1 – Deep breathing
When we are nervous or stressed breathing can become shallow and rapid. To find out how you are breathing place one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen and see what the pace is. To rebalance your breathing lengthen your breath, counting slowly to four as you breathe in and to six as you breathe out. Gradually increase this length until you reach seven and nine counts respectively.
You can also try taking micro relaxation breaks – just 5 deep breaths will momentarily switch off stress.
2 – Rediscover your positive side: Smile
Even though it’s annoying when you’re extremely stressed and someone says “smile” they may actually be on to something. Positive thinking and a willingness to accept things outside your control are good ways to reduce tension. Take a step back from difficult situations and look at them objectively. This can sometimes help a solution to a problem come to you or may even let you laugh at the situation. This often makes you feel better as laughing releases stress-reducing endorphins that give you an instant lift.
3 – Exercise
Have you noticed how the world can look much brighter after some exercise? 15 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is another way to release those feel-good endorphins. And it doesn’t have to be running; anything that gets your heart rate up such as walking, yoga, tai chi, stretching or even the housework can count. Keeping active can provide a physical outlet for your frustrations keeps you healthy and makes you feel good about yourself. This in turn can help you handle stress better in the first place.
4 – Choose colours carefully
Colours can have a huge impact on mood, so choose your wardrobe and decor strategically. As a general rule cooler colours tend to be calming, while warmer colours tend to stimulate.
5 – Take time out for yourself
Sometimes dealing with stress is about quieting your mind and re-grouping so you are in a place where you can better cope with what’s required – take 30 minutes to relax in the bath, have a massage or read a magazine with a cup of tea can help do this.
6 – Eat yourself more relaxed
What we put into our bodies has a big impact on how we feel. However, the busier and more stressed we become, the more likely we are to grab processed, sugary foods and drink latte after latte. Below are a few tips for you to try – remember garbage in, garbage out:
– Cut down on caffeine – it’s a stimulant and will make you feel more tense.
– Cut down on processed foods and stock up on fruit & vegetables.
– Try taking a multivitamin that includes vitamins C, B3 and magnesium as stress can reduce the body’s absorption of some nutrients.
– Eat five or six small meals a day to stabilise your blood sugar levels. This will help reduce the stress hormone cortisol and regulate levels of the feel-good hormones – serotonin and dopamine.
– Foods such as cottage cheese, pasta, avocados, bananas and skimmed milk can really calm you down. All are rich in a protein called tryptophan, which the body uses to make serotonin – a sleep and mood enhancer.
– Eat slowly and take the time to chew your food thoroughly – 18% of digestion occurs in the mouth.
7 – Meditate for inner calm
Meditation has been shown to boost the immune system, calm the mind, get rid of negative thoughts and even fight disease. Millions of people swear by it! The whole point of meditation is to still the brain, ignore the thoughts coming into your mind and let them drift out again. The more you practice meditation the quieter your thoughts will become. Set aside five minutes every day when you won’t be interrupted.
8 – Use Rescue Remedy
A blend of 5 of the 38 Bach® Original Flower Remedies, RESCUE Remedy® is perfect for anyone with a “To Do” list. Formulated to help you stress less and keep up with life’s demands. RESCUE® is available in several convenient formats to fit within your busy day. Keep Pastilles handy for the rush of your commute, Drops in your child’s beverage before an exam, or Gum in your purse for that unexpected change in schedule.
RESCUE Remedy® is made up of a five individual flower remedies that help you cope with the different emotional aspects of stressful situations:
– Rock Rose is used for terror and panic
– Impatiens addresses irritation and impatience
– Clematis is for inattentiveness and a lack of focus
– Star of Bethlehem is for shock
– Cherry Plum helps with irrational thoughts and a lack of self-control
Reach for Rescue Remedy® this holiday season to help you get through this stressful and busy time of year.