5 Helpful Ways to Relieve Stress—According to the Migraine Buddy Community
Stress is often cited as one of the risk factors for developing conditions like depression, anxiety, etc. Last year, stress was the top migraine trigger among 9.1M triggers recorded in Migraine Buddy by English-speaking users. January also saw the highest number of migraine attacks recorded in 2020 – a very stressful month indeed!
Dealing with migraine is a stressful experience in itself, and it does not help that stress plays a huge role in triggering attacks. Sounds like a vicious cycle, doesn’t it? Well, not all hope is lost yet because with the right stress relief activities, you can maintain your stress levels at a healthy level and keep the nasty migraine attacks at bay! ?
Below, the Migraine Buddy community shares 5 helpful ways to reduce stress, starting with the most popular choice! These results were gathered from a previous survey conducted on the topic of mental health, read more here if you’re interested to learn about responses from other questions.
More than half of the respondents (57%) chose exercise as their most helpful way to relieve stress! The type of exercise is entirely up to your preference. Do you enjoy brisk walking in nature? Or are you the type to go for cardio sessions in the gym? What about weight-lifting, cycling, or even kickboxing? The options are endless!
Simply put, the main idea behind exercising and stress relief is that physical activity helps to boost your body’s production of endorphins—chemicals in your brain which leads to an overall “feel-good” effect.
The CDC recommends that each week, adults should engage in around 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activities and muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days. Realistically speaking, this might not be a feasible option for everyone but the idea is to keep things moving even for 10 minutes a day! A literature review of existing studies had concluded, “the three most consistent cognitive/behavioral effects of a single bout of exercise in humans are improved executive functions, enhanced mood states, and decreased stress levels” .
The next runner-up for most helpful stress relievers is meditation! Meditation is a practice with deep roots in various cultures and religions; however, it has now evolved to become a popular option for many who wish to improve their general well-being.
There are multiple types of meditation:
Meditation can be a great way to relieve stress, and a good habit to have even when you’re not stressed out! Since there are so many types of meditation, it may take a while to explore them and find the one that suits you best. If meditation isn’t your cup of tea, there are also other avenues of stress relief!
Cutting down screentime
Reducing screen time is also another helpful way to reduce your stress levels. Aside from the fact that too much screentime (especially before bed) can affect the quality of sleep , the constant bombardment of news and content from our devices also leads us to feel overwhelmed. While some of us have to face computer screens all day due to either work or school commitments, make sure that you take regular breaks from using your devices!
If necessary, you may want to try a social media detox! Start small, by unplugging for several days, then weeks, to see if this has any impact on your stress levels. Don’t just unplug completely without letting your loved ones know first since they might get worried!
Yoga has been a hotly-debated topic for a while now, with some users finding it a migraine relief while others say that it makes their attacks worse. Despite all this, yoga is still a preferred option for 27% of survey respondents to relieve their stress.
Just like meditation, there are many forms of yoga, each with different intensities and positions. Because we are each a unique individual, our bodies may respond differently to yoga so you would probably need to try out the various types before finding those that suits you most!
A good mix of everything!
Like we’ve mentioned earlier, what’s popular among others may not sit particularly well with you – and that’s completely fine! The goal to keep in mind here is to build a collection of go-to activities that you know for sure will not stress you out further.
For example, it can be a challenge for some of us to sit down and focus on our breathing for 10 minutes, bringing in more distress rather than reducing stress. In that case, meditation may not be the most ideal stress reliever for you, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t explore other stress relief methods!
Some suggestions for stress relief that are less popular (but can still be great options to consider) include reading, listening to music, sleeping, doing arts and crafts, playing video games, spending time with loved ones, etc.
Stress will always be a part of our lives and is something that we can’t really escape from, unfortunately. The good news is that we are the ones in control, and picking up de-stressing activities like meditation or yoga to regulate stress levels ensures that we do not allow stress to take over our daily lives! ?
Have you found your best stress reliever yet? Share it with us!