Destress: Six Ways To Chill Out

I've been caught up in those conversations where everyone tries to show that they're the most stressed out.  I actually get a little flash of pride if I win and lately I've been winning more often.  This is definitely going in the wrong direction!  Here's some ideas to unwind that work. Meditation This is the Goliath of destressing.  There have been a myriad of studies showing it calms the mind, increases clarity, and improves health.  It is something that everyone should consider trying.  There are many ways to approach this: from a simple awareness of breath to transcendental meditation (very popular) to prayer.  They are all a form of meditation and all offer similar results. If you haven't tried meditation before surf the internet until you find something appealing and give it a go.  For most people the first few times are frustrating.  It's hard to quiet our thoughts and push those to do lists out of our heads.   If you're lucky you'll find a moment or two that feels "right"; that's what you should build on.  Daily meditation can have dramatic results on your life but three to four times per week can add significant improvements too. Repetitive Movement Knitting or needlepoint is incredibly soothing.  You have to pay attention to what you're doing so you're not thinking of that to do list, but you can still be aware of what is going on around you.  Hence the knitting circle, a double whammy of stress relief since you're doing repetitive movement and socializing!  I had a lengthy conversation with the owner of a needlepoint shop about how it's a great source of stress relief and that she gets referrals to her shop all the time from a local mental health therapist. Exercise You Enjoy A run around the reservoir might be a fabulous way to recharge your batteries as well as sneak in your workout.  For me the movements of hooping that require concentration but also are so tactile can be amazingly calming.  Whatever exercise you choose it needs to appeal to you.  If you slog through a run completely miserable the whole time, don't bother.  Find another form of exercise that makes you feel great while you're doing it and helps you look great after you're done. Music That You Enjoy Whenever my stress levels are building I wind up listening to less music.  It's not conscious on my part, but if I turn on the iPod I'll get my focus back and enjoy my day more.   Just like exercise it has to be music you enjoy.  Don't put on Mozart because you think it's good for you, only play it if you like it.  If Metallica is more your speed, rock on dude ... Sleep I talk about sleep alot because it really is that important; that 1/3 of our life that makes the other 2/3s run a lot more smoothly.  Your emotions will be in check, your body will work it's metabolic processes more efficiently, and you'll feel on top of your game.  Of this entire list, sleep is the most important thing.  Amounts vary slightly per person but you know what you need.  I'm an 8 1/2 hour a night kinda gal and if I don't get it, I'm grumpy the next day. Your Own Thing There's a category here that I can't define but that you can.  We have all developed coping mechanisms over the years that help to calm us down.  One of my big ones is cooking from scratch.  I love the recipes and the production.  There are activities that you do that chill you out.  Playing with a hacky sack, reading, whatever random thing it is don't neglect it.  Try to keep it incorporated within your life. What do you think?  How do you relax and unwind?  If you'd like some more ideas, check out my most popular article ever on this blog about unwinding. If you like this post, we'd love to have you as a regular subscriber.  Just fill out the form in the right hand column and we'll be talking soon.  I offer behind the blog tips and a slightly more irreverent look at health and fitness.  -----> Thanks, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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4 Responses to Destress: Six Ways To Chill Out

  1. Kris O'Connor October 1, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Great post! Destressing is so important and I’ve been epending time towards chilling out….

    Getting on the floor and stretching, breathing and moving at night
    Walking – just because – or to do some errands or shopping
    Music – I’ve rediscovered lots of old favorite music – I can finally work my iPod without my son’s help ;-)
    Cooking – I never thought that this would be a destresser – but I’m really learning to love it!

    Thanks again ~ Kris

  2. Lisa Johnson October 1, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Hi Kris, the cooking was a learning curve for me too. I used to hate it but now it’s really relaxing for me. Although it’s the most relaxing when I bake and that means desserts … lol L–

  3. Kris O'Connor October 1, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    That’s so funny Lisa! I’ve been thinking about baking… but alas… If you find any less-carby types of yummies – please share!

  4. Lisa Johnson October 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    If I found any I’d immediately ditch fitness and open a bakery! I’d be a millionaire!

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