10 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress With Love
Life is one amazing journey; and like every journey, it comes with its own stress. Everyone gets stressed, but it is how you deal with that stress that determines how much that stress effects you. Stress, when not dealt with, can build up over time and cause trouble in all areas of your life; affecting your health, mental state, relationships etc. Stress is defined as: ‘a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.’ It is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel stressed, your nervous system responds by releasing a lot of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which get the body ready for emergency action. (To flight or fight).
From 2011 to 2015 the Australia Psychological Society* conducted a ‘Stress and Wellbeing Survey.’
The finding were:
- Younger people (18-25) have consistently reported lower levels of wellbeing than older Australians.
- 35 per cent of Australians report having a significant level of distress in their lives.
- 26 per cent of Australians report having moderate to extremely severe levels of depression symptoms.
- Of those reporting severe levels of distress, 61 per cent drink alcohol, 41 per cent gamble, 40 per cent smoke and 31 per cent take recreational drugs to manage stress.
- In 2015, anxiety symptoms were the highest they have been in the five years of the survey.
Stop focusing on how stressed you are;
and instead focus on how blessed you are.
When you find yourself feeling stressed or in a stressful environment; take a step back and try one of these tips to help bring yourself back into a calm and grounded state of being…
Be Grateful ~ Did you know that studies have shown that practicing being thankful can actually lower stress, stop depression, improve your quality of sleep , boost your immune system and make you happier. Write down 10 things that you are thankful for in your life. For some ideas check out our ‘Weekly Gratitude Inspiration’
Breathe ~ When we are stressed we tend to breathe faster and shallower; which can cause our blood pressure to rise, and makes it harder to think calmly. If you find yourself doing this; then pause and focus on your breath. Breathe in through your nose for 5 and breathe out your mouth in a slow exhale of 5. Do this for 60 seconds; longer if you need; until you feel calmer.
Exercise ~ When we are stressed; our body and mind are put under enormous pressure. We often can’t think clearly and we hold tension in our bodies. A great release for this is to do some exercise. If you are extremely stressed and your blood pressure is through the roof – then go for a more gentle form of exercise like a Yoga class or just a simple walk in nature. The point is to help nourish and move our bodies to get our endorphin’s up. So get out there and move that booty!
Acceptance ~ A big thing that makes people stressed these days is trying to control a situation that may be out of our control. If this is the case, we need to accept this and let go. Remind yourself that you are in no way a failure for doing this, and are in fact very powerful for acknowledging this and honoring yourself enough to step back and no longer let a situation or person stress you or control you.
Laugh ~ When we are stressed we are so uptight, like a volcano ready to erupt. The last thing we need is for hot lava to be spilling all over the place, most likely hurting you and others around you. Laughter is such an amazing cure for stress. It may not be a long term cure, but it can be a relief in the short term at helping us deal with our burden of stress. Laughter is a key to help flush out our stress hormones by bringing in endorphin’s to help lift our mood. So Go watch a funny movie, catch up with a mate who you know will have you in stitches or even attend a laughter class. (yes that is a real thing – and they are amazing!)
Stay Positive ~ When we are deeply stressed our scales can easily tip over in a negative space. When we are in this space; our thoughts can become our worst enemy and can add extra (unwarranted) stress to our already full pile. When you feel the scales start to tip toward negativity: bring your attention back to the positives around you. Similar to being grateful – focus on what is good rather than the bad. You can always find something bad when younsearch for it; just as you can find something positive if you turn your attention in its direction.
Meditate ~ Meditation is such an amazing tool to have in your ‘dealing with stress’ toolbox. It is something you can do anywhere, anytime of the day. If you find it hard to quieten your mind down, then go for a guided meditation (there are some great ones on you-tube; or download a free app) Even just 5 mins a day is proven to help lower stress and calm your mind – helping you to think clearer.
Eat to Nourish ~ When we are stressed we are more likely than not, to go straight for the comfort food. A little indulgence is totally fine – so if you really want that piece of chocolate – go for it! But when that piece of chocolate turns into a block of chocolate, you will find that you may feel comforted in that moment, but this extra comfort will eventually add up to an extra size in the jeans. So when you find yourself heading for that block of chocolate – have a cup of tea first. Or try one of the other ways to deal with stress – like go for a walk or deep breathing. And if you still need that chocolate – why not go for a darker version than milk chocolate. It will keep you more satisfied for longer, and with a smaller piece. (eating a whole block of very dark chocolate is intense.. and much harder to do!)
Time Out ~ Being stressed is definitely not a fun situation to be in, and in most cases fun and enjoying life falls to the side-line. Remember to take fun off the bench and give it a run. Life will always come with its stresses – but that does not mean that you should sacrifice your happiness and joy for life. Remember to get out there and do things that bring you joy. Life was not meant to be endured, but to be enjoyed.
Reach out ~ If you are feeling completely overwhelmed in your stress and it feels like you are drowning in it; then please.. reach out to someone. You do not need to face this by yourself. Call up a friend or family member, or a help-line such as: Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or for adults: Lifeline on 13 11 14.
*For more on the Australia Psychological Society and their Wellness survery. Go to https://www.psychology.org.au/psychologyweek/survey/results-stress-and-wellbeing/