Avoiding stress is impossible without moving into a cave and hiding from humanity. Even then, you’d have to fend for food and worry about winter. Just to say, life is stressful, whether those stresses come from juggling work and family duties or the pure rigors of existence.
Despite stress’ ubiquity, managing it is important for preventing acute headaches. Roughly half of the entire world’s population has experienced an acute headache in the past year, according to the World Health Organization. Headaches can ruin a day and compound existing stress since the episodes may delay taking care of other responsibilities or, at minimum, make going about your day more difficult. Fortunately, proactively managing stress may help to prevent acute headaches. In addition to preventing acute headaches, these stress relievers might just put a smile on your face.
Watch funny movies
Laughter has been proven to reduce stress and actively subdue key stress hormones like cortisol, according to researchers from Loma Linda University’s Schools of Allied Health.
Even better news for people experiencing difficultly fitting exercise into their schedules — repetitive laughter causes some similar health benefits, including supporting immune activity and lowering blood pressure, according to Loma Linda researcher Dr. Lee Berk. Researchers say repetitive laughter is key, so laugh away.
Creative pursuits including art, music, writing, and journaling have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety while improving mood, according to a literature review published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Stress-reducing benefits are particularly pronounced when the therapy is connected to a mindfulness-based stress reduction program, a type of meditation. However getting creative any way that feels right helps to alleviate tension.
Don’t worry about besting Picasso or giving Mozart a run for his money. The greatest benefits are derived from doing the activities for the sake of doing them and just having fun.
Take a break
Some stress results from a go-go-go lifestyle. Many people push through tension without stopping to take a break. This creates a habit and forces stress to build up, without ever giving the body a chance to level out.
A headache could be your body’s signal that it’s overtaxed and needs downtime, says Dr. Elizabeth Loder, president of the American Headache Society. Finding a calm, quiet space and escaping there for even 10 minutes when you feel tension could dissipate the stress before it causes damage. Of course, resting proactively, before tension takes hold, provides even more benefits.
Soak in the tub
Pampering yourself with baths, allowing the hot water to wash the stress away could help prevent tension headaches. Hot baths or hot packs may also help suppress a headache you feel coming on, according to Mayo Clinic.
Improve the stress-reducing qualities of your bath by adding a few drops of soothing essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint. Peppermint oil may heal in other ways: German researchers found it reduced headache pain when mixed with ethanol and applied to the forehead and temple.
What stress-busting tips do you have for preventing acute headaches?
Image by TheArches via Flickr