Do you suffer with stress? Have you suffered with stress? I am going to take a wild punt and say that is a big fat yes. No doubt that at some point in our lives we have all had to combat a not so healthy dose of stress. I have a slight inclination that a hefty load of stress contributed toward the early arrival of my boy two years ago. It can be very dangerous. The NHS are of the opinion that stress is behind 1 in 5 GP visits and The Health and Safety Executive says around 9.9 million working days are lost each year to stress, depression or anxiety.* The effect it can have on your well-being is not to be underestimated.
It is a modern and so very common problem that many of us need to take a little more seriously. It is something that has come into the forefront in our household of late and as such taking the time to try to combat stress and improve our well-being is well worth it. So here is a list of some of the ways we have looked into combatting stress.
I have been a fan of mindfulness for years, a good 10 I reckon. Prior to having embarked on mindfulness I would have turned my nose up and cast it aside as ‘not my thing’ but when sh*t hits the fan and things get bad one will try anything. It is become more and more accepted and widespread, there are countless apps available, the NHS endorse it and it is being taught in some schools. There is real confidence is mindfulness and the positive effect it can have on your wellbeing. For more information about how it may help you you can visit here.
It is a well-known fact that exercise releases those happy endorphins. Whether it is a brisk walk, a hard and fast run or some gentle yoga (try it by Candlelight) whatever is your activity of choice DO IT. It’s hard to get that motivation at times, boy do I know, but you will feel so much better for it. Science tells us that.
I love love love a good massage and I certainly do not need to be stressed to be game for a massage. It will not only help to alleviate physical stresses but emotional or mental ones too. Your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, stress hormones, all decrease forcing you to relax. Your over active brain may also grind to a halt, or at least a steady trundle. The day out of the ordinary, away from your usual stresses and strains, whether they be deadlines, bosses or snotty shouty kids will do you the world of good and make you RELAX.
4. Something you enjoy
It is important to do something FOR YOU. Something you enjoy to get lost in. Whether it is reading a book, getting your nails done, the gym, a glass of wine with a friend or a meal out with a significant other. Wherever your happy place is try to make time for it. Indulge in it. For those few hours put yourself first. That release of happy hormones will do your stress levels the world of good.
5. Think about your environment
I am sure you’ve heard the saying, clear desk clear mind, or something to that effect. I think this is applicable pretty much across the board. I always feel much better sat in a clean clear from crap environment. Admittedly it’s not always easy when it is a plastic toy sanctuary in your living room but there are steps you can take to help. Candles can be calming or the sound of running water. It is thought that the proximity to sources of running water causes biochemical reactions that increase our levels of serotonin, a “feel good” hormone**. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that the sound of waves, streams, or waterfalls are invariably found on every relaxation soundtrack for a reason. So a feature such an indoor waterfall that hangs on the wall can have more than just aesthetic benefits. An indoor fountain will produce a soothing cadence that melts away tension and stress and facilitates meditation and introspection***
Sometimes when the stress gets just too much it can start to affect you physically. It might quicken your breathing, you may feel tightening across your chest, the struggle to get oxygen in may result in excess carbon dioxide causing a tingling sensation in your fingers. This is turn can cause panic and only worsens the situation. The one and only very best thing you can do is breathe. Concentrate on your breathing, to get air into your lungs and try to calm yourself down. Take a deep breath in and count to 4 then exhale. Getting the oxygen in and calming yourself down is the only was to alleviate the stress and anxiety. Whenever you feel things are getting a bit much take a few minutes to yourself to just concentrate on your breathing.
What about you? Do you have any tried and tested techniques to try to reduce stress? I’d love to hear from you.