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20 Simple Ways To Relax and De-Stress

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20 Simple Ways To Relax and De-Stress

Do you ever fell stressed, exhausted and full of tension? There are many factors that can contribute to stress, our work, our home, finances, etc. One thing is for sure, being stressed is bad for our health. Actually stress can be a killer. Chronic stress for example, is linked to six leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide, according to the American Psychological Association.

It is important to take action to manage stress to ensure your body is functioning as it should and for your overall health and well-being. Here are 20 really simple ways to help you to relax and de-stress. The following tips can also help relieve anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Read the following tips with an open mind and try to incorporate as many of them as possible into your daily routine.

Breathe

With one hand on your belly and the other on your chest, take a big deep breath in through your nose filling up your diaphragm and then slowly exhale the air out through your mouth. Try to clear your head of any thoughts and and just try to focus on your breathing. Try to do six to ten deep breaths a minute for five to ten minutes. Taking slow deep breaths are a great way of lowering your heart rate, your blood pressure and help you to feel more relaxed.

Meditate

Find a comfortable place in your home, this can be a chair, the couch or simply sitting on a comfortable cushion. You can play some relaxing music in the background if you wish. Begin your meditation by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine any tension moving down from your head, past your chest, down your legs and out through your feet as you breath and relax. Try to focus on the present moment and let any thoughts go that come into your head. Rather than focusing on clearing your head of any thoughts, focus on just ‘being’. It takes a little practice to let thoughts come and go, but over time it will become easier. A simple five minute meditation can have you feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Use a Journal

I am a big fan of using a journal every day. Start off by writing down three things that your are grateful for. These could be anything from the home you live in, your family, your health, your job, having food on the table, your positive attitude. The list is yours, there are no rules here. Just get into the positive daily habit or recording three things that you are grateful for. Next, write down in your journal your short and long term goals. Finally, write down in your journal anything that might be troubling you. Get into the habit of getting your thoughts out of your head and down on paper.

 

relax

Listen To Music

Do you have a favorite song playlist? Well, put up the volume and listen to the songs that make you want to sing, dance and forget about anything that might be bothering or stressing you. Music has the power to relax, inspire and make us feel happy. I find that listening to some music for just a few minutes is a great way to lift my spirit and have me feeling great. Try it!

Exercise

We all know that exercise is not only good for improving us physically but there are mental benefits too. The feel good chemicals that are released by the brain such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine will help to lift your mood. A brisk walk or run are great ways to get the heart pumping and your muscles working. After just a few minutes of exercise you should feel any stress drift away. I like to go for a fast walk, listen to my favorite music and soak up the scenery around me to help me totally relax.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates

Drink Green Tea

There are many health benefits of drinking green tea. If you want an energy boost and a healthy pick me up without any after slump, green tea is the answer. Green tea contains l-theanine which offers many brain benefits, it is widely appreciated for its ability to bring about a state of focused relaxation and calm attentiveness. Some people like to drink green tea in the evening to help them relax and sleep better.

 

20 Simple Ways To Relax and De-Stress

Call a Friend

We all have that close friend that instantly makes us feel better when we speak with them. If something is bothering you, a good idea is to share what is on your mind with a good friend. A good chat with a friend is always a great way to put a smile on our face and give us a much welcomed mood boost.

Take a Nap

Sometimes the best way to unwind and relax is simply to lay down in bed and have a quick nap. As you drift away to sleep, imagine all of your worries drifting away also. After you have your nap you should be feeling fresh and relaxed again.

Stretch

Try to get into the positive morning habit of stretching all of your muscles. Begin by stretching all of the large muscle groups such as your legs, chest and back, then gently stretch your shoulders, arms and neck muscles. A few light stretches are a great way to release any tension and stiffness from your muscles.

 

20 Simple Ways To Relax and De-Stress

Aromatherapy

By simply inhaling some lemon, lavender or jasmine will instantly help you to feel calmer, think more clearly and relieve any tension. Lighting a scented candle in your home is an easy way to clear the air and have you feeling better in no time.

Laugh

A good laugh is a great cure for when you might be feeling stressed or under the weather. Did you know that there is actually scientific evidence to back this up. Laughter actually enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and also increases endorphins that are released by your brain. Having a good laugh can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. Watch a movie that always makes you laugh out loud or meet your friends that always put a smile on your face.

Visualize

Get yourself into a comfortable position on the couch or a chair. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and recall a time when you were in a relaxed, tranquil environment. With your eyes closed, bring back the scene as vividly as possible (feel free to embellish the scene with more color and light. The memory is just a point of reference from where to begin.) Imagine the sounds, the sensations – perhaps a light breeze, or the warm feeling of the sun at the beach. Imagine all your senses immersed in the peace of the moment, relaxing in tranquility and harmony. When you feel complete, think about the rest of your day unfolding in total peace in harmony. Slowly open your eyes and notice how relaxed and wonderful you feel.

Sit Outside

A wonderful way to relax and unwind is just by simply sitting outside (weather permitting of course). Feel the sun against your face, the wind in your hair and listen to the birds singing in the distance. This break outdoors from your typical surroundings is a great way to chill out and feel great again. Sometimes when I go for a walk in the local park, I will take a few minutes and sit on a bench and take everything in around me. The sights, the sounds, the fresh air always help me relax and de-stress.

 

20 Simple Ways To Relax and De-Stress

Read

Another great way to relax and de-stress to to read. This could be some motivational quotes, your favorite self help book or a great novel. The choice is yours. Occasionally, I like to pick a book that I haven’t read in a long time and start reading it again. A great book is a great book, no matter how many times you read it.

Switch Off Your Phone

Our phones can be a constant source of distraction. Emails, messages, phone calls, notifications, news feeds, sports scores etc etc. Try to get into the healthy habit of not using your phone or having it beside you 24/7. Better still, get into the productive habit of either not using it for the first hour of the day or switching it off in the evening an hour before you go to bed.

 

20 Simple Ways To Relax and De-Stress

Clean The House

Some people find that cleaning can be very therapeutic. I like washing the dishes for example. I don’t know why, but I just seem to feel more relaxed as I wash the plates and cups. Some people enjoy vacuuming, while others like to iron clothes. Giving your home a regular spring clean can be a great way to freshen up where you live and tidy up all of your ‘stuff’ which can be contributing to your stress.

Have A Cup Of Coffee

Millions of people make coffee their morning beverage of choice to help kick start each day. There are many health benefits of drinking coffee. The chlorogenic, ferulic and caffeic acid contained in coffee can help reduce the inflammation of nerve cells that takes place in the brain of people with depression. Also, the caffeine in coffee causes an increase in your brain’s production of dopamine, leading to an increased feeling of well-being and a more positive mood. The next time that you are feeling stressed, make yourself a nice cup of coffee and enjoy all of its benefits.

 

20 Simple Ways To Relax and De-Stress

Take A Shower

Having a nice hot shower is a great way to wash away any tension from your body after a stressful day. The warm water has a wonderful calming effect on the mind and soul. Having a nice hot shower to help your muscles relax followed by a cool splash of cold water is another great way to feel invigorated and energized. For an extra bonus, try singing your favorite song while you are having a shower for some extra feel good therapy.

Use a Singing Bowl

I use a singing bowl every morning for a just few minutes as a part of my morning routine. The sound of the singing bowl followed by the gentle vibration that it makes have a wonderful calming and meditative effect. Using a singing bowl is also a great way to aid your immune system and also improve your blood circulation. I also find that using a singing bowl helps me to relax, de-stress and re-focus.

 

20 Simple Ways To Relax and De-Stress

Enjoy Your Time Alone

Sometimes all we need to do to help to relax and clear or mind is to simply switch off our phones, disconnect from the computer and spend some quality time alone with our thoughts. Get into the habit of liking who you are and enjoying your own company.

I hope that you find some of the suggestions above useful. I find a mixture of the above tips help me in different times. The important thing to remember here is to find what works best for you that will help you to relax and de-stress and do it.

 

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How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

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How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

We live in a world where other people’s triumphs, successes, and even their vanity are constantly in our faces. Digital influencers and social media make it seem easy to look perfect and feel amazing all of the time. Even your friends and family members might appear to having more success, happiness and fun.

If you stop to think about it, you can probably list off a handful of people you have compared yourself to in the past last week. Maybe a co-worker got a promotion at work, or maybe your friend has just flown off on vacation. Maybe someone you have not seen in years posted a photo online that made you envious of their lifestyle. When you start comparing yourself to others, it is easy to lose your sense of self-esteem and self-worth. If you let your guard down, you can fall into the trap of chasing after other people’s lives and not appreciating who you are and what you have achieved.

Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. How true those words remain today – perhaps even more so!

How can you stop the endless scrolling, or looking at the lives of people you know and feeling like you’re somehow less important?

Let’s look at a few tips and techniques that can help you to stop comparing yourself to others.

Know Your Triggers

Maybe a co-worker getting a promotion doesn’t affect you, but a friend getting married does. You might be single or recently divorced. Or, maybe you have been in a relationship for a while but your partner doesn’t want to get married. As a result, you start comparing yourself and the things you want to what someone else has. The things that cause you to compare are your “triggers”. Sometimes, you might not care whether someone has more than you, but other times it can really sting and make you feel low.

Understanding your triggers and accepting them will make it easier to stop making those comparisons. First, you can avoid triggers as much as possible until they do not impact you as much. Maybe cut down on your social media usage. Do you pick up your phone out of habit and constantly refresh your Instagram feed? Perhaps get into the habit of keeping your phone out of reach and taking a social media fast from time to time. As you work on that, try to think about why comparing yourself in those specific situations is a waste of time. Once you convince yourself that it is “no big deal,” you are less likely to be triggered.

Remind Yourself That It May Not Be Real

Because of the social media-saturated world that we live in, it is easy for everyone to make their lives seem better than they are. No one is going to post a photo that doesn’t paint them in a positive light. Even in the real world, everything is not always what it seems. Your friend getting married? Maybe they are struggling with something else, like a health condition or money troubles. That co-worker that seems to get all the credit? Maybe they are going through relationship issues at home.

Most of the time, you will only see what people want you to see. You never really know what is going on beneath the surface and behind closed doors. So, when you start comparing yourself to someone else, pause for a moment and remind yourself that no one’s life is perfect. You don’t know what other people are going through, and you may actually be doing better than they are in other areas of life.

Practice Gratitude

When you compare yourself to others, you lose sight of everything you have and everything you can do. Practicing gratitude each day is a great way to stop making comparisons. Think of at least five things you are grateful for every morning to start your day on a positive note.

Alternatively, carry a small notebook around with you and write down something that you are thankful for every time you think of it throughout the day. The best part about this method is being able to look back on your gratitude moments, especially if you are feeling down. It serves as a wonderful reminder of the wonderful things in your life.

Use it as a Motivational Tool

Sometimes, comparison can be a healthy thing. If the thing that you “want” is something that you can work towards, you can let your comparison motivate you to get it. For example, if someone in your life is incredibly kind and charitable, why let their generosity make you feel less important? You do not have to be extremely wealthy to give back. Try volunteering, or donate what you can. If someone at work seems to be getting all the glory, use that as a motivational tool to work harder and get your achievements noticed too.

When you start to work toward the things that make you admire others, it becomes less about comparison and more about who you really want to be. When done “correctly,” comparison can actually push you to be the best possible version of yourself.

So, don’t waste anymore time scrolling through social media and wishing for a different life. Don’t feel sorry for yourself because you think you will never have as much. When you use comparison in a negative way, it will make you feel negative and envious. Instead of comparing yourself to others, let certain people inspire you to do more, be more and achieve more.

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5 Ways To Know Your Self Worth

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5 Ways To Know Your Self Worth

Focusing on your sense of “self” is very important in so many different ways. When you think about it, you are probably surrounded by the word “self” each day more than you realize. From self-care, self-esteem and self-belief to self-confidence, self-respect and self-worth, people are constantly trying to find ways to better themselves in different areas of their lives.

If you ask most people if they know their self-worth, they will probably be quick to say yes. But, if you took that question further and asked them how they know it, you will likely be met with some hesitation. The reality is, most people think they know about self-worth, but do not fully understand what it is or how it differs from other areas of “self”.

So, how can you truly know your self-worth? What can you do to increase it? What are your strengths, gifts and abilities? Let’s take a look at a few ways to have a better understanding of what really is your self-worth.

1. Don’t Judge Your Own Emotions

You can boost your sense of self-worth by accepting your thoughts and feelings. You might not always like them, and you might find yourself at odds with them from time to time. But, whatever thoughts and emotions come into your head, let them in. Then, you can work through them effectively. Emotions demand to be felt. It is how you respond to them that matters. Don’t ignore them and limit your true value. Embrace the wonderful unique person who you are.

 

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.Robert Tew

 

2. Question Your “Shoulds”

When you think about the things you “should” do, it might leave you feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed. For example, if you say to yourself, “I should go for a run this evening,” and then you don’t end up doing it, how do you think you will feel? Chances are, you will struggle with some level of guilt. This can snowball into not feeling good about yourself and questioning how much that you value yourself and your self-worth.

Instead, fill your life with things that you “will” do. The word “will” implies that it is more of a promise and a commitment, rather than a burden. Saying “I will run a mile this evening” is much more motivating and allows you to prove exactly who you are and what you can do.

 

Anything is possible when you have a path, a plan, and a desire to take action. Dean Graziosi

 

3. Don’t Worry About the Acceptance of Others

It seems all too natural to worry about what other people think of us. Social media can make things even worse. If you find yourself constantly “looking for likes” or some kind of validation from friends, family, or even strangers, you are looking at your self-worth in the wrong place by looking through someone else’s lens and standards.

It can be hard to give up this habit. Everyone wants to be accepted. But, you won’t find what you are worth in the opinions of others. You have the power to see yourself for how great you really are. When you are able to internalize this power and recognize your true value and self-worth, you won’t put so much emphasis on what others think of you. You will get to know who you are, what you are really worth, and you can be confident in that.

4. Let Yourself Off The Hook

Many times, people cannot see their true self-worth because they are holding on to past guilt. Almost everyone has regrets. Whether you did something when you were young that you should not have, or perhaps you wronged someone in some way, the past is the past.

You need to learn to forgive yourself and let yourself off the hook. By holding onto that guilt, you will never be able to see what you are really worth. It will feel like a ball and chain holding you back. But, you have the key to break free, if you just give yourself the chance. If you would be willing to show someone else forgiveness and acceptance for their wrongdoings, you owe it to yourself to do the same. Give yourself a break.

5. Look at Your Gifts

If you are still having a hard time understanding your self-worth, take a look at your natural skills. Everyone has certain gifts in life. Your talents are going to be different from someone else’s – that’s what makes the world work!

Think about a few things that you are really good at. Or, something that you really enjoy doing. Go even further by creating a list of your talents and skills. They don’t need to be huge. In fact, writing a list of several “little things” can make you see just how important and valuable that you are. Take a look at that list whenever you are feeling down or devalued, and practice those talents and skills as often as possible.

By keeping these skills and talents of yours in mind, you can start to celebrate your self-worth. When you have a better understanding of your real value, you are more likely to prioritize other things like self-care, self-esteem and self belief. Each of which are different, but they are all connected in some way. But, it starts with knowing your self-worth. And, chances are, it is much more than you might think.

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6 Signs Of A Strong Friendship

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6 Signs Of A Strong Friendship

There is nothing quite like a strong friendship. Having someone that you can truly count on for anything and everything can completely change the way you think and feel. Unfortunately, far too often in today’s society, we seem to focus more on how many friends we have.

Or, worse, how many acquaintances we can keep in touch with via social media. But, having a true, strong friendship is something that cannot be replaced or replicated with lukewarm substitutes.

Are you already thinking about someone in your life who fits that description? Or, are you wondering if you truly have a strong friendship with one (or more) of the people who are closest to you?

While every friendly relationship is different and unique, there are some common factors associated with a strong bond and true friendship. Let’s take a look at a few of them so you can feel even more confident in your close friendships, and grow even deeper with the people in your life who truly matter.

1. Communication is Always a Priority

It is easy to talk to your friends when everything in your life is on track. Sharing laughs, light conversation, and exchanging stories are all important parts of a healthy friendship.

But, a strong friendship goes deeper. It allows you to communicate with that person, no matter what.  That includes telling them about your struggles or anything you might be going through. It also includes communicating effectively when you are not getting along.

Through proper communication, especially when things are hard, you will build trust within that relationship. Going through difficult things together will make you stronger individuals, and stronger friends.

2. You Know You Are Equals

Almost everyone has known at least one person in their lives who seems to think they’re “better” than everyone else.

Strong friendships need to be based on equality. You and your friend should always be on the same playing field when it comes to who you are and how you are living your life. If you embrace your differences and do not see one as superior, you can take comfort in knowing your friendship is sincere.

3. Respect

Even the best of friends clash from time to time. You might have similar personalities, but no two people are exactly alike.

But, if you can still show your friend respect (and receive it from them) even in times of turmoil, your friendship will be stronger than any disagreement you might have. When someone chooses to respect you even when they are upset with you, it shows that they value your relationship more than their pride.

4. You Can Be Yourself

Do you ever feel like you have to put on a show for other people? Or, are you afraid to let your true personality shine through when you are in certain crowds?

A strong friendship is one that allows you to be yourself. If there is someone in your life who truly likes you for who you are, hold onto that friendship tightly! Most people spend far too much time pretending, whether it’s online or in-person. Someone who loves your quirks and uniqueness is someone who loves you, as a person.

Honesty is also a huge part of being yourself, and a huge part of a strong friendship. Friendships should be based on trust, and that starts with being honest. Telling the truth about how you feel and what you think is important. If your friend actively listens, appreciates, and comments on that truth, you can take comfort in knowing how secure your relationship is.

5. You Experience Joy

While a true friend should be there for you during hard times, the bulk of your relationship should be joyful and fun! Again, think about that person in your life who makes you smile. Is there someone who you are always happy to be around? Does thinking about your friendship cause your heart to race?

Strong friendships should absolutely be joyful. You should find yourself laughing a lot, and being completely at ease with one another. That person may be the first one you think of when you want to experience something new or go somewhere different, just because you know that you will have more fun with them around.

6. You Respect Boundaries

No matter how great your friendship is, no two people can be together 24/7. A great friend will understand that and respect your boundaries. Alternatively, they might be going through something that they are not ready to talk about. If you can respect those boundaries, it shows them how much faith you have in your friendship.

Many people are too quick to think the term “boundaries” as being negative. But, boundaries are completely healthy and necessary in a strong relationship of any kind. Having someone in your life who respects those boundaries understands what it takes to build upon that strength. 

Having a strong friendship – even just one – can add so much to your life. Take a look at your current friendships. Is there one that stands out to you with these characteristics? If so, do what you can to continue to build and grow that strength, and make sure that friend knows how important they are to you on a regular basis.

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