In my last blog I wrote about the effects of stress on the body. In this blog, I want to give you some top tips to ease stress.
Often when stressed, we feel we don’t have enough time. So the last thing I want to do is suggest an overly complicated system. Instead, I am sharing some easy to implement tips that you can do on a day-to-day basis for an instant feel-good effect.
Get more of it! Make it a priority. You will cope with everything better. You can read more about my thoughts on sleep here.
Exercise is known to improve mood, reduce stress and help with overall wellbeing. This is because exercise produces endorphins – feel-good chemicals – in the brain. Focus on adding more movement into your day – walk instead of drive on those short journeys, take the stairs, do 10 squats whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.
When we are stressed we are more likely to make poor food choices. We will reach for the high fat, high sugar, high stimulant comfort food and drinks. These choices will increase cortisol, the stress hormone, even further. This will show up as weight around the middle, cause spikes in your blood sugar levels and will do nothing to help your mood. Instead, choose nutrient-dense foods and focus on eating three meals a day made up of vegetables, good quality protein and healthy fats.
Of all the senses, smell has the greatest connection with the mind and emotions. This is because when we breathe in an aroma, the mixture of smells cross the blood-brain barrier and access the limbic system – the emotional switchboard of the brain. Think about how the smell of freshly cut grass instantly takes you back to long summer days of your childhood. Right? The easiest way to use aromatherapy is to get yourself a diffuser and burn essential oils. Neal’s Yard De-Stress Oil is a great blend to start with.
You might be thinking I don’t have time to write a gratitude journal; believe me, I don’t either. I simply write 3 things I am grateful for every morning and night and it takes less than 5 minutes. Research shows us that gratitude practices lowers stress and promotes feelings of optimism and positivity.
Mindfulness helps reduce stress by allowing us to become more aware of our thoughts and by being aware of our thoughts, we become less reactive and more able to observe without judgement. The beauty of practising mindfulness is that it builds inner resilience so that future stresses have less of an impact on our emotional and physical well-being. Yoga and meditation are the best ways I find to develop my mindfulness. But for a quick win, anytime you find yourself waiting for something, try 4-4 breathing – breathe in for the count of 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4 and repeat 4 times.
I hope you have found a few useful ideas here. If you would like to talk more about any of the above or problems you may be having with stress, then book a free discovery call.