I don’t need to tell you that life today is stressful. Unfortunately, we can’t eliminate all the things in our environment that cause stress, but we can find effective ways to reduce it. You may not think you have time to start a new hobby to help you cope, but you’ll find that life will be a lot easier if you do.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to schedule your stress-relieving hobby. Putting another to-do on your calendar would just cause, well, more stress. Even if you pursue one of these hobbies on an irregular basis, you’ll still find that it helps you to stay unruffled.
1. Yoga or Meditation
Using yoga for stress relief isn’t a new idea, but there are scientific reasons that prove it works. Certainly, the breathing and the physical exercise helps practitioners manage stress, but yoga also reduces the negative impact of your body’s stress response.
If your schedule won't allow you to break into downward dog, meditation is another way to reduce stress. Anyone can learn to meditate and you can do it almost anywhere. Meditation can clear the information overload that is taxing your brain. In addition, research suggests that it also helps manage anxiety and depression.
The physical activity of dancing helps release tension and reduce stress. The cardiovascular aspect of dancing helps to boost endorphins — those chemicals that help you manage pain and generate positive feelings. And, if you dance with a partner, you’re forming healthy bonds that make life more enjoyable.
Again, exercise helps! A group of Stanford scientists studied the benefits of walking in an urban setting versus a natural setting (like your local or nearby state park). It was a small study, but they found that walkers who walked through a natural setting, as opposed to the urban setting, actively decreased the rumination activity in their brain.
You know when you’re ruminating. It’s when someone cuts in front of you on the way to work and you nearly get into an accident. You try to get over it, but you can’t, and you just keep fuming about it for the rest of the day. Spending some time walking through nature will help alleviate that stress.
Getting lost in a good book has a variety of health benefits. Studies show that reading can lower your heart rate and release muscle tension. It’s also been shown to increase empathy, which will make you more compassionate. You can put that empathy to work in changing how your see your own experiences.
5. Writing or Journaling
Writing as an activity relaxes many people. But, if you write in a journal, research shows that it can help counteract many of the body’s stress responses. Having the opportunities to self-reflect will put your day (and your job) in perspective.
Challenge yourself to take some time every day for a hobby you enjoy. Choose a hobby that helps you reduce stress, and you’ll improve the quality of your life!
Wanda Sealy created Multi-Task-Her Coaching and Consulting Services to assist ambitious working mothers like herself. An experienced coach, Wanda has an uncanny ability to help women identify and address the core issues that are holding them back, allowing them to be the inspired and empowered people they were born to be. If all you have are questions, Wanda will help you find the answers. To learn more about Wanda and her company visit www.multitaskher.com or email her at [email protected].