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Ten Ways to Destress in South Florida

Ten Ways to Destress in South FloridaWhen life has got you stressed out, you don’t have to reach for alcohol, food, or tobacco to help relieve the mounting tension. Dr. Kothari’s staff have compiled a list of positive ways to improve your mood, calm your nerves, and help you feel better. Most activities are easily accessible in South Florida, so get out there and enjoy!

  • Bird Watching: Stroll the boardwalks or hike nature trails to see a variety of feathered friends. “Birding” helps us exercise visual and auditory observation skills, and gets us spending time outdoors, and helps us explore our natural world in a calm, peaceful way.
  • Spending Time with Animals: Having a loyal buddy to cuddle with or give you slobbery kisses can be the ultimate in relaxation. Studies show pets can help lower blood pressure as well as the stress hormone cortisol (which is associated with depression and anxiety), and also raise our levels of oxytocin, which is linked to happiness and relaxation. If owning a pet isn’t something an option for you, you can offer to take a friend’s dog for a walk or volunteer at a local animal shelter.
  • Run or jog: This relatively free form of exercise helps relieve stress and tension, builds confidence, improves attitude, gives us time to think, and keep us in shape. The term “runner’s high” is around for a reason! Choose a course with gorgeous Florida views and you may feel even better.
  • Meditate: It’s simple, inexpensive, and can be done almost anywhere. The “mental silence” associated with mediation may help you create peace, tranquility, focus, and self-awareness.
  • Get a massage: Whether it’s back, body, or the foot, massages make us feel good. Massages have been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, boost immune compounds, and reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Pilates or Yoga: Both practices use breathing techniques, fluid movements, and strength and balance training to improve our physical and mental health. They can be done alone or with others, are suitable for all skill levels and ages, and can be offered anywhere from parks, beaches, studios, gyms, or online.
  • Swimming: Luckily for residents of South Florida, swimming can be a year round activity. Whether it’s in the ocean, pool, lake, or gym, swimming is an activity that can increase stress-busting endorphins while letting you have some fun and beat the heat. If you’re really good at ocean swimming, you may want to try snorkeling for a “swimming in a fish tank” experience.
  • Get in Touch with your Artistic Side: Art can be a therapeutic way of encouraging creativity and self expression, reducing stress, and improving self esteem. You don’t have to be an artist to reap the benefits, in fact it’s the creative, meditative process that is thought to be the most beneficial, not the end product. You can draw in a notebook, doodle, paint with watercolors, create a collage, try woodworking or soap carving, pick up cross stitch, or even knit.
  • Paddle Boarding: This is an easier sport to enter than surfing and less expensive than owning a boat. You can even try it out by renting and taking lessons before buying your own board, paddle, and floatation device. While it may look easy from the shore, paddle boarding is indeed a full body workout. It can also be a stress reliever to be out on the water with beautiful views and being surrounded by sea life such as turtles, colorful fish, pelicans, star fish, and stingrays.
  • Write it Down: Keeping a journal may be an effective way of reducing stress due to the meditative, reflective, and cathartic effects. You can try writing a diary, poems, a gratitude journal, or whatever it is that helps you feel better. Make it a habit by picking a time each day to write in your journal.

Contact Dr. Kothari to learn more about stress management.

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