If you are suffering from chronic stress there is no need to feel bad. Modern life means that everybody needs stress reduction techniques.
Research has shown that practicing stress reduction techniques can improve our health in many ways. Chronic stress – that is, constant or recurring exposure to stressful situations, even at a low level – has been found to contribute to health issues from heart attacks and digestive disorders to rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer.
So let's look at some simple chronic stress reduction techniques now.
It sounds easy and probably people are saying it to you all of the time, but how do you actually do it? The answer is to take yourself to a quiet place where you can be alone for a few minutes. Focus on your breathing, exhaling fully to a count of ten. Then mentally travel through the body contracting and relaxing each muscle in turn, from the face to the toes or vice versa.
If you can be lying down while you do this, great. Maybe you even have time to take a nap after. If not, it can be done seated in your office cubicle or on a bench in the park, or in a limited way, even standing.
Regular exercise is one of the best stress reduction techniques that you can adopt. It strikes a double blow against stress, working off the adrenaline that is produced by the stress response and improving our general health and resistance to the kind of diseases that chronic stress can cause or exacerbate. The benefits can even spiral upward because feeling a little fitter and better about our lives makes us less likely to suffer from the effects of stress.
So think of something that you enjoy doing and do it at least three times a week. Even if it is just a 20-minute walk, the important point is to get your body moving, preferably in a relaxing atmosphere. The park works better than the gym for many people, when your focus is on stress reduction techniques rather than muscle tone (although of course you can work on that too!)
3. Surround yourself with affection
Affectionate relationships and soothing physical contact with other living beings can have a hugely beneficial effect on stress levels. If you are somebody who does not often kiss or hug your family and friends, consider taking steps toward changing that.
If you live alone, consider getting a pet. A dog is probably the most affectionate pet that you can imagine, and you will also have to take it for walks, so that takes care of your exercise requirement too. But if you can't have a dog for any reason, consider a cat, or even a small caged animal like a hamster. Whatever you choose, be sure to spend plenty of time relaxing and playing with your pet. Just stroking an animal has been shown to be one of the most effective stress reduction techniques.
But you can still do more. Have photos of people you love around you, and smile at them often. You can do this at home and at work. You can also keep a photo in your purse or wallet where you will see it each time you go to take out your credit card. Don't forget to smile at the photo every time, because smiling and laughter are also great stress reduction techniques.