The responsibilities, surprises and challenges of the daily routine are what make life meaningful – but they can also make it highly stressful. Whether it is the race against time to prepare the kids for school in the morning, trying to finish a project on time at work if you’re under pressure from your boss, or suffering from the after-effects of a difficult breakup, daily life can be demanding.
There is no way to eliminate stress from your life, and nor should you want it. Stress can be a positive force that drives you towards personal growth and professional success, and no one is privileged enough to avoid it. In fact, you should seek out various forms of positive pressure to act as healthy motivators for achieving your goals. The more pressure you can deal with, the stronger you will become.
However, there is another side to this coin – called negative stress.
What is negative stress?
This is the type of stress that has your heart beating in your chest, your blood pressure raised and leaves you fighting the sheets as you lay awake at night. If you suffer enough negative stress, then you can suffer lasting mental and physical health issues, so it is imperative that you find workable methods for combating it.
Here are some top tips for reducing daily negative stress:
Book in regular massages
An effective way to combat negative stress is to schedule regular massages. This is because massages have been proven to reduce anxiety, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, improve your quality of sleep and relax your (probably tense) muscles.
The mind and body are incredibly interconnected. When you start to feel anxious, your body will reflect this by tensing up, sometimes resulting in muscle spasms, cramps or occasionally more serious health problems. By relaxing these muscles, your mind will gradually relax with it, which is why many people fall into a meditative state when they receive a massage.
Thankfully, you can easily slot a quick massage into your weekly routine because companies like Health by Science offer sessions as short as half an hour. These massages are also ideal for those with sporting injuries, so if your stress has come about because of an injury, you get to benefit from two elements: that it relieves the stress and helps you recover quicker from your injury.
Take a cold shower every morning
It might not sound particularly relaxing, but cold-water therapy is a fantastic way to reduce stress daily. By exposing your mind and body to a highly stressful event (stepping into a freezing cold shower or bath), you will go into a heightened state of awareness.
In this state, you will have no spare capacity to worry about anything, and your body will be in survival mode. Although this sounds brutal, the results are highly beneficial. You will step out of the shower in a more peaceful state of mind, endorphins will be released, and your heart rate will be slower.
Practice being present
Negative stress often bubbles up in the form of anxiety, intense worrying or anger. These are all emotions that point to a lack of being present. Being present is what mindfulness experts refer to as the zen-like state that you might reach if you are meditating or concentrating intently on a single task. This is why activities like driving, sports, deep conversations or drawing can be so stressbusting. They force you to be present.
Of course, you don’t need to do any of these activities to maintain a high state of consciousness. All you need to do is pay attention to your breathing and the immediate world around you, taking in small details and concentrating as hard as you can on whatever it is you are currently doing.