The almighty stress formula is a constant in Nigeria especially in Lagos. Where do I start from? There are myriad of stress factors prevalent in this great city and in no particular order, here they are: traffic jam, lack of constant electricity, the heat wave as the rainy days are over, the constant noise from hundreds/thousands of generators within an area, lack of potable water, stress from the job, from home etc. It is a never-ending cycle of stress factors.
So what can be done to reduce stress within a few minutes without spending loads of money? Here are a few you can try right this minute:
- Get Yogified: The combination of deep breathing techniques and poses in Yoga makes this activity work to reduce stress. Happy many of us practice yoga in Nigeria? How do you get yogified? Do you have a yoga instructor at your gym or do you practice yoga at home or in the office through a dvd or via internet you tube videos?
- Start ohmmming: The “mental silence” that goes along with meditation may have positive effects on stress (especially work-related stress). So make out time for mental silence at work perhaps during your lunch break before you place your order, assign five minutes for some mental silence and tune out your surroundings and all that is going on in your life.
- Kisses xoxo: Research suggests kissing releases chemicals that ease hormones associated with stress, like cortisol. Forming positive relationships is also a key way to help reduce stress and anxiety. So go grab your partner and get a-kissing and do make out time to invest in some serious relationships too.
- Walkathon: A quiet, meditative stroll can do wonders for stress relief especially when we step outdoors. Try not to rush, and take whatever pace feels most natural. Hard to do in Lagos especially because of the hustle and bustle of the city but it isn’t impossible especially for those that live in enclosed estates with private parks as a bonus. Then there are a few public parks, the public beach and of course some leisure centers that are also nature focused.
- Dittos and Memos: Keeping a journal may be one way to effectively relieve stress-related symptoms due to its meditative and reflective effects. A gratitude journal can really help us put things in perspective. So pick a time every day to write down a few things that make you happy.
- Take up art: Art therapy can potentially reduce stress-related behavior and symptoms. Don’t think that only children enjoy coloring activities because there are adult coloring books for people who enjoy the calming feeling that coloring or painting does bring.
- Huggies: Hugging may actually reduce blood pressure and stress levels in adults. Remember how comforting it was when you were embraced by a loved one after a bad day?
- Nap time: Napping has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which aids in stress relief. I remember days when I was so under pressure at work and couldn’t cope with the demands of the job perhaps due to a sleepless night a day before. I would go to a quiet space we had behind my office within the office complex and take a nap. I’ll confess to you that as little as 15 minutes can work wonders on your mind and body.
- Hand therapy: Getting a good old rub down may do more than alleviate physical pain. Studies suggest massage may also be beneficial for fighting stress. It may also help improve body image.After discovering the holy grail of spa life; I had a massage frequently to work off the constant knots in my shoulders and the pain in my waist from constant sitting. I always felt as light as a butterfly after any of my massage sessions.
- Get moving: That post-exercise endorphin rush is one way to sharply cut stress. You might not focus on the normal workouts in the gym or at home. Dancing and swimming are forms of exercises that are fun to do and are also social in nature which buttresses point number three above on building positive relationships.
- Tea party: One study found that drinking black tea leads to lower post-stress cortisol levels and greater feelings of relaxation. So develop a tea drinking habit for good health and for weight loss as an increase in cortisol levels spike fat deposits in the body.
- Laughter as medicine: Laughter can reduce the physical effects of stress (like fatigue) on the body. Buy funny movies on dvd or purchase our normal cd that have videos of our stand-up comedians to watch at home or buy tickets to go watch them live.
- Tune it up: Research points to multiple ways in which music can help relieve stress, from triggering biochemical stress reducers to assisting in treating stress associated with medical procedures. So go ahead and buy that iPod or buy a bigger memory card to take up more of the tracks you love.
- Scents and senses: Studies suggest aromatherapy can be a good way to relieve stress. Certain aromas (like lavender) have been consistently shown to reduce stress levels. For the office, put a few drops of essential oils on a cotton ball and take a few whiffs once in a while for energy or if you have a private office, add 1-6 drops to an electric diffuser or create a mister by adding a few drops of essential oils to a spray bottle filled with distilled water.
Do you know any other proven methods of reducing stress which you currently practice but not listed here? Please share!!!!