Relaxation techniques for every personality.
STRESS AFFECTS EVERYBODY DIFFERENTLY – while one person might sleep less, another person might need more rest. Some people have trouble concentrating, while others become laser-focused. Each of us responds uniquely when the pressure mounts. As a result, we all need individualized coping strategies. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. A technique’s success depends on how well it fits your personality. Take a moment to reflect on who you are: Are you sensitive to overstimulation? Do you recharge from spending time alone? Or does being around people energize you? If something is bothering you, would you rather vent about it or be distracted from it? When it comes to easing tension, there is no “right” way – only one that is effective and works for you. Below are suggested techniques for four personality types.
Always moving – and you like it that way
The very idea of sitting still and breathing deeply makes you antsy. To help manage stress, consider an active, aerobic exercise like running or dancing. The endorphins released by exercise can ward off anxiety, boost self-esteem and improve sleep, all of which contribute to reducing stress.1 If you’d prefer a more low-impact activity, tai chi is easy on the joints and increases flexibility. Tai chi has been described as “meditation in motion” and is commonly used for stress reduction. Yoga might also work – it combines the chill-out factor of meditation coupled with constant motion to keep things interesting.2
Taking on others’ burdens
Perhaps you would describe yourself as more of a nurturer – which is wonderful, but it can also mean carrying your own stress along with everyone else’s. You may find a solitary, tranquil activity best for relaxing. Meditation is not only calming, but some studies suggest that practising daily can actually alter your neural pathways and better enable you to process stress.3 A quiet walk in the woods or gardening can also give you a break and allow you to focus on yourself. Researchers have found that outdoor activities create a sense of “being away” that can contribute to stress reduction.4
If you’re a natural problem-solver, it might stress you out just to know you’re not managing your stress as well as you would like to. Consider adding aerobic exercise to your daily routine as well as making some changes to your diet. Swiss chard and other leafy greens are excellent sources of magnesium, which can help balance cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. Avocados and bananas are packed with potassium, which can lower blood pressure. Omega-3 fats in fish like salmon can help manage adrenalin levels, while small portions of dark chocolate can lower stress hormones and release serotonin, the “feel good” hormone.5
Where is my “me time”?
As any introvert knows, there’s nothing as stressful as prolonged time with a crowd with no chance to recharge. A great stress management solution is setting aside time to be completely peaceful. Find a time that you can be unreachable, except in case of emergencies. Turn off your phone. Schedule a break in your calendar if you need to, and stick to it. Use this time for hobbies that centre you. Do you feel calmer after listening to music? Watching TV? Reading a book? Whatever does the trick – this is your time. In the end, the best stress-busting technique is the one that you actually use, and you are more likely to use one that comes naturally. Your doctor can also provide valuable guidance and ensure these tips support your overall health.
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