Contemporary society is filled with numerous conveniences that aid us in living the best quality of life, however; this kind of life has led to materialistic pursuits that can wreak havoc on mental health. According to recent research, in the 2010s every person was experiencing nineteen percent more stress as compared to the 1990s when each person experienced two percent stress in their daily lives (Mastroianni). More recent data shows that forty-four percent of Americans are reporting increased stress that has been increasing over the years (APA). Fortunately, some healthy practices allow in reducing stress, which includes; meditation, yoga, exercises, etc. that allow people to slowly weed out stressful habits and events. These practices have allowed people to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and breaking negative habits that cause stress and anxiety. This essay will explore meditation and exercise as tools of stress management in detail.
Although meditation started to become popular in the 19th century in different cultures, it has been around since early 5,000 BCE. It is a religious practice that has been observed in ancient Chinese and Egyptian cultures along with religious significance in Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. I find that meditation is extremely helpful for relieving stress. Many people meditate in the morning to set a positive tone for the rest of the day, however; I find meditating more helpful. The reason is that after a whole day of dealing with different events, stress can start building so instead of going to bed with that built-up stress, I tend to meditate. It helps in recapping the whole day, things that were done right and things that were done wrong then slowly working on them without any judgment. This inner work and mindfulness help is stress reduction allowing for a peaceful sleep. This routine meditation has also reduced nightmares as stress can cause bad dreams. Mindful breath work during meditation slowly relaxes the body and all the tension and stress built up during the day seeps away from the body.
Another stress-relieving tool is the exercise that I do in the mornings. Exercises are incredible for mood improvement, waking up the body after a good night’s sleep, and stimulating the brain. It helps in starting the day correctly which can be very helpful in preventing stress. Exercise helps in releasing endorphins which is a feel-good neurotransmitter that elevates the mood. Having a morning exercise routine can be meditative well as one is being mindful of their body. The reason exercise helps in reducing stress is that whenever people are stressed, their muscles start tightening but exercise allows the muscles to relieve this stress through a healthy movement which in turn relieves mental stress. When done in the morning before getting into one’s routine, exercise can help in getting ready for the challenges of the day which can prevent stress.
There are many other ways to relieve stress including yoga, breathwork, journaling, etc. all of which are meditative. In this busy world, it has become imperative that people take time to relieve their stress otherwise they can fall into depression which can lead to bad decisions. Fortunately, these stress management tools can be done by anyone at any time and are not locked behind a paywall as most things are these days. Meditation is by far the best way to relieve stress as it not only helps in de-stressing but allows every individual to work on their negative habits that can contribute to building up stress. The world is becoming a difficult place to live so it has become necessary that we take out time for ourselves and take care of our mental and physical health.
APA. “Stressed in America.” Https://Www.Apa.Org, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/stressed-america. Accessed 26 Dec. 2021.
Mastroianni, Brian. “Why Americans Are More Stressed Today Than They Were in the 1990s.” Healthline, 17 May 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/people-more-stressed-today-than-1990s.