In my last blog I wrote about the effects of stress on the body. In this blog I want to give you some top tips to help deal with stress.
Often when stressed, we feel we don’t have enough time. So the last thing I want to do is suggest an overly complicated system. Instead I am sharing some easily to implement tips that you can do on a day-to-day basis for instead feel good effect.
Get more of it! Make it a priority. You will cope with everything better. You can read more about my thoughts on sleep here.
Exercise is known to improve mood, reduce stress and help with over all wellbeing. This is because exercise produces endorphins – feel good chemicals – in the brain. However, the benefit of exercise is two-fold. Exercise allows us to be mindful too. When we are exercising, we are often focused solely on the task at hand and not thinking about our worries. So walk instead of drive on those short journeys, take the stairs, attend a class if you can or follow a YouTube video – just get moving your body. And schedule it into your diary – that way you will be committed.
When we are stressed we are more likely to make poor food choices. We will reach for the high fat, high sugar, high stimulant comfort food and drinks. These choices will increase cortisol, the stress hormone, even further. This will show up as weight around the middle, cause spikes in your blood sugar levels and will do nothing to help your mood. Instead choose nutrient dense foods. Eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, good quality protein and good fats. Foods that are rich in Vitamin B and in Magnesium have a calming effect on your nervous system. Adaptogens, herbs that help with the regulation of cortisol, are also worth considering. My top two recommendations: ashwaganda and Rhodiola both of which are found in Neal’s Yard Cocoa Rebalance Blend.
Of all the senses, smell has the greatest connection with the mind and emotions. This is because when we breathe in an aroma, the mixture of smells cross the blood brain barrier and access the limbic system – the emotional switchboard of the brain. Think about how the smell of freshly cut grass instantly takes you back to long summer days of your childhood. Right? The easiest way to use aromatherapy is to get yourself a diffuser and burn essential oils. Neal’s Yard De-Stress Oil is a great blend to start with.
You might be thinking I don’t have time to write a journal; believe me I don’t either but I do it. I spend 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening on my journal. I use mine to help me set my intentions for the day and to jot down things I am grateful for. Other people find it beneficial to spend more time writing about how they are feeling and identifying triggers for those feelings. How ever you use a journal, making time to sit and write with pen and paper, is an opportunity to unplug and recharge and act mindfully.
Mindfulness helps reduce stress by allowing us to become more aware of our thoughts and by being aware of our thoughts, we become less reactive and more able to observe without judgement. The beauty of practising mindfulness is that it builds an inner resilience so that future stresses have less of an impact on our emotional and physical well-being. Yoga and meditation are the best ways I find to develop my mindfulness.
I hope you have found a few useful ideas here. If you would like to talk more about any of the above or problems you may be having with stress, why not book a free 15-minute consultation.