My Top Stress Relief Exercises (With detailed reasoning)

In many people’s lives they can really back one thing they believe in, whether it be gender equality, racial justice, bullying or something as light as 30-hour work weeks (hurray!). For me, I believe in mental health. I think many issues in the United States of America are pushed under the “crazy” categorization when really it’s in its roots, a mental health issue. Without getting too deep into the mental health issue, these next bullets are how I stay mentally healthy by limiting and managing stress and why I believe they work.

 

Music:

With no doubt (music pun) in my mind everyone finds stress relief with music whether they know it or not. As I am writing this listicle, I am listening to purposeful music to help me focus. The music I listen to for stress relief is hard to slap a genre on but here’s a try: Trance/Ambient/mello-electronica (really easy to remember). I don’t like a lot of words/lyrics in the music I use to calm me. I use the music to take me out of the world or even to a specific location. Throughout four years I have compiled a playlist of all the songs and sounds I find to get me to that place. The list is loaded with the likes of Tycho, Crystal Castles and Emancipator.

Color Therapy:

I believe (no idea if there is science to back it) that associating myself with a certain color when a specific feeling is desired helps me feel that way. For example, I think the color purple helps me feel mentally unburdened and stress free. Whenever I try to calm myself I use purple lights to create an ambient environment for my head. My Tumblr is decorated with many posts using this glow, or ambience. I follow many blogs dedicated to the exact thing. Every time I turn those lights on, I know it’s time to relax.

Meditation:

Meditation can be what a person wants it to be, in my opinion. What I mean by that rudimentary sentence is that meditation is not limited to guided, or breathe awareness exercises. My meditation is a combination of points above. To feel fully aware of myself on this earth and to completely be in the moment, I use my lights, listen to my playlist and many times burn incense. I need to constantly remind my brain why these element are being presented and it now is automatic to the feeling I am trying to achieve. I believe in my meditation I have almost every sense stimulated (except taste) in a manner that I know gets me where I need to be. I encourage everyone to try many techniques, each person is different and  reach awareness differently, that’s the beauty of meditation!

Exercise:

I have always been an athlete but the beauty of exercise is that anyone can do it no matter your athleticism. Ever since I ended my competitive sports career I have focused on lifting weights and bettering my running times. In doing so I found that nothing else matters to me in those moments. In the eight months of my consistent exercise I found that adding weights I can lift, cutting down seconds on my running times and seeing results stimulate my mind in a very specific way. While it is difficult to pinpoint the epicenter of this feeling, I think that it’s possibly because I get to focus on my body and my health solely for that hour or two, there’s something beautiful in that. A bi-product of the focus on my health and exercise is the awareness of my diet. I have been able to focus on what my body needs not only physically but nutritionally.

Skateboard/Longboard:

While probably hyper-specific to me, I find riding very soothing. Funny enough I don’t like listening to music while riding. The sounds, sights and monotony of my wheels hitting the cracks in the sidewalk makes for a nice break from this crazy world. Don’t worry I can’t do any tricks at all besides acting like when I fell down it didn’t hurt. Not too much skill required to longboard, try it out!pennyboardchi

Honorable Mention/Guilty Pleasure: Wine:

While I don’t condone alcohol consumption as a stress relief technique, it would be unfair to say that I don’t use it. Cabernet Sauvignon is my poison and although alcohol has some seriously detrimental effects, red wine has some benefits (AKA resveratrol- look it up!).

 

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