There is nothing like going to sleep feeling fully relaxed and happy while being able to fall asleep within seconds from the moment you close your eyes.
However, in many cases, pressure gets in the way.
As a result, you end up just watching the ceiling of your bedroom while gazillions of disturbing thoughts run through your head.
I also had that issue.
Therefore, I researched the internet for scientifically proven methods to counter pressure and feel relaxed.
I implemented the techniques that I found the most relaxing and most enjoyable, and this is how the stress management plan in this post was born.
In order to not feel overwhelmed, I recommended that you do the following:
- Read the stress management plan.
- Give it a few tries to use the technique you find the easiest or the most enjoyable (don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it) to implement.
- If it does the job, make this technique a habit of yours.
- Repeat with the remaining techniques, until there are no more techniques you want to try.
The Simplest Hack in The Stress Management Plan
Reducing stress doesn’t has to be a complicated mission.
Sometimes it can even be too simple…
One research found that 4 cups of black tea improved post-stress recovery.
Another research suggested that theanine (an amino acid in tea), has an anti-stress effect.
And it appears that you don’t even have to drink the tea in order to feel relaxed…
A study found that inhaling the aroma of black tea after 30 min of a mental stress load task, diminishes the stress levels significantly.
Whether you are at the office, at home, on the road, or basically almost anywhere, you can use this technique to reduce your stress levels.Inhaling the aroma of black tea after 30 min of a mental stress load task, diminishes the stress levels significantly. Click To Tweet
Dark Chocolate Can Make You Feel More Relaxed
It’s been found that a single consumption of 50 grams of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate blunted the acute prothrombotic response to psychosocial stress.
In addition, 3-day dark chocolate consumption may reduce anxiety, depressive symptoms and thus also improved the HRQoL status in hospitalized cancer patients.
Another research found that a consumption of 1 gram per kilogram of bodyweight of 85% dark chocolate might have a beneficial effect during acute stress.
Unfortunately, it seems that milk chocolate doesn’t reduce stress levels.
I hope it convinced you to get used to the bitter taste of 85% dark chocolate.
Since cocoa might cause heartburn, it’s recommended to add to your dieted food such as avocado, kale, spinach, and collard greens.
By incorporating those foods into your diet, you get 2 important benefits:
- Those foods are alkaline, which means they counter the acidic effect of the cocoa.
- They are rich in magnesium, which is a mineral that can reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
Take into account that it is not recommended to consume a high amount of cocoa on a regular basis. Use it only occasionally.
Also, consuming cocoa in large amounts during pregnancy is unsafe because of the caffeine it contains.
To see the list of side effects of cocoa, click here.A single consumption of 50 grams of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate blunts the acute prothrombotic response to psychosocial stress. Click To Tweet
Relax Your Muscles
Step #1: Get The Right Self-Massage Equipment
A lot of pressure is stored in our muscles and unless we do something about it, it’s going to stay there.
I see many people in the gym trying to release their tight muscles by rolling on a foam roller.
A foam roller is an excellent tool for self-massaging and releasing pressure.
However, most of the people I see using it, are doing it wrong.
They are just rolling on it without any intention, wasting their precious time.
Also, a foam roller on its own is not enough because it can’t create enough pressure on all the tight areas in the body (trapezius, neck, lower back, chest, etc.).
This is the equipment I’m using in order to self-massage all the tense muscles in my body:
All of that together cost me less than $50, and it’s way more effective than my super expensive massage chair.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my expensive massage chair. It’s really relaxing, and I always fall asleep when I’m using it.
But it’s not as effective as the self-massage equipment because the massage chair is:
- Massaging only the posterior part of my body while the front stays tense.
- Not able to create enough pressure on areas that tend to get tense, such as the neck.
- Tensed muscles might stay tensed even after 1 hour of massage.
Step #2: Learn How to Use The Self-Massage Equipment
Now that you’ve got the equipment, you need to learn how to use it.
There are a lot of tutorial videos on YouTube.
Some of them are very good, and some of them are awful.
If you want a trusted source, I recommend a YouTube channel called The Ready State, where you can learn great self-massage and mobility techniques.
Here’s a video from that channel about self-massaging the neck tissues:
However, if you want to learn how to create an organized plan based on body parts, body archetypes, and your progress level, I recommend a book written by the YouTube channel owner, called Becoming a Supple Leopard.
The book also includes an example program for beginners and another one for advances.
Since this book is about way more than just self-massaging, you don’t have to read it all, so you can skip right to the exercises chapter.
I must warn you, self-massaging tensed muscles is a highly effective technique to release pressure, but might also be a very painful one.
So be very gentle when you start doing it.
If you know what is the cause of your stress, then why not to attack it.
Self-improvement step #1: Identify What You Should Improve
Let’s say, for example, that you have a local business (a shop owner, a cosmetician, a barber, etc.) and your expenses are higher than your earnings.
Let’s also assume that you know that you are good at what you are doing because the clients that you do have are loyal and most of them are regulars.
Therefore, it seems that your problem is with getting new customers.
Maybe they didn’t hear about your business, or they heard about your business but weren’t convinced that they need your type of service.
In this case, learning from the biggest marketing experts would be a good idea.
Self-Improvement Step #2: Get The Required Knowledge
What I would do is to:
- Pick 6 audible books about marketing.
- Make sure that each one of those books has a rating of at least 4.5 on amazon and more than 100 reviews.
- Check on fakespot.com that the reviews are genuine.
- Listen to these audible books while cooking, cleaning, eating, etc.
I will pick the 3 books that I find most useful and order the kindle version of those books.
I know it sounds stupid to order a kindle version of an audible you already have but doing so is going to save you time in the next step.
Self-Improvement step #3: Create a Plan
Now, while doing the actions I can do in front of the computer, such as eating, I will read the parts in the kindle books that are relevant to me.
I know what those parts in the book are because I have already listened to the audible.
Then I will copy and paste those parts from the book to a document I am creating.
This document contains all the actions I need to take in order to get more customers.
And since those actions were just given to me by the experts that wrote those bestsellers books I have just read, I’m decreasing the chances of me wasting my time on some false techniques given by fake gurus.
You can use this technique to reduce stress from any area of your life (relationships, work, health, etc.)
Even if you are just improving yourself 1% a day, after a few months you will notice a huge improvement in that area.
Breath Your Way to Relaxation
A very good technique to immediately reduce stress is called “Power Breathing”.
It’s taken from the Wim Hof method which I discovered from listening to the audible of ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us’ by Scott Carney.
The technique is very simple:
- Take a deep breath and then exhale 30 – 40 times.
- Hold your breath until you start to feel uncomfortable.
- Take a deep breath and hold it for 15 seconds.
There are a lot of videos on YouTube to guide you through this exercise.
If you are new to this exercise, start from an easy variation, like this one:
If you can’t hold your breath long enough, just hold it until you feel uncomfortable.
Warning: never perform this exercise in an environment where fainting can cause some serious issues, such as in the water where you can drown.
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The Most Fun Technique in the Stress Management Plan
Humor has positive physiological effects, such as decreasing stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol.
In addition, it’s suggested that watching 1 hour of comedy has healing effects on our body.
Another study found that if you laugh out loud during watching comedy, it would strengthen your immune system.
Furthermore, endorphins secreted by laughter can help when people are uncomfortable or in a depressed mood.
So, when you hear a good joke, don’t hold it back.If you laugh out loud during watching comedy, it would strengthen your immune system. Click To Tweet
Use the Magic of Lavender
2% lavender essential oil inhalation for 15 days is found to increase the quality of sleep and reduce levels of anxiety in patients with coronary artery disease.
It also found to be effective to reduce depressive moods in healthy individuals.
However, the best-validated use of lavender as an anxiolytic agent is an oral supplementation of 80 mg per day of a high-quality and well-defined lavender oil pill.
You can also spray lavender oil on your bed and/or pillows, or put some drops of lavender oil in the bath.
In order to have optimal sleep, our body temperature at night should be a little bit lower than during the day.
Pressure affects the function of the hypothalamus, which might cause high body temperatures at night.
A hot bath counters this in 2 ways:
- Our body temperature tends to drop a little, 90 minutes after a hot bath.
- A hot bath makes you more relaxed.
You can use a few drops of liquid magnesium and/or lavender essential oils in the bath to enhance its effect of relaxation.
Practice Tai Chi and Qigong
Physical activity, in general, helps to reduce stress.
However, what’s so special about tai chi and qigong is that there is a lot of research that shows how good it is for improving sleep quality.
For example, a research found that practicing tai chi and qigong for 12 weeks, 3 times a week, an hour each time, reduces sleep apnea severity and daytime sleepiness, and improves sleep quality.
Fall Asleep Faster With Probiotics
If for some reason there are still worries running through your mind at night, don’t be too harsh with yourself. Good bacteria named LcS (Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota) has got your back!
One research in Japan found that drinking 100 ml of LcS-fermented milk for 8 weeks before an examination, helped students to fall asleep faster, even though they had the same anxiety levels as the placebo group.
LcS also may prevent hypersecretion of cortisol (the stress hormone) under stressful conditions.
LcS can be found in ripening Cheddar cheese and fermented milk.
You can also get LcS in some probiotic supplements, such as this one.
Don’t Force Sleep
Let’s say that you have tried all the techniques in the stress management plan, but still couldn’t fall asleep.
There is nothing to get nervous about!
First, get encouraged by knowing that the sleep you do get is high quality because you are using what you have learned from the posts in this blog.
Then, while still lying in bed, start thinking positive thoughts.
Tony Robbins created an exercise, which will help you to achieve that and you will probably fall asleep before you will finish the exercise.
It calls “Power Questions”:
Some notes on this exercise:
- Since you are trying to fall asleep, don’t start to scream like they do in the video.
- In the video, Tony used the feelings of pride and excitement. Add 4 -5 more positive feelings to the exercise.
- You can read the full version of the exercise in his book “Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!“.
If you really put yourself into this exercise, it should take you at least 15 minutes.
Have you finished the exercise and you are still awake?
If the answer is no, good night.
If the answer is yes, then that’s great. You are now probably feeling more optimistic than you felt 15 minutes ago.
At this point, I would not recommend you staying in bed for more than an additional 15 minutes, since your mind might associate bed with being awake.
Get out of your bedroom and do something relaxing like reading a book until you feel tired.
When you read a book at night, make sure you use a low-temperature source of light, such as candles or a Himalayan salt lamp, in order to avoid reducing your melatonin (sleep hormone) production.
There is always this person that looks so calm, even during the most stressful times, and able to get all the important things done.
It looks like this person has 50 hours a day. Otherwise, how is it possible?
This person knows that it’s down to whether you manage stress, or the stress manages you.
In order to be that person, you need a lot of focus and energy during the day, which is hard to achieve if you are always feeling stressed and can’t sleep well.
Feeling stressed at night leads to frustration not only during the night but also during the day after when you feel a lack of energy and focus because of a bad night’s sleep.
However, thinking about not being stressed, will only make you more stressed.
This is why I was searching for a stress management plan.
But all the articles I found gave the same typical advice (eat well, exercise, spend time with family and friends, blah blah blah…).
So, I invested a lot of time to find proven techniques instead of just sticking to the same advice we have all already heard about and tried.
Performing the simple techniques from the stress management plan will make it easier to live alongside the pressure.
Whether you are looking for a stress management plan in the workplace, for students, or whatever situation might be putting pressure on you, give the techniques in this post a try.
Would you like to help your friends and followers to be more relaxed, and to help this blog to grow at the same time?