According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), stress is the basic cause of 60 percent of all diseases and illnesses in humans. In addition to causing digestive problems, back and neck pain, depression, sleep problems, lowered immunity, heart disease, weight gain, and even certain types of cancers—research shows that stress may even contribute to the development of arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
If you suffer from any of these conditions on top of chronic, daily stress, you know how much it can reduce your quality of life. But fortunately, there are some activities that each of us can do to reduce feelings of stress, helping us to reach total wellness.
But better yet? There are 5 great de-stressors available that promote a healthy lifestyle, which can also be done for free. Now, let’s discuss these ways to de-stress for free in detail!
1. Create a happiness journal
In an article written by Maud Purcell, LCSW/CEAP, and published by PsychCentral, the calming, health-promoting benefits of journaling are discussed. According to the article, journaling can help to enhance mental and emotional wellness in several important ways.
First, journaling helps you to clarify your feelings and thoughts, pushing you to become more self-aware, confident, and happy. Next, it reduces stress by letting you write about any sad, angry, or painful emotions that may be bottled up. Lastly, it helps you to solve problems and effectively resolve any underlying disagreements with other people.
Journaling doesn’t have to be a hassle; in fact, it can be a fun and creative experience if you allow it to be. For instance, The Happiness Planner offers website visitors several free printables for reflecting on the 2016 year and planning for the 2017 year ahead. Other printables are also available to help people creatively convey their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Of course, you can always journal with a plain piece of paper and a pen, but these printables make the experience much more organized, thought-provoking, and exciting.
2. Practice your Sun Salutations
The Sun Salutation is a popular yoga technique that is easy to learn and just as easy to practice daily. And according to Harvard Health Publications, yoga (such as the Sun Salutation) is an incredible stress reliever that combines controlled breathing, deep relaxation, and physical poses. Yoga also has the potential to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, improve overall mood, and it even increases cognitive functioning.
However, one of the (only) downsides to yoga is the cost of attending a guided yoga class. But have no fear, because free online yoga classes are available for anyone interested to use. Stream one of the many free online yoga classes provided by DoYogaWithMe and experience the many calming benefits of yoga to promote a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Start with a beginner’s Sun Salutations practice and work your way up to a Yummy 20 yoga sequence, which is perfect for unwinding after a long day or starting fresh first thing in the morning.
3. Try guided meditations
According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation provides a wide range of health-promoting benefits that each and every worrier can benefit from. For example, the Mayo Clinic discusses how meditation can promote emotional wellness by helping people to gain a new perspective during stressful scenarios, increasing self-awareness, and reducing negative thoughts, to name a few.
Additionally, yoga can help to manage symptoms of cancer, anxiety disorders, depression, and high blood pressure. But, how can you practice meditation without paying any costly fees to take a guided meditation class? Fortunately, free guided online meditations are available.
4. Unplug your electronics
In today’s day and age, the relationship between smartphone use and stress is very clear. In an article written by Dr. David Shanley, Psy.D., he explains that frequent smartphone users experience higher stress levels than people who don’t use smartphones at all. And according to a British study on smartphone use, 37 percent of adults and 60 percent of teenagers even admitted to being addicted to their smartphones.
While the easy solution to promoting a stress-free, healthy lifestyle may seem like people should just ditch their smartphones altogether, we all know that’s probably not going to happen. Many of us rely on smartphones for our careers, staying in touch with family and friends, and for online shopping or banking.
If you cannot ditch your smartphone completely, you need to do the next best thing: Give yourself a certain amount of time each day to disconnect from the outside world. Turn your phone off, unplug the television and any other electronic distractions, and simply take the time to appreciate the silence around you. This is called a digital detox.
Even if you only have fifteen minutes to spare each day, it will make a difference in reducing your stress levels.
5. Take a warm bath
In an article written by wellness coach Elizabeth Scott and published by Verywell, the usefulness of bath meditation is discussed. We’ve already highlighted the importance of meditation as a remedy for stress relief, but bath meditation is a different form of traditional meditation that provides additional benefits.
For instance, bath meditation helps you to disconnect from the world around you (resist the urge to take your smartphone and other electronics into the bath), it helps to relax your tired, overworked muscles, and it provides a calming, relaxing atmosphere where you can just lay back and soak. Bath meditation allows you to focus on the sensations of the warm water on your skin, the pressure of the tub against your back, and the stillness and quietness surrounding you. To create a meditative bath experience, try adding bubble bath, calming lavender oils, bath salts, or even detoxifying baking soda.
By incorporating these 5 free activities into your daily or weekly routine, you’ll make an effort to greatly reduce symptoms of physical, mental, and emotional stress in your life.
What else do you do to de-stress normally?