With tax season upon us, it is important to stay calm during this stressful time of year. Although you may not be fully aware of the tension your body is under, your psyche will thank you by making a habit of these five activities.
1. Be aware of your thoughts: Henry Emmons, MD, author of The Chemistry of Calm, suggests focusing on your body during a stressful or frustrating experience. For example, concentrating on your breathing patterns is much more beneficial than replaying the situation over and over in your mind.
2. Be physical: Move your body in fast-paced exercises, or walk up a few flights of stairs to help balance out stress hormones. Deep-breathing also helps to keep you calm and controlled.
3. Eat carefully: Anger and frustration can lead to poor eating habits. Keeping the lid on the cookie jar during a stressful moment can also help keep your blood-glucose level down (and caloric intake!). Instead, Elizabeth Somer, RD and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, suggests treating yourself to fruit dipped in dark chocolate. The dark chocolate can help reduce stress hormones in the body.
4. Phone a friend: Research shows good company causes our bodies to release oxytocin, a hormone that releases endorphins and brightens your mood. Creating time in the day for a friend is a great way to naturally increase your mood.
5. Before-bed writing: Once you are settled in bed, grab a paper and pen to jot down any disconcerting or troubling thoughts that are lingering on your mind. Transcribing your experiences will not only help clear your mind, but also give you a better night's rest.
So, if tax season and life’s other nuances are weighing on your mind a little more than normal, implement several of these five tips to help cope with the stress and ease your mind.