Healthy ways to relieve stress

Therapy can come in many different forms and people need therapy for many different reasons. I have discussed in the past the importance of stress management and I have given examples of managing stress with meditation, massages, and yoga. However, many people turn to various forms of therapy when times get tough or they need a relief. Exercise, reading, cooking, eating, smoking, drinking, shopping, gambling, and sex are all ways people find relief from stressful situations.

When I am stressed I find I often turn to food for comfort. Many people are the same way and the food people, and myself, turn to is generally not the healthiest. Pizza, pasta, cookies, chips, etc are just some of the cravings stress brings about. Over the years I have learned to find other ways, other than eating to manage my stress, however, I will admit that sometimes I return to those old habits. I now try to use physical activity as a mood lifter and stress reliever. I usually have to force myself, but I take a walk with my dog or do some yoga. Usually once I start moving my body, I feel better and things begin to feel a little bit easier. I have also taken the comfort eating to the next step and now instead of grabbing the bag of chips out of the cupboard I grab a cookbook or sit and try to think up a new and exciting recipe to make. I have found that reading about cooking, or actually cooking, has become therapy for me. So instead of sitting and eating junk food and giving into my distress, I sit with a cookbook and create something new, which makes me happy and gives me a sense of accomplishment instead of guilt from eating a bag of cookies or chips.

The point is to find a healthy way of dealing with stress that works for you. Instead of smoking or eating, go for a walk or bike ride. Instead of shopping and doing what many call “retail therapy”, call a friend and spend time catching up. Writing in a journal, yoga, playing with your kids, reading are all healthy alternatives to managing stressful situations. Try different methods and find one that makes you feel good and look at life more positively.

Positive thoughts foster positive actions. 🙂

On that note…I’m off for a bike ride in the park. It’s going to be a hot one, but I am in need of some physical activity right now.

Question: What methods do you use to relax and de-stress?


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