Destressing techniques
Know some of the really simple ways to kick up dopamine and serotonin, the so-called brain "neurotransmitters" which research shows have the power to improve your mood immediately. Image Credit: Pexels | Gulf News

#1 Practice gratitude

Having a posture of gratitude, taking the time to be thankful, is a great way to start one’s day. One research found that gratitude was linked to fewer signs of heart disease.

NAT-191501-SC-Gratitude-Jar-1-(Read-Only)
A gratitude jar: Thankfulness or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus, meaning "pleasing" or "thankful", is regarded as a feeling of appreciation by the receiver of another person's kindness, gifts, help, favours, or other form of generosity.

A posture of gratefulness kicks up dopamine and serotonin. They're the stuff in the brain that improve your mood immediately. It gives you those positive feelings of pleasure, happiness, and well-being.

It's been said that expressing your gratitude can positively change your brain, giving you those positive feelings of pleasure, happiness, and well-being.

#2: Get moving

Exercise
Image Credit: iStockphoto

Start with simple stretching under the early morning sun. Exercise is a natural de-stressor.

Endorphins are the body’s hormones released when we do something that requires a burst of energy. These hormones make us perform and move. Exercise stands to increase those levels. Whether it’s a 30-minute walk with a pet, or a moderate aerobic movement, studies show that regular exercise leads to better mental health and emotional well-being, and lower rate of mental illness.

#3. Meditate

One great thing about meditation: you don’t need to do anything (an app or video may help).
Soothing music can also help. This technique is good for beginners, anyone.

Just start with deep breaths, for 5 minutes. Close your eyes (if they're open). Breathing is a natural body function. Increase deep breaths to 10, 15, 20 minutes.

Breathe in…breathe out. Repeat a mantra (i.e. “I breathe out stress and tension"). Read and reflect. Scan your body. Have a soft focus on a  specific part of your body and allow it to relax as you take deep breaths. Focus your love and kindness. 

#4. Laugh

laugh
Studies have found that it takes both cognitive and emotional ability to be humorous. Image Credit: Pexels/Tim Douglas

Can you laugh for a good 30 minutes? It’s almost ridiculous, right? But if you watch a comedy flick or funny cartoons, you may end up with good amount of laughter. Alternatively, you may engage in involuntary laughter — as in "laughter yoga”. No jokes are necessary.

Did you know that laughter can be faked, and that there's a whole community doing it? Question: does the human body and mind know our laughter is simulated? No. Today, involuntary laughing is considered a modern exercise, believed to provide similar physiological and psychological benefits as voluntary laughter.

#5. Phone | chat with a friend

Video Chat with friends
Share your happy moments, reminisce the old times, reconnect with loved ones. These are some of the sure fire-ways of de-stressing.

Reconnect. These days, you can set online meetings with old friends, no matter where they are. It doesn’t take much, just a bit of scheduling would do the trick. It’s a proven fact that social contact can be a healthy outlet for stress. Especially when you feel like burying your head in the sand.

#6. Write | journal

de stress write a journal
Journaling can be surprisingly therapeutic.

If you want to improve communication or writing skills, find inspiration, strengthen memory, achieve certain goals, journaling is a good place to start. Start by writing down your goals. Doing so allows youkeep better track of your intentions. It also allows you to track your progress and growth, and gain self-confidence.

Try this: Don’t think, just write. It’s a great stress buster just to keep tabs of what happened to you at the end of each day. Let your thoughts write themselves. You will be surprised at the amount of de-stressing effect and stress-busting hormones kicked up by journaling.

#7. Keep busy

Keep busy planting gardening
Enjoy gardening, sewing, sketching, dancing, a productive physical activity. It creates more structure in our lives, and is a great way to destress.

Sometimes, lethargy and inactivity can be a source of great depression, boredom, unhappiness. Individuals who suffer from depression and anxiety would be helped immensely by keeping busy. Get out of your own head. Work at a hobby.  

In turns out the lack of stressors is even more stressful! Being busy can be a good thing. As humans, we often have a desire to be productive and use our time well.

#8. Find an activity/exercise group

Exercise
Image Credit: Pixabay

This is related to #2. Finding an activity partner may also help curb stress, especially when it requires physical activity. A study published in November 2017 in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine shows that group exercise participants reported a 26.2% drop  in perceived stress levels, more than study participants who exercised on their own.

This is in addition to the fact that exercise, with or without a friend, provides stress relief,p umps up your body with feel-good endorphins, and improves your mood. Being part of a group activity gives you that impetus to push yourself to work harder on your goals.

#9. Immerse yourself in creative pursuits

01_Malaysia_Truly_Asia_cultural_performances_by_Istana_Budaya_and_the_National_Department_for_Culture_and_Arts_Malaysia_at_the_Stage_of_Nations-1641653735075
Creative pursuits can impact a person’s life on many levels. Image Credit: Gulf News File

The idea of being creative isn’t new. It’s part of human history (and pre-history!). Whether it’s visual arts, performing arts (theatre), music, creative writing, and (these days) video-making, research shows that creativity is good for you.

Mental health is heightened by the creative process, assists with trauma relief, boosts brain function, strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, and increases physical wellbeing.

Ever seen those first first drawings on cave walls? This early art form and communication style is still admired today. It’s a sign that creativity is essential to who we are as human beings, regardless of time or space.