What you need to add in to your life to reduce stress

The reality of life is that it will be stressful at times. Stress as I have mentioned before is not always a negative thing. This type of stress is referred to as eustress or positive stress and it is what helps us achieve our goals, face challenges and cope with potentially serious situations (fight or flight).

Our body doesn't differentiate the type of stress we are under though - our body's stress response is the same (you can read about how our bodies respond to stress here - The Stress Response). Long-term stress is not good for us. Struggling with stress for long periods can drain our physical, emotional, and mental resources to the point where our body no longer has the strength to fight stress.

We can reduce the stress we are feeling or offset the stress by adding some different dimensions to our life:

Stress is not just the presence of challenging situations. It's also the absence of play, beauty, nature, laughter, socialisation, and fun. {Source}

For those of you who need to be convinced how this helps here is some more info for you!

Laugh

When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. {Source}

Play

Firstly let's define play. Dr. Stuart Brown head of the nonprofit, National Institute for Play defines it as:

Play is something done for its own sake. It's voluntary, it's pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.


Most of us adults do not play enough and we are really missing out! Not only is play fun but it can also trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals that can help us counter the stress we have going on in our life.

In the 2013 study The Playful Advantage: How Playfulness Enhances Coping with Stress, researchers concluded that:

The findings revealed that these individuals who were high in playfulness experienced less perceived stress and engaged more frequently in adaptive coping styles than their less playful peers. The results clearly indicated that these playful university students had a propensity to attack stressors directly, and that they more infrequently utilizedless adaptive coping styles. This implies that playful individuals believe they have the inner resources necessary to overcome their stressors and are typically successful in their utilization of coping strategies.


So across your week, make time to laugh, play and of course, drink a bottle or two of Adapt Drinks Relax to help you manage the stress in your life!