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How to use simple techniques to reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of life.
Stress is something we all experience for one reason or another – and that in itself is nothing to feel bad about. Stress is just your body’s way of coping with a perceived threat, whatever that may be. And our busy, modern lifestyles can present us with lots of situations that might make us feel threatened. It’s also important to remember that a certain amount of stress actually makes us get up off the sofa and do things, so not all stress is bad.
And, as difficult as it may sound, it’s important not to worry about getting stressed, as that can make the situation worse! However, if you’re finding that being stressed is starting to feel like the norm, it may be time to focus on how to feel calmer and more peaceful day to day.
The great news is that there are a number of simple, natural stress busters that you can turn to, that will help you to achieve a calmer, clearer state of mind.
1. Breathe deeply. This piece of advice is probably the most powerful technique you can use. Find ten minutes in the day and go somewhere quiet, where you’re unlikely to be disturbed and really focus on breathing deeply. Treat this time as sacred “you” time and allow yourself to focus entirely on your breathing. This in itself is a form of mindful meditation (there are other types of meditation that you may also find helpful.) If you sometimes have trouble catching your breath or experience panic attacks as a result of stress, then have a look at the NHS’s website to find out how you can combat this.
2. Exercise. By now we are all aware of the benefits that exercise has on our physical health, but we are also starting to learn that it can be just as important for our mental health as well. When you exercise your body releases endorphins, a type of hormone that can make you feel happier, more energetic and clear-headed. For a look at the science behind why exercising is so good for our state of mind, have a read here. Yoga is a great way of combining exercise and breathing techniques for a peaceful mind. Have a look at the best yoga poses for de-stressing.
3. Start a hobby – or pick up an old one. Is there something that you’ve always wanted to try? Maybe salsa dancing, painting or learning a new language? Taking some time out to do something that’s fun – just for its own sake – can do wonders to improve your mood and get you enjoying life again. There might be something that you used to do in the past that made you happy, but you’ve just let it slip a little recently – pick it up again and see whether this makes a difference to how you feel. Art is specifically linked to reducing stress, so see whether doing something artistic and creative soothes your mind.
4. Put your feelings into words. If you know that there is something specific that is the root cause of your stress and you want to work on making it better, this is such an important step. There are two ways you can do this. Either start to write down how you feel or speak to someone about it. Research has shown that writing is a very effective way of expressing your feelings and some may find it easier than speaking to someone. However, if there is someone you could talk to that has dealt with the same stressful situation that you are in now, then even better. You may feel that the stress in your life is starting to become more than you can manage and if this is the case then remember that the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day to talk to anyone about their issues.
5. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Sleep is so important to all aspects of our lives. Whatever you’re dealing with at the moment, having a good night’s sleep can transform how you feel throughout the day and how well you deal with situations. Of course, sometimes you can find that you are not able to get a good night’s sleep due to your stress. The good news is that if you follow the above advice (particularly the tips about breathing and exercise) you will find that your sleep should also improve. So you will get out of a negative cycle and begin a positive one instead. For advice just about getting a good night’s sleep have a look at our article.
If you’d like someone to speak to, we can help. Just choose one of the ‘contact us’ options at the side of this page and we’ll happily chat through any of your concerns with you. Or you can find out your true financial position by filling in your details and getting a personalised debt report. Once you know the true picture, you can start doing something about it.
by Christine WalshBack to blog home