If you missed our first 5 tips to reducing stress, you can find them here.
Stress is our body’s natural response to demand in our lives. It helps us avoid danger and respond quickly in tough situations, it’s when we are exposed for prolonged periods that it becomes an issue. This is why it’s important for us to be able to manage, regulate and ultimately lower our stress levels as much as we can.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness allows us to refocus ourselves, and safely unpack our stress and anxiety. When we enter a state of mindfulness we are anchored to the moment, helping to calm negative thoughts and step back from what’s causing them by looking at them from a rational perspective. New to mindfulness? Luckily for us, there’s a plethora of mindfulness tools and apps to help both new and versed meditators. The following were rated the best Meditation Apps of 2021 by www.verywellmind.com
- Best Overall: Calm https://www.calm.com/
- Best Budget: Insight Timer https://insighttimer.com/
- Best for Sleep: Headspace: Meditation & Sleep https://www.headspace.com/
- Best for Beginners: Ten Percent Happier Meditation www.tenpercent.com
- Best Guided: Buddhify www.buddhify.com/
Sometimes you just need a good giggle to improve your mood – they don’t say laughter is the best medicine for nothing! It’s physically difficult to feel anxious when we’re laughing as laughing tricks our nervous system into making us feel happier – how cool is that?!
When we laugh, our body releases endorphins which naturally lower stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing relaxes our muscles and relieves tension in the body, making it easier to combat those feelings of stress and anxiety. Try watching a funny TV show, surround yourself with people who make you laugh – when you hear laughter, run to it!
The food we fuel our bodies with plays a huge part in how we feel. Did you know that 90% of our happy hormone (serotonin) is actually produced in our gut? Eating poorly can create inflammation (physical stress) and increase cortisol in our bodies. These choices might be made because we’re in a hurry to eat, we crave comfort food (who doesn’t?) or sometimes we are simply too busy to even think about it. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet is a key way to lessen the effects of stress. Here you can find Dietitian Courtney Barth explaining certain foods which help to reduce stress.
4. Talk it out with a friend
Having a simple conversation with someone you trust is a great way to see a situation more clearly, look at the problem from a different perspective and “let it all out” in a safe environment. Now more than ever, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. One small conversation can change the way we feel immensely. If you are in need of someone to talk to about your wellbeing, you will find one or more free hotlines in your area with a simple Google search. If you’re in NZ, 1737 provides a free service to those who need a chat.
5. Prioritise sleep
Lack of sleep is one of the main causes of stress, and frustratingly, stress impacts the quality of sleep we’re able to have. Cue: vicious cycle.
Getting enough sleep (7-8 hours recommended by the Sleep Foundation) will help with a positive mood, increased energy levels, and more ability to concentrate. But how do we get enough sleep if we’re stressed? Incorporating a combination of stress management techniques, such as meditation, exercise and mindful breathing, will help to mitigate daily stressors. A holistic approach to stress management is key – so if you’re lost for ideas, find 5 more tips to reduce stress and anxiety here. You’ll be nodding off in no time!