If enough heat is applied to water, it expands and becomes steam. In a closed container, the resulting steam builds up a great deal of pressure or force—enough force to power a locomotive or generate electricity. The key to harnessing the power of steam is to know when to use it to apply pressure and when to release it. For example, in the locomotive engine, steam pressure is applied to one side of the piston then released as pressure is applied to the other side of the piston, making it move back and forth. This careful rotation between applying pressure and releasing it creates the familiar choo choo sound of a locomotive and produces sufficient power to move a 100-car train up and down mountains and across prairies at speeds up to 100 mph!
Like the steam engine, you have pressure that builds up inside you every day in the form of stress. A certain amount of stress can be useful because it pushes us to get things done. However, like the steam engine, we also need to release the pressure. Too often, we keep stress bottled up inside making us anxious, tense or uptight. Or we release it in negative ways such as lashing out in anger or overeating.
Here are 5 ways to let off steam without getting burned, or in other words, how to release built-up stress without destroying relationships or productivity.
- Push – The most positive use of stress is to spur you on to productive activity. Direct your energy to get busy working on projects that, when completed, will reduce your stress.
- Sweat – Exercise releases built-up tension and stores the energy in your body in the form of improved health, stamina, and strength.
- Laugh – Laughter reduces stress and prevents ulcers. Life is full of humorous situations if we look for them. Take a moment to laugh, long and hard, every day. For this reason, it could be that the most important section of the newspaper is the comics.
- Breathe – 5 minutes of relaxed, deep breathing, accompanied by calming thoughts or relaxing music, can work wonders toward relieving pent-up stress.
- Serve – Doing something kind for someone else floods your mind with chemicals called endorphins that make you feel great. It’s a natural high that relieves stress and re-energizes our body.
Success Tip: To release stress and improve productivity: Push, Sweat, Laugh, Breathe, and Serve.