Powerful Stress Reducers (That Aren’t Meditation)

I know, I know…you aren’t a meditator. You can’t imagine just sitting there, trying to empty your head of thoughts and focus on your breath for minutes on end. You’re too busy, too high-strung, too whatever.

While all good things become easier with practice, just because you’re not willing to put in the time it takes to develop your meditation muscle, and the whole thing makes you feel more stressed than when you started, doesn’t mean you’re doomed to live in a constant state of stress.

Instead, you can explore other powerful stress reducers that aren’t meditation. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Move. I’m not referring to packing up your belongings and heading west or anything (though enjoying your locale is key to your daily outlook). No, I’m talking about moving your body. Notice I didn’t say exercise.

Moving can feel so much more doable than exercising because it’s less structured. Exercise involves a certain type of clothing, maybe some kind of equipment, and resistance (both the literal and the figurative kind). But moving is just about getting up more often and being mobile throughout the day. You’ve got to move when you park in the spot furthest from the front door at work. Every day. And movement is bound to happen when you put some vinyl on the turntable and wave your hands in the air like you don’t care. Word up!

If you choose a way of moving that gets you excited, low and behold, you’ll make it a priority. Moving kicks your endorphins levels up and brings your stress levels down. It just feels good!

Ditch the toxic people in your life. Many of us will encounter a toxic person at some point in our lives. Whether it’s a blood relative or someone you happen to cross paths with, a truly toxic person tears you down rather than builds you up. They make you feel insignificant rather than worthy of attention. They keep score on how many times they help you out, without seeming to realize that good deeds have a tendency of balancing out.

I’m not talking about people who challenge you to be better. If you’re lucky enough to have a relationship with someone who can give you an uncomfortable push in the right direction when you need it most, no strings attached, don’t let them go. Ditch the toxic people, but foster relationships with those who care enough about you to disagree with you.

Blood relatives can be a challenge to ditch, but if you simply cross paths with a toxic person, you only need to take a sharp left when they go right. As for the relatives, you can lower your expectations and limit the amount of time you spend with them.

Unfortunately, the impact of friendship on our overall well-being is often underestimated and understated. Unlike family members, we get to choose the friends who we share our deepest, dirtiest secrets with. Chances are good that you don’t use these relationships to their full advantage.

Sometimes realism is a hard pill to swallow, but self-preservation is mighty. And putting things into perspective is an instant stress reducer.

Laugh more. I can only think of one thing better than laughing, but you can’t do it just anywhere. 😉 Laughter has a way of inundating us with positive feelings. It’s an instant stress reducer that gives your immune system a boost and improves your circulation. All good stuff—which is why you should seek it out every day.

If you don’t find yourself in a laugh-inducing environment, it ain’t hard to find one. Whether your triggers are silly animals or giggling babies, the internet will help you find just what you need. While you’re at it, why not share your daily laughter fix on your social media venue of choice, even if it’s just a joke around the breakfast table.

More laughter = less stress.

Make a list. Sometimes the uncomplicated act of writing things down can be therapeutic. So make a list of everything that’s stressing you out. Get them out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Once you see them in front of you and know they won’t be forgotten, you’ll be able to step out of your stress-filled loop of thoughts.

Your list can also help you see which things you have control over, what actions you need to take, what you can delegate, and what you need to let go of. There’s always something to let go of.

A side note: If you’re not a scaredy-cat, I double dog dare you to try one simple yoga pose. The legs-up-the-wall pose is one I do almost daily. It may strike you as dangerously close to meditation. But for all you anti-meditation folks out there, it doesn’t have to be that. It’s just a way to slow things down temporarily. I’m in awe of the influence that a mere ten minutes in this position has on my demeanor for hours afterward. Don’t think you can spare ten minutes? Start with five.

What have you found to be the most powerful stress reducers in your life, other than meditation, of course?

Image from iStock/silverkblack

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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