As Andrew Bernstein would like us to believe, “The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.”
Yes, we as individuals are hard prone to overthink and overanalyze everything that happens to us in our life. And so habitual are we of this practice of stressing over everything that most of the time we overthink about things that have never happened and have the least likelihood of ever happening to us. While the truth of life is that we do not have any control over 99% of things that we keep worrying about. Yet, so are the trappings of the modern-day life that there seems to be no escaping this perennial state of stress and anxiety that we are all constantly living in.
Our mind is one of the most miraculous creations ever. If we learn how to manoeuvre it and orchestrate its functioning, we can pretty much train it to our advantage. Now, we are not going to propagate the power of manifestation here, but when it comes to chasing peace of mind most of our stress can indeed be reduced if we just learn to control our minds and thoughts. Maybe we cannot change destiny and how life unfolds, but we can certainly change how we react to things. It is our choice to either react to everything and overstress ourselves or resort to engaging in activities that are a stress buster and keep our minds relaxed.
Stress – It is All That Our Hormones Tell Us to Do
Stress and peace are both twinnings of our hormones and mind. We all know how ‘dopamine’ and ‘endorphins’ are the ‘happy’ and ‘feel-good’ hormones that instantly soothe our minds and transport us to a state of tranquility. Two other hormones really uplift our mood – one is Serotonin which is also a neurotransmitter and regulates our sleep and overall health. The other is Oxytocin or ‘love hormone’. It is responsible for us feeling all loved, secured and empathetic in our relationships. It is augmented with indulging in physical gestures of expressing affection like kissing, hugging, cuddling and holding hands.
Cortisol, on the other hand, is the primary stress hormone that causes all the adverse effects in our body. The sole purpose of engaging in a stress buster activity is to release the peace-inducing hormones so that they pull us out of a distressed state of mind and relax our nerves. They are sacrosanct to a healthy living otherwise the kind of stressful life that we have all habituated ourselves to can prove to be really detrimental to our well-being both in the short and the long-term of things.
Five Activities that are Proven Stress Busters
If stress over everything in life, whether consequential or not is beating the shit out of you, it is time you make these activities a religious part of your life. Every time you feel stressed about something, train your mind to indulge in either of these activities based on your liking so that you can release some happy hormones and get yourself out of that self-deprecating state.
1. PHYSICAL EXERCISE – It is for some reason that health advocates around the world can’t stress enough on the benefits of physical exercise. It is important to indulge in at least 30 minutes of a light or rigorous exercise schedule each day. Join a gym, a yoga class, Zumba or Pilates. If dancing is your passion, enroll in a freestyle dance class. It can be any form of physical exercise. Play your favourite sport – basketball, badminton, lawn tennis or even swimming or running. If you do not have an inclination or the time to engage in a rigorous workout routine, just make time to walk for at least 30 minutes each day and do some stretching exercises. Keep all your stresses in the world aside and just focus on your physical health during this time.
2. READING, LISTENING TO MUSIC OR WATCHING NETFLIX – They say ‘Reading’ can be a solution to most of your worries. The thing with reading a book is that it transports you into another world and you forgot about all of your worries. Reading opens up your horizons and exposes you to new unchartered laterals of knowledge and things you never knew of. People who read voraciously are the happiest. A lot of successful people who had been through some miserable times earlier in their lives confess to taking up reading in their turbulent times. If just the idea of picking up a book puts you to slouch and sloth, you may resort to the idea of listening to music whenever stressed. It may be some soft music, spiritual tunes or anything that relaxes your mind. Even watching some healthy content online is known to divert your mind and put it to relaxation. However, watching overtly violent, abusive and sexual content online would not really help much to calm down your stress. Rather indulge in something positive and soothing.
3. MEDITATION – For people who meditate regularly, they do not really know how they were surviving this life earlier. Meditation or realigning with your inner self is a way to strengthen your being. Mindful Meditation has the power to put your mind into balance and help you realize the right perspectives in your life. It is not just a short-term stress buster but also builds up your resilience in such a way that you internally stop stressing about anything in life. For those unversed, it would be a good start to watch some YouTube videos on spirituality and meditation or read some self-help books on the subject.
4. SELF PAMPERING OR RETAIL THERAPY – Who does not love a relaxing session at the spa or just some retail therapy at some of your favourite brands? Next time whenever you are feeling overly stressed about something that you can do little about, just shun everything and head out to a mall nearby. Scout through the collections, try everything you like and make some mindful purchases. The idea is to not splurge money unnecessarily but engage in some healing me time that makes you happy and pulls you out of that worrisome zone. Well, whoever said money can’t buy happiness, never really knew the right place to shop. Watch a movie, eat popcorn enjoy a hearty meal, buy that dress that you had been long eyeing and it would relax your mind and give you some breather in between all the incessant worries in life.
5. HELPING OTHERS OR SPENDING TIME WITH PETS – One stress buster activity that not many people think of doing is to help others. It would not just make you happy but would also make this world a better place to live in. There is an inexplicable sense of joy and complacence that one feels by helping someone in need. It does not have to be monetary or extravagant in nature. Just giving someone food to eat or lending a helping hand would also make you feel good about yourself and help relieve some bits of your personal stress. We do not really emphasize enough the amount of happiness it can bring to oneself, just by bringing a smile on someone’s face. When the act is selfless and borne out of sheer empathy, it restores our faith in ourselves and gives us the strength to fight back our own battles too. In the same way, spending time with your pets or feeding stray can act as a great stress buster as it removes your mind from your own worries and makes you selflessly devote your affection to another being.
This life is too short to keep on worrying endlessly. There are so many good deeds to do, so many fun things to engage in. Savour the small joys of life and train your mind to feel happier than stressed each day. Count your blessings and the next time whenever you feel stressed about something, just leave everything aside and start engaging in one of these stress buster activities!