The parasympathetic nervous system is the part of your autonomic nervous system that controls how you feel when you are at rest. It helps to regulate many bodily functions, including heart rate, digestion, and sexual arousal. One way it works is by slowing down the body’s reactions to stressors in order to promote relaxation. This can be helpful for people who have high levels of anxiety or depression because it allows them more time to process what they are feeling before making a decision about their next course of action. The fight or flight mode is when we are ready for action or ready to run – the opposite is rest and digest – when we should be relaxing and energizing after eating or activity.
When you’re stressed, take deep breaths. Focus on your breathing and tell yourself that everything will be okay. When you get tense, try to loosen the tension with some stretches or gentle yoga moves before continuing with whatever task is stressing you out. You can also try humming or singing gently.
Quiet down your inner “monkey mind” by placing something in front of it – like an art project, video game, book… whatever absorbs your attention for extended periods of time! Listen to calming music where ever possible. Sit outside when the air is fresh and brisk so you can feel invigorated by nature’s energy forces (and sit still!) Practice mindfulness meditation, which helps train your brain to focus only on the here.
A lot of people can’t put up with life’s everyday hassles and they find themselves at the mercy of stress. A high cortisol level is often the result, perpetuating a cycle that’s tough to break out of.
5 tips to give you some relief when you’re feeling stressed out.
- Don’t neglect yourself – Take time for yourself- Spend quality time with good friends or family, get in some exercise every day, go on vacation if possible, take care of your health through proper nutrition and sleep habits (eight hours each night). Easier said than done sometimes? Yes it is! But taking care of the mind and body are important not only for relieving stress but also in maintaining a healthy lifestyle in general.
- Think about what you have going for you in life. Everyone has challenges, but if we were all limited to talking about the negative things that happen to us every day then there would hardly be any happiness or humor in this world. So think of who loves you and who is proud of you and how much goodness is packed into your days when compared with bad stuff. What have been your biggest triumphs? Who are your loved ones that you cherish the most?
- Listen to calming music (think classical) and go on a walk by yourself somewhere because screens make it too sedentary and social media.
Relaxation tips after work
- Take a walk after work to clear your mind from any stress from work.
- Take a bath with some Epsom salts and lavender essential oil or candles.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Read a book or watch a movie to spend some quality time.
- Practice mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises.
Relaxation tips DURING work
1) Get up every 20-30 minutes. The key to relaxation is movement. Even if you walk around your office, this will increase circulation and give you a break from the tedium of sitting all day.
2) Look at pictures or call loved ones for 5-10 minutes. This tactic helps foster closeness while providing another form of stimulation that will keep your brain active and thus relaxes your mental state, creating an internal “vacation”.
3) Take deep breaths for 10 seconds in between tasks to allow your body’s natural relaxation hormones (e.g., dopamine, endorphins) time to begin flowing again). When we feel stressed or anxious our breathing becomes short and shallow; by consciously.
4) Give yourself 5 minutes to daydream about things you are looking forward to in your personal life. It’s the equivalent of counting sheep, but it’s less monotonous.
5) Take a mini walk break for 5 minutes every hour or so. The fresh air may help clear your head and you’ll likely be calmer when returning to your desk after this break.
6) Plan time away from work–once a week if possible–even if only 15 minutes at lunch so that you can use this time away from work as an opportunity to recharge both mentally and physically without feeling like you’re taking more time off than necessary (3 hours per day is not unreasonable).
8) Stretch your muscles.
9) Change your environment or activity if possible.
10) Play calming music or low level noise in the background. 5) Take a five minute break every hour to do something unrelated.
11) BREATHE!!! Again! Remember to breathe! Relaxing is largely done by rejuvenating rather than exhausting oneself, so take breaks when you need them!