6 Ways to Reduce Stress
We all need to reduce stress at times but that’s easier said than done, right? Right!
The nature of stress makes it difficult to manage once it’s rolling as those stress chemicals keep flooding your body.
The key to stress relief is to be aware of when it’s happening and in so doing, you’ll start responding differently to stress inducing situations. It will take a little work on your part to reduce stress in your life but it’ll be well worth it.
My number one go-to for stress and anxiety relief is EFT Tapping, which calms you down in a matter of minutes. However, taking steps to reduce stress before it occurs is also a worthwhile strategy when it comes to minimizing a stress reaction and it’s a good idea to have a ‘toolkit’ handy for reducing stress.
Six Stress Reducing 'Toolkit' Essentials:
1. De-clutter Your Life
De-cluttering your working environment and personal space will help you to think more clearly and reduce the anxiety associated with the feeling of muddle. So if you are feeling overwhelmed or out of control put some time aside to organise and declutter your environment. If you start with just one space at a time, you’ll soon be on top of things and reduce stress.
2. The Benefits of Walking
The benefits of walking are numerous. Exercise decreases the stress hormone cortisol and increases endorphins, the happiness chemical, especially if you walk briskly to increase heart rate. If you can manage it, a 20 to 30 minute walk every day will not only make your fitter and increase your energy, it’s the perfect good mood enhancer.
3. Reduce Stress with ‘Essential’ oils
Pure essential oils are known for their de-stressing properties. My favourite is lavender and there are some wonderful pre-mixed bath infusions you can buy commercially. Just make sure they’re the real thing. Health stores and shops such as Neal's Yard stock them. Warm water is better than hot and muscles feel soothed afterwards, which aide’s restful sleep and relaxation.
Some oils can cause skin irritation however Lavender is a safe choice. If you want to use Essential oils in a diffuser, this is also highly effective to aid relaxation. Choose from Lavender and Frankincense (great mixed together) Bergamot (or orange) and Ylang Ylang, again mixed together or Rose.
I qualified as an Aromatherapist in 1989 so I know my oils and even now, all these years later, I wouldn’t be without them!
4. Smile even when you don’t feel like smiling
This may seem an odd one but studies have shown that when you smile you reduce your heart rate, even if the smile is a faked smile. Placing a pen or a chop stick between your teeth in such a way to engage facial muscles will also work! Smiling can reduce the intensity of the stress response, so the next time you’re sitting in a traffic jam try putting even a fake smile on your face!
5. Breathe deeply throughout the day
Do you ever catch yourself unconsciously holding your breath, especially if you’re concentrating on something? And if you sit at a desk for long periods or spend hours behind the wheel of a car you may find that you breathe more shallowly. Get into the habit of taking some slow and deep abdominal breaths, either standing or lying down. When the exhale is slightly longer than the inhale, the parasympathetic nervous system responds, lowering blood pressure resulting in relaxation.
6. Turn off email, mobile phones and electronic gadgets!
I know, I know, this is a tough one and perhaps more so for some of us but there really was a time before electronic communication and people managed. It’s just that we’ve become so accustomed to this extension of ourselves that switching off feels totally alien.
Studies suggest that electronic devices contribute to sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression in both men and women. Give your mind a mental rest, especially late at night and you’ll not only reduce stress but feel calmer and more relaxed.
Don't let stress get the better of you. Some simple steps practised regularly will go a long way to reduce stress in your life. 🙂