Recent data out of the American Psychological Association shows that around one-quarter of adults in the USA have some form of chronic stress. Considering the fast-pace, hi-tech lifestyle we all lead nowadays, this statistic probably doesn’t come as too much of a shock. While stress is a totally normal reaction that can be helpful in certain situations, chronic anxiety is a serious health condition that can cause numerous problems if not addressed in a constructive way.
Thankfully, there are many free and easy techniques everyone can put into place to keep chronic stress at bay. Below, we’ll go over three of the best things you can right now do to slay stress once and for all.
1. Take A Vacation, For Goodness’ Sake!
Did you know that America is the only developed nation that doesn’t require employers to give workers paid vacation days? Perhaps even more surprising is that the average American worker who has paid vacation time doesn’t use it. Recent statistics show that US employees tend to leave about half a billion days in paid vacation leave unused every year.
It should go without saying that workaholism is a major source of chronic stress in the USA. If you have vacation time, you should seriously consider taking a no-stress, planned vacation with people you love. Research shows that employees who go on well-planned vacations far from their hometowns are happier than those who don’t.
2. Release Those Endorphins With Regular Exercise
New reports in major medical journals show that the more sedentary you are, the more prone you’ll be to developing an anxiety disorder. On the flipside, there are numerous studies showing that frequent exercise can dramatically reduce your stress response. Usually only 20 minutes per day of moderate exercise like walking, biking, or swimming is required to release the “feel good” hormones known as endorphins.
To enhance the anxiety-busting effects of your exercise session, consider walking on the ground barefoot. While it sounds a bit bizarre, many scientists have shown that simply letting your feet touch the ground every day is one of the easiest, safest, and cheapest ways to reduce oxidative stress.
3. Start A Daily Meditation Practice
The ancient discipline of mindfulness meditation has gained a lot of traction in recent years. Dozens of scientific studies confirm that taking 10-15 minutes out of your day to meditate can significantly lower the stress hormone cortisol, enhance cognitive function, and lower blood pressure.
So, how do you start meditating? Simple: sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and watch your breath. If any thought arises in your mind, just acknowledge it and try your best to return to the breath. The key is to accept anything that arises in your meditation session without judgment. People who practice meditation every day are far less likely to lose their cool.