Stress Repelling Activities

One of the greatest modern threats and menaces to human kind is definitely stress. This coeval condition is caused by our constant movement and pursuit for better life conditions, not allowing us to “stop by and smell the flowers”, and to ease off. A fast-paced lifestyle can lead to serious health issues, leaving us mentally ravaged. The silver lining in the widespread nature of this condition is that foolproof stress relieving activities are well known to the general public. The activities are most often some combo of a seemingly light physical sport that drains will-power and stamina, engaging the performer through and through.

Boating

Becoming more popular as it becomes more affordable, boating is on the constant rise among modern people. Though buying a ship or a boat is the fastest way to get into the trade, it is too sudden a change to be comfortable. Building a boat, whether by yourself or with the help of experienced professionals will have you enjoying yourself as you work (woodwork is a relaxing hobby as well), and then as you sail your own craft on the open waters for the first time. Sailing is considered one of the most relaxing hobbies, with the blend of wind, waves, and physical and mental alertness. Also, experiencing nature in this raw form will help you gain some perspective and a new perception of being. And the bonus is the amazing sailor’s tan!

Gardening

Gardening as a stress repellant is a tale as old as time. Growing a plant is a fragile, yet loving business, but it’s certainly a calmer one than growing a child. The role of the nurturer, sans problems not related to the nurtured object’s most basic needs – food, shelter, fresh air and sunlight, is a pleasant and rewarding environment. Working a field, will leave you tired and in a constant worry about the outcome of the crop, but a smaller scale garden is only the good, none of the bad. Far eastern cultures have always focused on the peace of mind and the search for a state of Zen. Zen gardening is a thing that westerners have easily adopted. Tiny Zen garden sets including a bonsai plants, gravel and stones may not exactly traditional, but the relaxation you feel while working them is real.

Yoga

Coming from the ancient Hindu tradition, this form of exercise found its place and application today. It is highly popular because it requires neither special equipment, nor a designated room, so you can work out at home. Its popularity has made it more accessible in the digital age as well, and you can make sure you stay consistent in your yoga routine with the help of several apps (staying consistent with exercising is something most of us need a little help with, actually). Yoga is deeply connected with meditation, it can help you relieve from daily pressure, as you look for inner peace and balance. Many forms of yoga also combine some form of physical activity, and the benefits are doubled.

So, think carefully. Can you really avoid stress? No, never. But you can do so many things remove the psychic restraints it places upon you. Occasionally doing something involving body and soul is enough to get you through the working week, and out of the rut of deadlines.

This article has been kindly supplied by our guest blogger Kate Flannery.

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Reduce Your Stress With 5 Easy Yoga Apps

Yoga is practiced to bring the mind and body together through exercising, meditating and breathing, explains American Yoga Association. The exercises are designed to pressure the body through its glandular systems to increase your overall health and raise your self-awareness and understanding. It is a great way to relieve stress because it clears your mind and works your body.

If you don’t have time to go to a yoga studio or take a class at the gym, teach yourself yoga on your own schedule by downloading yoga apps to your smartphone. This way, you can do as much or as little as you want, and not add another item to your stressful to-do list. Here are just a few suggestions:

Daily Yoga

Daily Yoga has everything you need to begin and practice yoga. There are 19 complete programs that are designed for beginners and advanced users and include exercises such as seated and lying poses, meditation and breathing. Other programs center on parts of the body such as yoga for the abs and yoga for slim legs. In addition, there is a Sun Salutation program as well as two body toning programs and daily yoga for your back.

Daily Yoga costs $9.99 and is available for Android, iOS and Windows.

Pocket Yoga

Pocket Yoga is a bit different because it’s a tracker as well as a yoga trainer. It contains a simulation of an actual yoga studio. A calm voice walks you through the poses and instructs you on how to breathe as soothing music plays in the background.

This app doesn’t need the Internet, so you can use it anytime, anywhere. It has a dictionary that’s searchable for answers to any yoga questions, and there are photos for each one of the poses that include correct posture and alignment.

Pocket Yoga is available for $4.99 for Android, iOS and Windows.

5 Minute Yoga

If you want to do yoga but have a limited amount of time, this is the app for you.

5 Minute Yoga has a huge library of illustrated sessions that will help you de-stress quickly. As the title indicates, they’re only five minute workouts, so they are perfect to do before work or bed. Plus, there are over 350 different sessions, so you will not get bored.

5 Minute Yoga is available for $0.99 for iOS.

YogaCoach

Do you want a yoga coach, but not go to a yoga studio? YogaCoach is perfect for you.

It is a simple app aimed toward beginners, and has three different yoga programs: Daily Yoga for beginners, Theme Yoga (which features poses for different body parts) and Healing Yoga (for various health symptoms). It has a video and voice instruction for each pose.

YogaCoach is $1.99 and available for iOS.

Yoga is a lifestyle choice. Regular Yoga practice will unite your body and soul and help your overall stress levels and health. If you want to live a calmer, happier, stress-free life, then choose the lifestyle that does it all.

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Act Away Your Stress

Taking on the personality and attributes of another character could considerably reduce your stress. This will be even more likely if the character is humorous.

Check out local options on theatre and performance groups to see where you can participate. Characters of all shapes and sizes are needed and you never know what opportunities might arise from your performances.

It could be great fun and is it guaranteed to “take you out of yourself”.

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Take the Stress out of the Holidays with These Simple Tips

The holiday season is right around the corner and some of us are already stressing out. Just the thought of staying up for Black Friday (which starts on Thanksgiving for some retailers), and standing in lines to make sure to get the right gift for everybody without spending too much money is enough to make someone have a full-fledged panic attack.

Fortunately, there are things to do to bring your blood pressure down and end up feeling pretty good about the holidays. Here are some ideas to make this your first real stress-free holiday season.

It’s Good Enough

Sometimes “good enough” is the best thing you can do to de-stress. Why not have a regular Christmas tree this year instead of the 12-foot spruce you got last year? It’s easier to decorate and take down, and they both have that holiday pine smell.

Black Friday

There isn’t anyone who likes to stand in line. Retailers do go a little crazy with slashing the prices on Black Friday, so you can’t really pass up the lines.

Before you go braving the shopping centers, make a list ahead of time of what you want to purchase, and then take a look online to check out everything on your list so that wherever you go you can get in and get out as quickly as possible. Check the hours of each store. Retailers extend their hours for the holidays, and some are even starting Black Friday sales at 8:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving.

Some retail websites offer deals sent directly to your inbox, so you don’t miss anything. Retailers like Walmart provide an email sign up for Black Friday deals. This makes planning your holiday shopping simple and stress-free.

Free Shipping

Some retailers offer free shipping year-round while others off the free service exclusively for the holidays. After checkout, always save your tracking number and be sure to factor in shipping delays due to weather during your time of purchase to save yourself from potential shipping headaches.

Cyber Monday

If you’re not a fan of the Black Friday crowds, take advantage of Cyber Monday savings. Get online early because popular items tend to sell out quickly. Make sure you go over your final order when you check out—websites do make mistakes.

Shopping Tips

Always look for the hidden cashiers—sometimes there is a clerk standing at a customer service desk or a beauty counter. No matter what you’re purchasing, you can check out anywhere in the store. You can even make a purchase at the pharmacy if you have a prescription waiting.

Get your gifts wrapped for free! Ask about it, because the store may not tell you about it. If the retailer doesn’t do it (which they almost always do), visit the middle of the mall, groups and charities wrap gifts for a small donation.

Final De-Stressing Thoughts

Keep it simple! Maybe this year you could just send traditional Christmas cards instead of the family photo greeting cards you always send out. You’ll save time and money. Plus, you won’t have to worry about wrangling up the family to sit in on a scheduled photo shoot. Send out your cards without a hitch—a USPS spokesperson told Real Simple that the best time to go to the post office during the holidays is 30 minutes after the doors open.

Decorate simply, cook simple dishes or make a reservation and eat out. And if you entertain, make it intimate.

Less work, less stress—it may become a new holiday tradition.

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How Television Can Assist with Stress Management

This article has been kindly supplied by our regular contributor, Jared Hill.

For many people, the hectic pace of daily life is simply too much to handle at times. And while the digital era has brought us an innumerable amount of conveniences, it’s also  made it nearly impossible to escape and simply take a moment to relax. Between work responsibilities, your personal life, and anything and everything else that sneaks its way into your schedule, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Winding down and taking a moment to watch TV may seem like a quick way to become a couch potato, and leave you feeling guilty, but it can actually do more for your health than you realize!

Of course, we’re not advocating living a sedentary lifestyle, but there have been studies that have shown a relationship between stress reduction and laughter. In fact, in a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, they showed that laughter stimulates your organs almost immediately, thanks to your increased oxygen intake. It also causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure (similar to exercise, though not as extreme). This means that with humorous shows, you’ll immediately get a release of endorphins, which not only create a feeling of euphoria but also reduce physical pain. The study showed that frequently having a good laugh will even improve your immune system, since there is a direct correlation between negative thoughts manifesting and chemical reactions in the body, which in turn can lead to illness. In other words, people who laugh more often are not only happier, but healthier. I bet you didn’t know you were doing so much for your health when you sat around watching old episodes of The Big Bang Theory!

Besides providing you with a good chuckle, there is a whole new sub-genre of television shows that encourage making healthier lifestyle choices, which can greatly reduce your stress levels as well as improve your overall health. One of the leaders of this pack is the Food Network, who is working to change their high calorie reputation (although those foods are certainly still there) in order to promote healthier eating and shows. Leading the charge at the Food Network to encourage us to eat not only for our bodies but our minds is Ellie Krieger who, with her show Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger, is showing millions how to not only cook healthy food, but make it delicious at the same time. She has years of experience and a truly impressive resume, which includes two New York Times best-sellers, a period as a NYU adjunct professor, and contributions to a number of shows and magazines, like her regular columns in Women’s Health – she knows her stuff, to say the least. Thanks to the convenience of the Ellie’s Food Network website and on demand TV, you can tune into Ellie’s show anytime you want, and additionally print out her recipes to have on hand for the particularly stressful times, when you should be eating your healthiest.

Of course, the most famous show advocating a healthy lifestyle right now is NBC’s The Biggest Loser. You may think that the lessons learned on there only serve you if you’re trying to lose weight. While that may be true for some, their advocation of a healthy diet and regular exercise are tools that can dramatically reduce both your short and long term stress levels. In another study by the Mayo Clinic it was found that regular exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good, allow you a mental distraction, and help improve your sleep, which is vital to keeping stress levels low. So, the next time you’re watching the show, join in on their exercises!

While these ideas might not be the most mainstream, we live in a nation where television still reigns king. If you’re likely to end up watching television at some point in the day, you might as well get a good laugh, some exercise, or learn something new from it. And to think, your mother said too much television would rot your brain…

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