Stress Relief Tips: Easy Tricks to Reduce Tension

Here are five of the best (no-calorie!) ways to increase energy levels and recharge.

Stress relief tips # 1: Move your body to enjoy benefits of exercise

Moderate exercise, even just a brisk 10-minute walk, immediately increases your energy and improves your mood. It achieves a better mood effect than a candy bar: an immediate positive feeling and slightly reduced tension. More vigorous exercise has the primary effect of reducing tension. Although you may actually experience an energy dip immediately afterward (you're tired from your workout), one to two hours later you'll experience the benefits of exercise and have an energy resurgence that's a direct result of that workout.

Stress relief tips # 2: Know your energy highs and lows

Everyone has an energy body clock. Our energy is low immediately after waking (even after sleeping well), peaks in the late morning to early afternoon (usually 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), drops in the late afternoon (3-5 p.m.), rises again in the early evening (6 or 7 p.m.) and plummets to its lowest point just before bed (around 11 p.m.).

Rather than feeding your anxiety, pay attention to your body clock (do you peak earlier or later in the day?) and scheduling your life accordingly whenever you can. Plan to take on easier projects when your energy is low. For many people, the time to tackle tough tasks is in the morning. It's no coincidence that most food urges and overeating happen in the late afternoon or in the late evening, when energy and mood are low and we're looking for energy enhancement. That's exactly the moment for a brisk 10-minute walk.

Read on for three more excellent ways to increase energy levels and feel refreshed.

[header = More stress relief tips that really increase energy levels – and quickly.]

More Stress Relief Tips that Really Increase Energy Levels

Stress relief tips # 3. Learn the art of self-observation

This is a key skill. It is human nature that what happens immediately after an action tends to reinforce that action. Eating always feels good immediately after, though not necessarily for long (guilt and anxiety often come into play, for example), whereas the energy surge from exercise may take a while to become apparent.

Try your own self-study: What effect does caffeine have on you in the morning, afternoon and evening? How about exercise, including intensity, time of day and type of activity? Once you understand your own highly individual responses, you can use your knowledge to overcome your impulses - especially your "tense tired" impulses, those that beg for the immediate comfort of sweets and the couch rather than for the more lasting benefits of a good workout or a conversation with a close friend.

Stress relief tips # 4. Take a power nap - which means not for long!

The trick to a good power nap is to limit it to 10-30 minutes. Any longer will leave you feeling groggy and also keep you from getting a good night's sleep. You will feel low in energy when you first arise from a nap, but that will soon dissipate and leave you feeling refreshed. In fact, not getting enough sleep is a primary reason for our nationwide energy slump; we now average less than seven hours a night, and all the sleep science we have recommends a minimum of eight.

Stress relief tips # 5. Socialize to increase energy levels

Social interactions can be extremely effective in raising energy levels. So the next time you feel your energy sagging, instead of reaching for chocolate, make a date with friends. Your mood (and your waistline) will thank you.

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