence for a little while.
Another major type of stress relief app helps you keep track of your emotions. They’re essentially little journals in which you can log what’s stressing you out or how you’re feeling about certain things.
Being able to visualize what’s stressing you out by writing it out is a huge help and is much more effective than just keeping it in your head. You’re also able to look back on older entries so that you can track the state of your emotions over time.
A slightly different kind of app that will help your stress is anything that helps you with planning. Disorganization can quickly lead to you being stressed out, with things suddenly popping up that you forgot about and forcing you to scramble and figure out a plan on the spot.
Instead of just having your week kind of planned out in your head, planner apps are a convenient way to help you lay it all out clearly as soon as possible. For example, if a friend of yours wants to grab lunch on a certain day the following week, you’ll be able to log it right then and also check to see if it interferes with anything else you might have going on.
Another major benefit of these planners is that they can send you alerts, letting you know a few hours or days in advance about something that’s coming up. Time management is a huge stress reliever in this fast-paced world.
In our modern world of perpetual busyness, our sympathetic nervous system is frequently in overdrive. We find ourselves constantly rushing from one activity to another, multitasking and being always available, thanks to our smart phones and the Internet.
Meditation offers us a chance to stop, to take a break from our busy lives. During meditation, we get familiar with how our mind works, we get to reconnect with our bodies and we get to recognize the feelings and thoughts that are causing our stress. These feelings are often related to external events or situations that we find stressful.
When we meditate, we cultivate a new awareness, or mindfulness, which helps us clearly see how our inner self-talk and automatic tendencies of reacting, or overreacting, to certain situations cause us stress. We start to appreciate how much of the stress in our lives we create internally by the way we think about and respond to situations. This new awareness then gives us the opportunity to make changes in how we respond to difficult situations.
So meditation is marvelous. But what about all the preconceived notions a lot of people have about meditation? Many people think meditation is too “out there” for them or that they won’t be able to do it. Let’s bust those myths right now so that you feel more comfortable and confidence using meditation to manage your stress....
The above is an excerpt of the "Meditation For Stress Management eBook"
Here’s a great article from The New York Times, which I think might help you too, so maybe you should take out some time to read it on your next break..:
Behavioral scientists have spent a lot of time studying what makes us happy (and what doesn’t). We know happiness can predict health and longevity, and happiness scales can be used to measure social progress and the success of public policies. But happiness isn’t something that just happens to you. Everyone has the power to make small changes in our behavior, our surroundings and our relationships that can help set us on course for a happier life.
Happiness often comes from within. Learn how to tame negative thoughts and approach every day with optimism.
All humans have a tendency to be a bit more like Eeyore than Tigger, to ruminate more on bad experiences than positive ones. It’s an evolutionary adaptation — over-learning from the dangerous or hurtful situations we encounter through life (bullying, trauma, betrayal) helps us avoid them in the future and react quickly in a crisis.
But that means you have to work a little harder to train your brain to conquer negative thoughts. Here’s how:
Don’t try to stop negative thoughts. Telling yourself “I have to stop thinking about this,” only makes you think about it more. Instead, own your worries. When you are in a negative cycle, acknowledge it. “I’m worrying about money.” “I’m obsessing about problems at work.”
Treat yourself like a friend. When you are feeling negative about yourself, ask yourself what advice would you give a friend who was down on herself. Now try to apply that advice to you…
Read on here: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-be-happy
Selflessness and selfishness are two very misunderstood terms. People mistakenly think that selfishness means doing things with the intention of taking care of your-self and they also think that selflessness means doing everything for other people that they want, taking everything on board, and never doing anything for your-self.
It’s always important to understand the balance in all of these actions in order to see the reality of the situation.
All day long, you do things for yourself, only based on what you want. If someone else needs something from you, or asks you to get something that they need which might ‘put you out’ a little, you refuse. Your time is your time and you want to keep it all to you.
This is pure selfishness.
Now imagine the opposite.
All day long, you run around for people getting everything they want, not having a second for yourself to get things done or to focus on what you need. You are constantly being told where to go and what to do without ever having the ability to sit down and think for yourself. People use you to the point of exhaustion, every day like a servant to the needs and wants of others.
This is pure selflessness and it is exhausting.
In all of this, it is vital that we find the balance.
When we take care of the needs of others, we must do so while maintaining what we need also. When we need a break, we must be able to say no. When a person’s requests or demands are getting to be too much weight on our shoulders, again we must learn to say no.
While looking after and taking care of others, we must also make it a high priority to have time to ourselves, to relax and not have to deal with any added stresses and pressure.
Doing this, taking time out for ourselves, to give ourselves what we need, actually allows us to better serve others. If there is not balance, very quickly we will become exhausted and drained of our ability to do anything.
In this state, we would quickly become depressed and overwhelmed, or perhaps even start to get irritable and angry. This is all because there is no balance between selfishness and selflessness.
What we are trying to achieve here is ‘Real Selflessness’. The kind of selflessness that is balanced, that gives both ourselves and the other person or people what we all need. Living in this way actually makes us more capable of helping others, because at the same time we maintain our own requirements along with the requirements of everyone else.
It is important that we take as good care of ourselves as we do others. If we don’t, we actually lose the ability to take care of others properly.
Developing the right kind of balance means we can go on living through ‘Real Selflessness’ for as long as we continue to live.
How To Be Truly Selfless
We must be honest with ourselves and with others. We must have boundaries in place that don’t allow other people to take advantage, unknowingly or not.
We must recognize when things are becoming too much to handle, and when we need a little space to relax and let go of the stress.
Once we recognize this, we must put everything down, essentially say ‘no’ to the world for a little while so that we can rest, recover, recuperate and reset to come back reinvigorated and ready to serve once again.
Living in this way means that we aren’t just taking care of others, we are simultaneously taking care of ourselves in the same moment.
People will respect this and appreciate it because everyone knows how it feels to be stressed and exhausted and at the same time, they will appreciate that you are still helping them, or that you will continue to be your giving self once, you have had enough of a break to focus on yourself.
Learn to have boundaries in place and effectively implement them. By doing this, you will learn how to be the right amount of selfless and the right amount of selfish, without falling into any extremes.
The middle way is always balanced. Learn to walk the middle way and take care of yourself as much as you do others.
How To Stay Positive In Stressful Situations
Sometimes nothing seems to turn out the way you had planned, no matter how hard you attempt. Regardless of where the stress is stemming from, it is essential to equip yourself with resources to rise above the negativity and stay positive. Maintaining a positive attitude can help alleviate stress and assist in accomplishing your objectives. When you feel like you have hit a dead end, and start to sense any negativity, stop! Here are a few tips on how to remain positive even when you are in challenging situations.
Count your blessings
Regardless how rough things are, if you think about it, you have lots of things to be grateful for. Whether itâ€™s having a job when a lot of people are jobless, having a supportive family, or simply being in a good health. By revisiting everything you have in your life, you canâ€™t hold on to the negativities. You will feel confident, proud and positive. There are countless things in your life that you can be thankful about.
When you achieve something, regardless of how little it is, pat yourself in the back for the job well done. The list of ways that you can reward yourself is endless. You can reward yourself with new opportunities to explore something new or to learn something new. You can even take your friends out for coffee. A positive attitude can hardly arise if you donâ€™t even feel great about yourself.
Another great way to manage stress and remain positive is by exercising on a regular basis. If you don’t exercise, try to find something that you enjoy doing such as swimming, biking, playing golf, playing tennis, or going for a walk. Breathing exercise can also help alleviate stress. Breathing has been proven to help manage stress, and can help a lot in countless situations.
Take time out
If all you think about is work, you can easily be overwhelmed by stress. Be sure to give yourself time off and read a book, listen to music or do whatever it is that you find relaxing. You can also go out with your family and friends. This will help you remain focused and positive when you are on your work station. You will ultimately thank yourself for it.
There you have it! How to always stay positive in a challenging environment. While you will not alleviate stress overnight, following these simple steps will help you develop and maintain a good attitude about your family, your work and your life.
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