Physical activity is one of the best, scientifically proven methods to combat stress. Physical activity is defined as any voluntary bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure.
Exercise directly reduces stress hormones i.e adrenaline and cortisol. At the same time, exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which elevate your mood and these are called natural painkillers.
In addition, when your physical health improves, you’ll be in a better position to handle stress effectively.
Everyone knows you should stretch to improve your flexibility, but the exciting fact is stretching is proven to reduce tension and blood pressure too.
Practicing for at least a 15-minute stretching workout can lead to a stress free exam.
2. A Quick walk
Taking a quick walk can have a beneficial effect on your stress levels.Walking gives you time to think, as well as time to get away from studying for a short while.
Going for a walk with your family or friends for a time period of 10 or 20 minutes a day is a great way to unwind the whole thing.
3. Exercise regularly
Research has shown that high-intensity aerobic exercise has positive effects on well-being.
Some suggestions are provided below:
- Do some form of exercise (jogging, biking, walking, callisthenics) 3 to 5 times a week for 30 minutes each time.
- Set small – even tiny – daily goals and focus on consistency. Scientific research indicates that frequency is more important than intensity when it comes to forming new habits like exercise.
- Do exercise that’s enjoyable for you.
- If you simply don’t find any form of exercise enjoyable, distract yourself with music, audiobooks or podcasts while you’re exercising.
- Find an “exercise buddy”. It’s easier to stick to a routine when you have an exercise buddy.
4. Get some sunlight every day
A way to increase your serotonin levels is to increase your exposure to sunlight.
Anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight per day will help to keep your serotonin levels in the healthy range.
But remember to wear a hat and to apply sunscreen if you’re going to be out in direct sunlight for longer than 15 minutes.
5. Get enough sleep
Hitting the books for long hours at a go is tiring, and it’s not a good Study habit. When it cuts into your usual hours of sleep, research shows us that stress levels will increase.
Stress and sleep have a two-way relationship. Stress can make it more difficult to fall asleep. It can even lead to sleep disorders.
At the same time, getting a good night’s sleep reduces the effects of stress.
Practise these tips to get a good night’s rest every night:
- Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This helps to set your body’s internal clock and optimises the quality of your sleep.
- Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends. Aim to keep your sleep schedule as regular as possible. If you have a late night, try taking a short nap the following day, rather than sleeping in.
- Keep your electronic devices out of your bedroom. The blue light emitted by your electronic devices (e.g. phone, tablet, computer, TV) is especially disruptive to sleep.
- Wind down before you go to bed. Turn off all your devices an hour before it’s time to sleep. Read a book, listen to some calming music, or think of a happy memory.
6. Do deep breathing exercises
Science has proven that deep breathing reduces your cortisol levels.
There are many deep breathing exercises you could try, but here are a couple of them to get you started:
- Belly breathing: Sit or lie in a comfortable position and place one hand on your belly. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and feel your hand being pushed outwards as the air fills your lungs. Now exhale through your mouth, and feel your hand moving inwards. Repeat 5 to 6 times.
- Morning breathing: When you get out of bed, stand up straight, bend your knees slightly, and bend forward from the waist. Let your arms hang limply towards the floor. Breathe in slowly, returning to your original standing position as you do. Your head should be the last part of your body to straighten. Exhale slowly, returning to the bent position by the end of your breath. Repeat 5 to 6 times.
7. Get enough vitamin C
Studies indicate that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) helps to reduce blood pressure and cortisol, which are both signs of stress.
The human body doesn’t produce vitamin C, so it’s vital that you consume plenty of it in your diet.
Here’s a list of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C: