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7 New Year Resolution Ideas For A Stress-free Life!

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Stress is one of the biggest killers out there. It not only affects your relationships but also your overall health. Thanks to our hectic lifestyles, stress has become an integral part of our everyday routine. But this New Year, let’s do our bit to ensure stress-free lives and stay happy with the help of some effective, easy and science-backed tips for stress management. Let’s get started!

1. Stop Procrastinating

One of the key reasons why most people fail to reach their goals is the desire to relax, which makes them procrastinate. If you are used to procrastinating, you tend to become more chilled, which causes you to scramble to catch up things at the last moment. So instead of working hard to meet your goals, you tend to postpone the task at hand, which not only affects you negatively at work but also leads to stress[1].

To stop procrastinating, prioritize your work and become more organized. Get into a habit of making a to-do list and staying on top of it to achieve your deadlines. This not only helps you to control stress but also gives you ample time to sit and relax.

2. Spend Time With Your Family/Loved Ones

Become more social but not by spending time on Social Media. After an erratic work schedule, all you want is some peace of mind. And the role of friends and family to help you get through such stressful times cannot be underestimated. According to a 2000 study in the Journal Psychological Review[2], spending time with kids and friends caused women to fight stress. This is because it releases the hormone oxytocin which acts as a natural stress reliever.

If you ever feel stressed or feel moody, spend some time with your family or friends. You can watch a movie together, sit and chat for sometime after meals, go for a walk together or play with kids as it acts as a simple but effective option for stress management.

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3. Pick Up A Hobby

This New Year, learn to stay happy and stress-free by picking up some fun hobby or skill. Just sitting on a couch watching TV or chatting with friends on mobile all day long won’t get you anywhere. It is always a good idea to use your free time in some constructive activity by picking up a hobby or a new skill as it not only relieves stress but improves the overall quality of life[3].

You can enroll for a dance class or a Yoga class or learn to swim or kickbox as it helps you to combat stress. You can even learn a new language or painting/drawing which not only helps you to fight stress but boosts your brain activity. If you do not want to join a hobby class, then you can try to do some stuff at home such as gardening, cooking, cleaning, knitting, etc which also act as great stress busters.

4. Listen To Soft Music

If you have a desk job or are into a creative field, it becomes difficult to stay active throughout the day. There are times when you get stuck while writing a blog or executing ideas. Even going for a short walk or taking a tea break, fails to provide you with some respite. In such cases, listen to some soothing music.

Studies[4] have reported that slow-paced instrumental music such as Classical, Indian, Celtic and Native American can exert a relaxing effect on the mind and body. It also lowers the level of stress hormone along with exerting a positive effect on the blood pressure and heart rate. You can even listen to nature sounds which are very calming and aid in stress management.

5. Sleep More

Research[5] has proved that lack of sleep not only affects your health but also increases your stress levels. This, in the long run, affects your work-life balance as well as relationships. Thanks to the big TV sets in the bedroom and laptops lying on a bed, we spend most of our time in bed with electronic devices than sleeping. Instead of chatting with a friend on a smartphone or scrolling down on Google, grab a book for a quick read. It not only helps you to stay away from the constantly glowing lights from the electronic devices but also helps you to get a good night’s sleep.

Remember to sleep for at least eight hours every night. To achieve this, switch off the lights in your bedroom post 10, avoid taking your mobile phones to your bedroom, and set a fixed sleep schedule to sleep at the same time every day.

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6. Plan A Vacation

According to the American Psychology Association, it is important to take a break from your hectic schedule as the continuous work-life cycle can take a toll on you both physically and mentally. Be a little gentle on your life and plan for a mini vacation or go out on weekends with close friends and family. This not only helps you to de-stress but also helps you to relax and give you a new perspective with an added zing to life.

We are not asking you to go for a month long vacation nor are we telling you to plan a trip for an exotic location, but simply planning a short-vacation can help in stress management. If you are on a tight budget, then visiting a relative or a get-together at a friend’s place can do the trick to get out of your work-zone and spend some quality time with closed ones.

7. Smile And Laugh Often

Not many people know that our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. So when you are stressed, it shows up on your face because the person holds a lot of stress on the face. So when you smile or laugh, it relieves some of the tension in the face and brain and thus, helps you with stress management[6].

Moreover smiling generates endorphins, feel-good hormones, which help people suffering from stress and depression to recover more quickly. So this New Year, watch more funny videos and comedy movies to smile and laugh more often than not and stay stress-free.

Stress, in the long run, can lead to muscle pain, poor immunity, hypertension, anxiety, insomnia, obesity, and heart disease. Hence, finding some positive and healthy ways to manage stress can help reduce the negative effect of stress on mind and body. However, the tips for stress management might differ from person to person. So pick and choose the one that fits your bill to fight stress such as gardening, playing sports, listening to music, sleeping more or walking.

**Consult India’s best doctors here**

What is your stress-busting tip? Let us know in the comments section below.

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)

Recommended Reads:

How To De-Stress the Stress At Workplace?

8 Effective Tips To Help You Give Up Stress Eating At Work

References:

1. Prem R, Scheel TE, Weigelt O, et al. Procrastination in Daily Working Life: A Diary Study on Within-Person Processes That Link Work Characteristics to Workplace Procrastination. Front Psychol. 2018 Jul 5;9:1087.

2. Taylor SE, Klein LC, Lewis BP, et al. Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: tend-and-befriend, not  fight-or-flight. Psychol Rev. 2000 Jul;107(3):411-29.

3. Tomioka K, Kurumatani N, Hosoi H. Relationship of Having Hobbies and a Purpose in Life With Mortality, Activities of Daily Living, and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Among Community-Dwelling Elderly Adults. J Epidemiol. 2016 Jul 5;26(7):361-70.

4. Thoma MV, La Marca R, Brönnimann R, Finkel L, Ehlert U, Nater UM. The effect of music on the human stress response. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 5;8(8):e70156.

5. Hirotsu C, Tufik S, Andersen ML. Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions. Sleep Sci. 2015 Nov;8(3):143-52.

6. Kraft TL, Pressman SD. Grin and bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. Psychol Sci. 2012;23(11):1372-8.

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