Stress is a funny thing. You can’t see it, but golly can you feel it. It’s one of those feelings that can creep up on you slowly, or hit you like a bus. There’s no inbetween. There are so many ways you can deal with stress and anxiety, whether it be with meditation, medication or just pretending that it doesn’t exist. The last option is definitely not the best one to go with, so here are some ways you can reduce stress the natural way.
Let’s Define Stress, Shall We?
What is stress? Kerrie Denton from Motivation 2 Conquer offers her advice on what stress is, and how you can help control it. “Wow! Stress….We can’t see it but we sure can feel it.
We are all faced with stress every single day. From rushing to get the children off to school to worrying about the bills piling up. It is when we are faced with a buildup of stress, that we really need to take charge and give our minds and bodies a rest.
Here are a few tips that you can do that is completely natural and very effective.
· Eat fresh foods only including heaps of salads and vegetables.
· Daily physical exercise, even if it is a brisk walk in the fresh air.
· Listen to some calming music.
· Factor in some you time and do something that you love such as a massage.
· A catch up with your bestie. This always lifts your spirits.
· Prioritise your time and learn to say no.
· Get plenty of sleep.
· Put things into perspective.
· Reach out and talk to someone”
Find out more about Motivation 2 Conquer by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
In What Ways Can We Reduce Stress?
Stress can be found in many situations, taking many forms. This means that stress can also be reduced in many ways. Michelle Bihary from The Delta Centre offers her advice for those who need a bit of advice to reduce stress. “Stress and anxiety can be reduced in many ways:
Physically - using breathing exercises, physical exercise, soothing activities, like being on a swing or singing
Sensory - music (there is special music like 'Weightless' that has been shown to greatly reduce stress levels, massaging hands or feet, baths, swimming or other enjoyable sensory experiences that being our attention to the moment
Mentally - changing our mindset - not taking things personally, recognising what we can control and letting go of what we can't control, maintaining an optimistic and positive mindset (without dying difficult feelings and emotions) mindfulness and/ or meditation practices, practising being less self-critical, more self-compassionate
Emotionally - 'name it to tame it' - articulating what we are feeling helps t o reduce its intensity.
Using a neuroplasticity perspective - when we work at longer term helping people build neural pathways to the higher functioning parts of their brain and reduce the triggers to the brainstem (more primitive - fight or flight part of the brain.” Find out more about The Delta Centre by checking out their website.
Recognise Your Symptoms Of Stress
Sometimes there are physical signs that prove that you’re feeling a bit under the pump. These can often be tell tale signs that you’re stressed, and need to take things easy. Some of these signs include low energy, headaches, an upset stomach, insomnia and aches and pains. These are the obvious signs. There are also emotional signals that you should be aware of, which can include becoming easily agitated, avoiding others, feeling overwhelmed or feeling bad about yourself. These are often the first signs of stress, and if you begin feeling any of these, you shouldn’t ignore them. They could help you in the long run.
Find A Circuit Breaker
Sometimes you need to find a circuit breaker to reduce your stress levels. If you spend most of your time stressing about work, long after you’ve left the office, it may be a good sign that you need to pick up a hobby to take your mind off it. Philippa from Sylvanian Specialty Store offers her advice for those who are in need of a circuit breaker. “For some people, a Collection (of some kind) is a stress release. The very act of organising, cataloguing and ordering a collection is soothing and can decrease Stress. I run an online business specialising in specifically vintage and new Sylvanian Families sets and several of the avid collector's have expressed that collecting is an emotional outlet for them. For many Adult Collector’s it's not about the value of the collection, but more of an emotional connection with what they collect. For some, there’s a certain security in collecting and they consider their collection a “Safe place”. It can be a relaxation, can ease anxiety, or simply be a place to withdraw and forget the pressures of life. Some collector’s love the systematic organising and cataloguing that goes into a collection. Sylvanian Families, are cute and fuzzy little creatures, dressed up in 50's folksy style clothing and live out their critters lives in the make believe land of "Sylvania". Sylvania is a place where nothing bad ever happens. There's a policeman Sylvanian figure, but there's never any crime in Sylvania, so for many people who have social anxieties, it's the perfect world to escape to for a visit from time to time.” Find out more about Sylvanian Specialty Store by following them on Facebook.
Align Your Values
Sometimes you have to take a step back and see what you’re stressing about. Is it worth the stress? Is it worth the worry? Peter Horsfield from SMART Advice is here to help you if you’re having a bit of trouble. “You have to align your choices with your values. Then have a game plan to keep you on track and a checklist so to ensure nothing is falling through the cracks. To identify your values ask yourself "What's important about money to me?" then ask what's important about that last answer to you? Continue till you reach your aspirations self. After you have identified your goals, time frame and where you are today. You will have clarity about what is missing. Start to then identify the evidence "aligned with your values" that you are making smart choices about your money i.e. if you said Security is your first value then ask yourself how much money you need to have in the bank "for the unknown" for you to feel secure. Then put that money aside or build it up. Then move onto your next value or an additional evidence you need to have aligned to your value. There are many moving parts to people's values and finances, let alone the noise and distractions of others and the media. It's important to spend your time and efforts doing the activities you control rather than what you can't i.e. saving regularly vs market returns & economic events etc. Create a checklist so that you can ensure you always stay on top of your "financial house". Do your chores and it will be well maintained and probably be a more enjoyable environment to live in. Doing these are the basics of not only good financial management and planning they are also good for one’s relationships and quality of life. You get the direct benefit from spending time with loved ones and friends, exercising, eating healthily, improving your skills, and spiritual side. By being better by default you increase your chances of experiencing a better quality of life. We can’t change time but we can change what we do with it.” Find out more about Peter Horsfield by following him on Facebook.
Sleep On It
Sleep is a beautiful thing. It’s also a scary thing. If you get too much sleep, you can feel out of the ordinary, but those feelings only get worse if you don’t have enough sleep. Feelings of stress can often feel multiplied when we’re sleepy, and our mental health pays the price. NREM stage 3 is the stage of sleep where your brain begins to mend itself. This is also known as the deep sleep stage. If you don’t sleep for at least six hours a night, we can often wake up feeling more tired, grumpy and exposed to feelings of stress and anxiety. Sleep deprivation is a huge health risk, so make sure you get your eight hours of sleep a night. For more hard hitting facts about sleep, head here.
Work Up A Sweat
Sometimes the best way to decrease your stress levels is to get your blood pumping. Maya Kiusalaas from My Monday Love is here to explain why exercise is your friend. “Is your head buzzing or are you having a hard time focusing? Go out for a run or pump your blood in any other way (bonus if you get out in nature) has rarely made anyone more stressed than before! Kick the resistance in the butt and just do it. It doesn’t matter if your run looks more like a shuffle or if it is raining outside if the blood is pumping you will feel better!” Find out more about My Monday Love by following her on Facebook and Instagram. You can find out about her new book on her website, and also read about her amazing job here.
The Holy Trinity Of Health
To maintain good mental health, you often have to seek a balanced physical health too. Stephanie Lau, The Holiday Psychologist, offers her advice for the holy trinity of health. “Sleep, diet, exercise. These three key things affect our physical and emotional well-being. However, when busy (and stressed), they are the first of many things to go awry. A good night’s rest does a world of good. Top that off with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise (get those endorphins going!), and your body will have the capacity to repair itself when you’re feeling low, fighting some nasty bugs or just feeling ‘mreh’. Take care of your body and it will take care of you!” Find out more about the Holiday Psychologist by following her on Facebook and Instagram. If you’d like to combine two out of the three of the holy trinity in one activity, why not do some gardening? You can pick up a new hobby, get fresh air, get some exercise and grow your own tasty, healthy veggies? Studies have also shown that those who garden have lower levels of anxiety and stress than those who don’t. So get your hands dirty, it’s good for you! For the food lovers, Sam Beau Patrick, the Health Queen is here to explain the best foods to eat to avoid stress overdrive. "Food is the foundation of all balance. Eating a diet rich in organic, fresh colour foods means your body has to work less behind the scenes to maintain homeostasis (balance). Unfortunately many people short cut real food for convenience foods. The chemicals, the additives, require so much extra effort on behalf of your metabolism and body, that this in turn leads to a stressed body. A nice piece of free range meat, and a colourful salad trumps a fast food meal any day!" Find out more about Sam by following her on Facebook and Instagram.
A great way to reduce stress naturally is with aromatherapy. Rachel Holme from Hanako Therapies explains why aromatherapy is a great way to lower your stress levels. “Aromatherapy can work wonders for relieving stress and tension. Not only does it affect the mental, emotional and psychological self it also has an effect on the physiological and spiritual well being. Pure essential oils like Lavender, Clary Sage, Rose, Bergamot, Neroli, Sandalwood and Melissa blended in with a base oil can be a welcoming relief in one sniff helping to trigger a calming of the heart and mind and wash a sense of calm over you. Place it to the wrists, feet and behind the ears. Take a few deep breaths and let the tension and stress melt away.” Find out more about Hanako Therapies by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
Keep Things Low Key
The world is a hectic place, and we seem to be always doing the most. We can be so extra in our lives that we often forget to take a minute out of our schedule and just relax. Chiropractor, Jason Gilbert, offers his advice for those who are feeling the pressure and need time to relax.
“Meditate! Only 10 minutes a day, preferably shortly after waking, if not anytime is fine. Try it! It will change your life and help you stay present. Control the noise in your mind by not trying to do too many things at once. Choose the highest priority tasks for your day and do them first.
Limit the time you work or stimulate your mind to fixed hours, preferably in normal working hours. Be careful of being on social media after 9pm. Similarly, turn the TV off after 9-9.30. Not tired yet? Read a non-stimulating book that will calm the mind and induce sleep as opposed to something that will excite it.” Find out more about Jason by following him on Facebook and Instagram.
Speak To Someone
Sometimes, even when you feel like you’re doing everything you can to feel less stressed, that little bug inside continues to nag you. When this happens, it may be a good plan to talk to someone about it. It sounds scary, but you know the saying, “A problem shared is a problem halved”. This can be very true. Even just telling a friend about your stress can take some weight off your shoulders, and make you look at the issue from another perspective. You don’t have to speak to a psychologist, you can speak to someone who you live with, you work with, and most importantly, someone you can trust. You can sit outside, under your outdoor heater and just spill it. The person you tell may have a perspective on the situation that you didn’t think of, or they may have the solution that you didn’t see. You never know until you share. Even surrounding yourself with positivity can be enough to help you feel a bit better. Art gallery, Bluethumb offers their advice for those who need to surround themselves with positivity. "A great way to decrease stress is by surrounding yourself with peaceful, calm imagery and colours, and generally creating a nice environment. Choosing some beautiful original art to hang in your home is a lovely way to create a haven of peace, and artworks can also help you to 'get outside your head'. Even the process of choosing art is stress-free, with online art gallery Bluethumb's free art advisory service." Find out more about Bluethumb by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
Everyone experiences stress, it’s all about how you approach it and how you can prevent it from taking over your life.