In our modern lives stress seems everywhere. How can we go about reducing stress when we have so many:
- financial pressures
- difficult relationship
So how can we find ways of reducing stress?
Here are some of my top tips for reducing stress:
- Breathing – focus on your awareness on your breath. breathing. Deep, slow breathing is very calming. The aim of deep breathing, when the lungs fully expand and your belly rises is to help slow your heart rate down. This helps you to feel more relaxed and peaceful. Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.
- Exercise – this is a really important way of combating stress. Exercise can boost self confidence and self esteem. When you feel stressed and tense, go for a brisk walk in fresh air. Try to incorporate some form physical activity into your daily routine on a regular basis, either before or after work, or at lunchtime. Regular physical activity can also improve the quality of your sleep.
- Mindfulness and meditation – there are a number of classes and courses on mindfulness and meditation. Take time to find the one that best works for you.
- Manage your time – This can seem easier said than done. Begin by accepting that you cannot do everything at once. Make a list by prioritising tasks. Also see if any of these jobs can be delegated to others. Record which tasks need to be done immediately, in the next week, in the next month, or when time allows. Break tasks down into a series of smaller more mangeable tasks. Also factor in time for me time, so that your life is not just a series of jobs but includes relaxation and family time.
- Learn to say no -these leads in from the tip above. Learning to say “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress, and may also help you develop more self-confidence. Having some prepared phrases to say may help such as
“I am sorry but I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”
“Now is not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. Why don’t you ask me again at….?”
“I’d love to do this, but …”
- Listen to soothing music – this can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as stress hormones. Pick music that you enjoy. Also when you are out and about in nature listen out for the sounds of nature, which can also be very calming. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
- Try acupuncture – acupuncture can help to relax and destress the body and mind – see acupuncture page for more information
- Laughter -why not watch a funny film or book. It is hard to feel anxious when you are laughing. It stimulates and relieves your stress response and relieves tension by relaxing your muscles.