Non-Chemical Ways to Relax the Mind When Stressed
When you get stressed out, do you reach for a drink or a pill? This includes soda and coffee. Both of these beverages have chemicals (technically, caffeine is the most widely-used drug in the world) that can alter your brain and affect your body. If this is you, you’re in good company. A lot of people reach for chemicals to help with stress. However, this can become habit-forming and even dangerous.
It’s important to understand healthy ways to manage stress throughout your life. Not every approach works for every person. In fact, your best stress reducers might change with age. However, part of the fun is trying new ways to minimize stress in your life. Here are some of the best chemical-free ways to do so:
- Go on a drive. If you adore your car, like a used Hyundai Genesis, nothing compares to getting behind the wheel and just driving. You can crank the music, head to the highway where you can safely and legally put the pedal to the metal (within reason), and let out some of that stress. The only caveat? Make sure you’re not too stressed, angry, or upset. Safety is still a priority.
- Listen to music. Music has a way of bringing out the emotions you need to process in a cathartic way. Whether dancing, crying, or a little of both sounds like what you need, music can help with this. Bonus points if you can play it loud and let yourself go. Even if others are around, there are always headphones.
- Go on a walk outside. If you’re really stressed, go on a run. The outdoors is naturally healing, and increasing your heart rate is a great way to reduce stress.
- Workout. If a walk outside won’t cut it, maybe a solid gym session will. When you’re stressed, you might find that lifting weights and running stairs makes you feel instantly lighter. It’s all of those endorphins you’re releasing while you speed up your heartbeat—as a bonus, you’ll also likely get in one of the best workouts of the week.
- Have someone you can vent to. Maybe it’s a friend, a partner, or a mental health professional. It’s important to have a support network around you, but it’s also important not to depend too heavily on the same person. This can be draining on personal relationships. Everyone can benefit from mental health therapy, and with options online there are a variety of ways to access it.
- Hit something safely. A boxing workout is a fantastic workout when you’re stressed. When you can channel that negative energy into a physical object, it almost works like osmosis. However, when a heavy bag isn’t available, a pillow works just fine.
- Write it out. Sometimes you just need to put pen to paper and get everything out. Journaling is an excellent stress reliever. If you really want to get the job done, you can even burn the pages in the sink afterward.
Learning to manage stress is a lifelong practice. Some strategies might appeal to you more than others. The secret is to just keep trying. You’ll find the right approach for you.