A Complete Guide to Stress Relief
Stress isn’t just a feeling; it’s a set of physiological reactions in your body that occur when you’re under pressure. Occasional stress is an unavoidable part of life but living in a constant state of stress has serious consequences for your health. That’s why stress relief products are an important investment in your overall well-being.
Why Is Stress Relief Important?
Stress is a physical system designed to power you through short-term situations that require some extra effort. Some systems of your body, such as your heart and circulatory system, work overtime when your body is under stress. Other systems, such as your digestion, don’t get the resources they need.
This is fine for short periods of stress, but over long periods, every system of the body can sustain damage. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, long-term stress can increase your risk for heart disease, obesity, depression and other serious illnesses.
The good news is that many stress relief activities are easy to incorporate into a busy schedule. Even if you only have a few minutes, it’s important to give yourself time to relax. Much like stress, relaxation isn’t simply a feeling. It has real physical effects on your body as anti-stress hormones and neurotransmitters activate specialized receptors in the brain.
Taking the time to relax affects every facet of your health. Sleep patterns, energy levels, mental health and interpersonal relationships all noticeably improve when the body isn’t under constant stress.
What Are Proven Stress Relief Products and Activities That Work?
If you’re chronically under stress, there are many steps you can take to reduce your stress levels. It’s important to find the technique or product you’re excited to use so your stress relief plan doesn’t become yet another stressor.
Many techniques are especially effective at the first signs of stress, so getting in touch with what it initially feels like in your body can be extremely helpful. Tense shoulders, tightness in the chest or racing thoughts are common first signs.
Some of these strategies involve establishing long-term positive health habits, which can be intimidating at first. The good news is that incorporating even one stress-relieving habit into your daily life can have a domino effect of positive outcomes for your health.
Mindfulness and meditation have been getting a lot of attention lately, with new classes and apps promising to clear your mind. However, this practice has been helping with stress for thousands of years and can be practiced without any equipment. Meditation is a great stress relief activity since it cuts immediately to the heart of the problem — your thoughts.
Many people think of meditating as sitting on a mountaintop for hours, but that’s not necessarily the best place to begin. Instead, a good beginner exercise is to sit comfortably with a three-to-five minute timer running. You can also use an instrumental song if you prefer.
For the length of the timer or song, focus on your breathing and try to dismiss any thoughts about your day or responsibilities that enter your mind. If an inner voice tells you that you can’t dismiss these thoughts or everything will implode, remember that it’s just three minutes. Even the busiest of people can take three minutes for themselves.
Of course, dismissing stressful thoughts is easier said than done. If you have to brush away thoughts every few seconds, you’re still meditating. Every time you refuse to fixate on stress, you reduce your stress levels, even if a new thought appears immediately. Meditation, like any activity, gets easier with practice.
Many stress relief activities and anti-anxiety techniques taught in therapy are miniature meditations. Instead of focusing on the thought that’s causing you stress, you can switch your focus to your senses and the environment around you in an exercise called grounding. Here are a few grounding techniques to try when you’re feeling overwhelming stress:
- Pressing your fingertip and thumb together and focusing on the sensation where the two meet
- Taking a deep breath and feeling the air fill up your lungs, then feeling it leave
- Looking around and naming five things you can see, four things you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell and one you can taste
Meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting still. Practices like yoga and tai chi combine the sensation-focused aspects of meditation with gentle exercise. Many people find the mental challenges of meditation easier when they have poses, stretches or other movements to focus on.
Another approachable mental technique for stress relief is keeping a journal. Don’t worry about the words sounding perfect, as a journal’s only purpose is to organize your thoughts.
Often, writing a problem down helps put it in perspective. You can also use a journal to identify and start to remove excess negativity from your thought patterns. Focusing on accomplishments, no matter how small, is a great way to stop feeling behind in your life and reduce stress.
For your first journal, it’s helpful to opt for one without marked days. That way, you won’t feel discouraged if you miss a day of journaling. With any habit-changing activity, it’s important to be resilient if you miss a day and keep going where you left off.
It can be difficult to fit exercise into a busy life but working out reduces stress on a neurochemical level. Exercising vigorously for 20-30 minutes is enough to release endorphins and endocannabinoids in the brain. In addition, the energy brought on by regular exercise makes it easier to handle daily tasks.
Running is one of the most popular stress relief activities. It’s simple enough not to require much thought, yet it’s demanding enough to get stressful thoughts out of your mind. When starting out, it’s a good idea to walk for long intervals between one-minute jogs. Then, you can gradually decrease the walking intervals.
If you’ve tried running or going to the gym with no success, it’s possible you could benefit from a more mentally engaging exercise such as dancing. Dancing is a great exercise choice to get rid of stress since creative expression and music also reduce stress levels.
With the rise of the internet, dancing is easy to incorporate into a busy schedule. Simply keep a playlist of two- to three-minute dance videos and put one on when you have a short break in a stressful day.
Stress relief techniques don’t have to be challenging to be effective. Booking a stress relief massage is a good way to reduce stress levels. Stress in the mind manifests as tightness in the body that can lead to aches and pains. Relieving this tightness helps many people with the mental aspects of being chronically stressed as well.
Hydromassage – Soaking in a Hot Tub
Most stress relief activities have their drawbacks. Meditation can be intimidating, journaling requires consistency, exercise isn’t a simple solution for many people and professional massages can quickly get expensive.
Soaking in a hot tub requires almost no effort and delivers instant stress relief. You’re probably aware that soaking in a hot tub is soothing, but there are specific reasons it’s great for stress:
- Warm water signals your nervous system to relax.
- The tactile sensation of the water helps to bring you out of your thoughts.
- Floating weightlessly takes the strain off of your joints, bones and muscles.
- Jets in the hot tub give you a stress relief massage.
- The hot tub gives you a physical space to relax that your mind learns to recognize and associate with being calm.
- Taking 15 to 20 minutes to yourself in the hot tub resets the mind and gives you some distance from stressful responsibilities.
Hot tubs are a popular feature for parties and group gatherings, where they can also reduce stress and bring people closer together. However, soaking in a hot tub by yourself is a powerful stress relief tool that’s easy to incorporate into your day with the right equipment.
Learn More About Bullfrog Spas
A new hot tub is a fun purchase for your home, but it can also have a real positive effect on your overall health. Stress affects every system of your body, so finding creative and reliable ways to lower stress levels is important for your quality of life.
There are many helpful and healthy ways to relieve stress, though not every method is easy. The more methods you can combine and stick to, the better chance you have of beating chronic stress. Hot tubs are a proven tool that you’ll actually want to use even from the start. If you’re starting an exercise routine, hot tubs are especially important for recovery and pain relief.
Bullfrog Spas are the only hot tubs with the patented JetPak Therapy System. This allows you to personalize your spa experience by selecting the jet massages that you want, placing them in your favorite seat, and interchanging at anytime. Personalize your therapy so you can relax your way.
A hot tub is one of the best stress relief products you can invest in. Bullfrog Spas has dozens of hot tubs to choose from. These personal spas come in a variety of sizes and price points to deliver a space for relaxation in any home environment. Browse our selection today or find a nearby store that can match you with the perfect personal spa.
Design Your Own Spa, Get an Instant Price Quote
Purchasing a hot tub isn’t just an investment; it’s a lifestyle change that will benefit your entire family. Only you can decide if a spa is a good investment for you. Use our online Design Studio tool to select your model, JetPaks, and accessories. Once you’re done, you’ll receive an instant price quote.