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How to help manage stress

Introduce daily rituals

  1. Meditation and guided imagery. Just 5 or 10 minutes a day can have a profound effect on your mental wellbeing. The practice provides stress relief at the time as well and building and underlying ability to be present and calm even when faced with a stress trigger.

  2. Breath work. Super easy to learn - just a quick google search will provide loads of options. Here are a few of my favourites. And really easy to do wherever you are, without anyone noticing.

  3. Walking outdoors. A number of studies have identified a link between spending time walking outside and stress reduction. It's also said to improve memory and focus by up to 20%. Make it a brisk walk and you'll also be reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) and boosting endorphins. Include and mate or a pet in you walks and you're adding emotional support in as well. Win win win!

  4. Exercise. It might not make all your stresses disappear, but being active can help to clear your thoughts, stop overwhelm. Exercise reduces the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases the level on endorphins (natural painkiller and mood boosters). Getting you into a mental space where you can more proactive consider and deal with this causing you stress.

  5. Aromatherapy. You can use candles, sprays or essential oil burners. Scent can have a hugely powerful effect on our mood. Take a look at my Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety post for my favourite oils.

  6. Diet. It’s all too easy when we’re stressed or upset, to reach for high-fat, high-sugar food which promise a feel good quick fix. However, these foods usually lead to a spike in blood sugar, and in turn, an inevitable bloody sugar crash, during which you’re going to feel even worse than you did to start with. Low blood sugar means, low energy, anxiety, irritability, emotional instability. Instead go for balancing foods like nuts, avocado and eggs.

  7. Yoga. It’s all about joining your body and your mind. The practice can lower cortisol levels, bloody pressure and heart rate. Calming the nervous system and keeping our stress response under control.

  8. Journaling. A problem shared in a problem halved? Well, even sharing it with the private pages of your journal can really help shift some of the negative feelings. There’s something about seeing it written down which gives you ownership of the situation and empowers you to change it.

  9. Gratitude. You can take this as a general approach, and make a conscious effort to catch and flip any negative responses into a more positive reaction, seeing something you can be grateful for even in that challenge. Or try adding a few things you are grateful for to you journal each day. You’ll likely be surprised how much great stuff you are surrounded by but fail to notice when you’re so focussed on the stresses.

  10. Make time for leisure. Whether it’s spending time with a loved one, taking time out to read or just having a bath, self-care and self-love is massively important to managing a positive mental state and bolstering your resilience.

See the big picture.

  1. Take a step back. It’s great putting practices and rituals in place which help you manage stress and anxiety, but do take the time to look at the bigger picture and try to identify what’s actually triggering the reaction. Once you begin to understand this, you can start on the deeper work of overcoming these triggers.

  2. Get organised. Disorganisation, procrastination and missing deadlines will just exacerbate your stress. Help yourself by structuring your day and sticking to it. The positive feels you’ll get from achieving the small tasks you’ve set will really help give you a boost.

  3. Identify the root causes. Like the triggers, spend time really coming to understand what’s going on for you and how it’s leading to your stress response. Work with a coach, NLP practitioner, or therapist to dig into the deeper levels of your subconscious and start shifting these issues for good.

  4. Focus on you. The golden rule is making your goals personal, that is, only focus on the things you can control and change. Then try your hardest to let the other stuff slide.

Get support

  1. Speak to someone. Perhaps a friend, colleague or family member and start sharing how you’re feeling. It can be difficult being open about these feelings and sometimes it’s easier to open up with someone who you know less well.

  2. Talking therapies. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and counselling help you to recognise your triggers, understand your behaviour and learn to manage your response more effectively. Life Coaching can support you to get back on track and start regaining control of your day to day activities.

  3. Alternative therapies. Holistic therapies like Kinesiology are wonderful for helping to balance energy and build your emotional resilience. Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) is a therapy which combines mindfulness, meditation and yoga with a focus on reducing stress.

  4. Medication. There is no specific medication for the treatment of stress itself. However, you can speak to your doctor about medications which can help you manage some of the signs of stress such as poor sleep, depression or digestive issues.Perhaps a friend, colleague or family member and start sharing how you’re feeling. It can be difficult being open about these feelings and sometimes it’s easier to open up with someone who you know less well.

Take a look at my What are the signs of stress? post, to understand a little more.

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