It’s easier said than done, but we all could use a little less stress in our lives.  The kids are screaming in the back seat , you just realized it’s the due date for you credit card, you forgot to pick up cookies for Johnny’s kindergarten class and you are going to be late to work (for the third time this week).  All these stressors are happening before 8am.  By the end of the day your body and mind has taken quite a toll from daily stress.

Stress impacts your physical and emotional health and when left unmanaged, can contribute to health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

Here are the most common effects of stress on your body, mood and actions.

Effects of stress on your physical body: Effects of stress on your mood: Effects of stress on your actions:
  • Neck pain, back aches, muscle spasms
  • Constant tiredness
  • Headaches and / or migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach, nausea, heartburn
  • Depression
  • Inability to focus
  • Lack of motivation
  • Increased frustration, irritability, edginess
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Overeating or not eating enough
  • Fighting with family or coworkers
  • Socially withdrawn and isolated
  • Reduced work efficiency or productivity

The top causes of stress are money, work, relationships and family issues.  While you can’t avoid stress, you can do a few things to help manage it and get your body feeling more relaxed.

Here are 10 helpful tips that will have you feeling more relaxed within minutes:

1. Physical activity – Go for walk, go for a run, just get your body moving.  Exercise produces endorphins, which are responsible for making you feel happy.

2. Slow your breath – When you start feeling stressed, start to slow your breaths. It’s even helpful to count to 5 on your inhale, hold for a moment and count to 5 on your exhale.  This deep, slow breath calms your body and mind.

3. Yoga – Yoga is ultimately a moving meditation. During yoga practice you are taught to concentrate on your breath and movement. Each breath correlates with each movement.  It’s a discipline to let your mind go and focus during yoga, but with practice it can be a major stress reliever.

4. Stretch – Not ready to start your yoga practice? Start with some good old fashioned stretches.  This is especially important if you are at a desk the majority of your day.  Take a few moments to stand up and stretch.  Just by raising your shoulders to your ears, rolling them back and relaxing them down can help to reset your posture.  Try these exercises that you can do at your desk.

5. Get some sun – Sunshine can make a world of a difference in your mood. The sun actually increases levels of serotonin, a hormone that is a natural antidepressant in the brain.  Even if it’s winter and you live in the tundra, get outside for a few minutes a day and soak up the sun.

6. Journal your thoughts – Writing down your feelings is one way to clear your mind and allow you to focus. This may be especially important at night when you are trying to sleep, but your mind won’t shut off.  Instead of tossing and turning and fighting with your to-do list, write it down and relax.  Once it’s written down, you don’t have to worry about forgetting it.

7. Organize – Some people have a hard time working at their desk when it’s a complete mess (others enjoy the organized chaos). If you don’t thrive under messy conditions, then take a few minutes to neatly stack, file and organize your work area.

8. Color – Yes, it’s not just for kids anymore. Coloring can be very therapeutic. Like meditation, coloring allows to leave thoughts behind and focus on the moment.  Because coloring can help with emotional and mental health issues, doctors use them with patients that suffer from PTSD, anxiety and stress.  Adult coloring books have been gaining popularity in the last year and can be found most large retail stores like Target or online on Amazon.

9. Eat a banana – No really, bananas are packed with potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure (which rises when you are feeling stressed). Eating a banana a day can give you some energy and positively impact your health.

10. Try calming essential oils – Otherwise called “aromatherapy”. Sniffing some lavender can naturally calm your mind.  Peppermint and citrus oils can energize and enhance your mood.  Keep one or two at your desk and use as needed. Whether you need a pick-me-up or some stress reduction, essential oils are helpful.

Finding what works for you might take some time, but once you better manage your stress and find a bit of relaxation, your body will thank you. Here at Quotacy, we take the stress out of buying life insurance. By working with multiple carriers, we find you the best product at an affordable price, so you can sit back and relax while we do the work for you.


Photo credit to: Giuseppe Milo


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