Have you ever had a situation happen at work that causes you to think about it for days? Even after it has passed and the ramifications are over, we are still mulling over what happened. This can allow stress to linger and negatively affect our long-term health. According to a study done by the University of California, individuals who continued to dwell on negative feelings after a stressful event "were more likely to have chronic physical health conditions and limitations.” Even though the amount of stressful situations may be different, how we hold on to that stress has a major impact.
Take time to practice self-care and unwind after a stressful day to improve your long-term health. We also experience stress at home, so taking the time to unwind and de-stress is imperative for our overall physical and mental health. Psychology Today offers some tips and suggestions for letting go of stress at work:
· Take time to relax – at the end of a long day, take some time for yourself. This could be a variety of things. Take some time to talk to a friend or significant other. Stop and practice a music instrument or other skill you enjoy. Sit down with a cup of tea and calm your mind. Even if it is as short as fifteen minutes, it can help reset the end of your day.
· Recognize your stress response – how do you physically react to stress? Observing your own behavior can help you understand how you will react to stress in the future. And it can help you mitigate that response moving forward.
· Listen to music – according to phychologytoday.com, "listening to any type of music that you love has shown to increase dopamine levels in the brain.” Even a small increase in dopamine could improve your mood.
· Chew gum – yes, chewing gum could be a way to reduce anxiety and stress. While you may not want to do this over a long period of time (and perhaps with sugar-free gum), it could have some positive impacts.
· Take a deep breath – deep breathing exercises has been shown repeatedly to reduce stress. Take some time to sit down and focus on deep breathing. "When you breathe in deeply from the abdomen rather than taking shallow breaths from the upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. More oxygen leads to less tension and less shortness of breath, and these changes lessen the anxiety that you feel.”
· Take a walk – take a ten-minute walk or do some other form of physical exercise. If you can take it outdoors, that is a bonus! Nature has a calming effect and focusing on physical activity can help take our mind off a stressful situation.
You can switch you the activity each day and find what works for you. The important thing it to take time for yourself to help de-stress. There are many other activities that can help you unwind and relax, you do not have to stick to this list. A little effort each day can make a big impact on your long-term health.
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