A little stress is good for all of us when you get that boost of adrenaline during the day that helps you to complete a task and hopefully has a successful day. However, it is not uncommon for stress to take over someone’s day and when this happens, being overly stressed can lead to further health problems and severe complications.
It is beneficial for your health to find time to relax. The feeling of stress is linked to some issues such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, inability to make the right decision and it can cause breakouts in your skin.
If you are finding that you have difficulties sleeping, you’re working late, you’re not taking your breaks when needed, or stress is written across your face on a regular basis, then for your heart’s sake and wellbeing, you need to find the time to relax.
Here are a few simple activities and tips to try, pick one and give it a go. Find one which you can take a few minutes a day to relax with, whether it’s in the morning when you wake up to get you started for the day, on your lunch break or at the end of the day to wind down – see what works best for you.
Identify Your Triggers
How do you know when you are stressed? We all know the feeling of stress and how it makes us feel, but do we all know the triggers which set us off? Stress is a very personal experience and can be set carried off by some reasons, but more often than not they fall into the same broad categories: money, relationships, work and time constraints. These can then be broken down into things such as problems saving money, bills, fights in relationships, looking after a loved one, feeling stuck in a job you dislike, taking on too much at both work and in your personal life, lack of passion, being disorganised, holiday pressures, etc.
Help yourself by identifying what it is that is making you overly stressed and prevented you from taking the time to relax. If it helps, keep a diary for a few weeks noting down when you feel most tense and what you were doing at the time. This will assist in the future to identify when you desperately need to take some time away and find some peace again.
Breathing is not only a vital component of staying alive (critical!), but it is also important for nourishing the body and reducing tension thanks to the oxygen boost throughout your body.
Try the following breathing technique in times of stress and panic; it will only take a few minutes.
- Start by either lying on a bed or yoga mat, sitting with your back in a sturdy chair with your feet on the ground or standing up tall with your feet roughly hip-width apart.
- With each breath, let it fill your belly as much as possible, whilst remaining comfortable.
- Breath in gently and count steadily from one to five if you can.
- Then, as soon as you run out of breath, release it without pausing, gently, counting from one to five again.
- Keep doing this for three to five minutes.
Listen To Music
When listening to music you love, it will flood your brain with good thoughts and may even trigger happy memories. If you combine a relaxation exercise with your favourite music too, you’ll find yourself relaxing more.
Either go for music which will lift your spirits and leave a smile on your face or find something soothing and calming which will help release some tension and give you some time to think mindfully for a little while.
Have you ever heard that laughter is the best medicine? Laughing therapy is a thing, and it has helped people from all around the world. Encouraging people to laugh is an excellent way to reduce feelings of stress and can help you to cope with a stressful situation. Ever wondered why people laugh when they are nervous? It’s a brilliant coping mechanism, although albeit, not a problem solver.
Anything that makes you giggle can have a positive impact on your mind, no matter what kind of mood or humour you are in. Laughter can be infectious, so why not give it a go.
Being active is not only great for your fitness and overall health, but it can also be perfect for your wellbeing too. Researchers believe that when we exercise there is a slight chemical change in the brain which can help us positively change our mood. Not only does it help with the way in which we think, but it can also encourage greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to complete a task or challenge – something that doesn’t seem possible when we are clouded with emotions.
Exercising isn’t going to make the stress you are feeling disappear altogether, but it will reduce some of the pent up emotions that you may be experiencing. Going for a walk or a gentle run can help you remove some of the fog and at the very least give you something else to concentrate on for half an hour. Getting started with exercise does not mean signing up to your local boot camp, intense exercise may add to the stress you are already dealing with. If you are a beginner, pick something gentle and think about how you can fit it into your daily life.
Talk To People
If your stress is being caused by other people or a person, then talk to them about it. It’s the quickest route to the solution, instead of aiming to go around the problem which is causing you so much stress. Sometimes people don’t know they are causing a problem and a little conversation can go a long way. (Who knows, they might practise laughing with you after!).