The Many Forms of Stress Management
Most people deal with stress on a daily basis, but how do you handle that stress? The answer is different for everyone. There are many different and healthy ways of managing your stress levels that will have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
Some people choose to burn off their stress physically through athletic pursuits while other people find that calmer methods such as meditation or breath practices work best for them.
There are benefits to both mental and physical forms of stress relief, the real question is how to determine the way to manage your stress that best benefits you.
One great way to manage stress is meditation. Meditation connects you with yourself on a deeper level than you may be able to while surrounded by the chaos of everyday life. Meditation promotes relaxation and feelings of calm by helping you let go of your surroundings and center yourself mentally.
There are so many ways to meditate that you can practice it almost anywhere, at any time, with no special equipment. By taking time to focus and clear your mind (or focusing on one simple thing) you are expanding your self-awareness, reducing negative emotions and potentially gaining a new perspective on situations.
If you are unsure where to start when learning to meditate, consider looking into some simple forms like music meditation, mantra meditation, breath exercises or body scan meditation. If you don’t think you can sit still, there are more active forms like walking meditation. Each of these practices are equally beneficial and they all help to manage your stress through thoughtful relaxation.
If you really can’t imagine being stationary, you may find that athletic pursuits are a better form of stress relief for you. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress because there is a reliance on the self to get something done and you are in control of the outcome. The physical release from movement can also help reduce your mental stress levels by giving you a physical outlet to place your stress.
The best type of physical activity for you is based on your wants and needs. If you want to find solitude, consider running or other single person activities. If you want to find more self-reliance or self-control, consider martial arts. If you need more social interaction, group sports might be a better option.
An obvious benefit of athletics as stress relief is a healthier and more fit physical self. However, there are other underappreciated aspects of physical activity on your wellbeing. For example, say you are doing a team sport, there is a self-reliance on your own performance and the added benefit of community and mutual support. This elevated sense of community, support and your own performance can lead to higher self-esteem and give you the tools to better handle outside stressors.
Physical activity and mental wellbeing go hand in hand and together can be an energizing presence in your life. In both cases, meditation or physical activity, there is an aspect of self-reliance or self-appreciation, a release in endorphins and general improvement in your ability to sleep whether from relaxation or simply physical exhaustion. And, everyone knows, the better you sleep the better you feel and the better you feel, the easier it is to navigate the world.
Remember it is always a great idea to seek the expertise of a medical professional before starting a new exercise or wellbeing routine. In all cases, determine what is right for you and your needs, whether it is running two miles, breath practice or a marriage of meditation and physical movement (yoga anyone?), and find a way to positively transform your stress management habits.