10 Ways To Help Combat Stress
What is stress?
Stress is our body’s coping mechanism when reacting to pressure. Just under half of the British population are stressed at least once a week, for 12%, that's every single day.
Stress can be triggered by many different catalysts including: bereavement, divorce/separation, money problems and the most common reason...work. During the pandemic in 2020, of British adults in employment – a staggering 79% commonly experience work-related stress. This is 20% higher than 2018's findings. 81% of women said this compared to 67% of men.
It is therefore incredibly important to train ourselves to manage stress in a healthy, maintainable way through making small lifestyle choices every day. Here are 10 easy ways to help combat stress:
I know we talk about this all the time, but there really is no better way to relieve stress and anxiety than movement. Exercise makes your brain produce endorphins which are hormones that make you happier and boost your mood overall. Try getting out for even just a 15 minute walk daily.
2. Be Mindful
Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body. This simply means sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing and your body, bringing your attention back whenever you find your mind starting to wander.
3. Reduce Alcohol, Smoking & Caffeine
4. Essential Oils
Essential oils have been proven to lower blood pressure. This helps your breathing to slow, turning off your 'fight or flight' response (the reaction your body has when it feels like it is in danger) and in turn relieving that stressful feeling. Ylang Ylang, Lavender, Vetiva and Rose are all oils you could use.
5. Improved Sleep
Stress and sleep have a 2-way relationship, meaning one affects the other. The recommended sleep time for most adults is 7-9 hours so do what you can to get that. Things like the below can help;
- Not looking at your phone an hour before bed will help you unwind before sleep.
- Eating rice, oats and dairy products can produce chemicals that increase our desire to sleep.
- Try stick to a routine to help train your body to know when it is expected to sleep.
- Avoid daytime naps.
- Reduce caffeine intake so your mind can relax.
6. Be Kind To Yourself
Remember you are only human. Everyone has bad days, makes mistakes or things don't always go according to plan but you know, there is always a solution to every problem and being harsh on yourself will only hinder you. Remind yourself to think positively by writing a gratitude list or a list of things you have achieved. Done regularly, this helps train your brain to think more positively!
7. Eat Healthily
We all love sweet treats, but too much sugar can leave our brain dependent on it for that hit of dopamine that helps temporarily reduce stress. Over-use of dopamine will lead the brain to synthesize less and less. So moderating your sugar is always helpful. Omega 3 fats, proteins and anti-oxidants however have all been proven to help fight anxiety, relax you and improve your overall mood. This includes foods such as:
- Salmon - Bell Peppers
- Chai seeds - Blueberries
- Eggs - Citrus Fruits
- Turkey - Chicken
8. Me time
Take some to to unwind for yourself and give your brain a break. Whether running a bath, listening to a podcast on a walk or reading a book, it is important to switch off from the stresses of everyday life.
9. Build A Support Network
The people you surround yourself with are vital to your mental health. People who criticize you too much, complain about you, shout or laugh at you or even talk about you behind your back will only cause you more stress. Avoid these people are surround yourself with people you can trust who will support you. Joining a club or a course can help you meet like-minded people and encourage you to do something different. Activities like volunteering can also change your perspective and have a beneficial impact on your mood.
10. Ask For Help
The stigma behind mental health is slowly dissipating as we help increase awareness and continue to have conversations, however too many people, especially the younger generation still suffer in silence.
There is absolutely no shame in asking for help!
Asking for help is in our nature as human beings. We were never built to do everything by ourselves and that is why human relationships are so important. If you do not feel comfortable speaking with your doctor at first, reach out to a loved one or one of the many amazing mental health charities who are always here to help!
Please use the links below to reach out to someone whenever you need to.
How to seek help for a mental health problem | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems
Where to get urgent help for mental health - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen
Stress affects each and every one of us. All we can do is do what we can to manage it the best way we can! We hope the above is helpful!
Remember, 'HAPPY MIND, HAPPY LIFE'
MY URBAN TRAIL