From dull skin, weight gain, compromised immune systems and anxiety, stress impacts almost every part of our body, reducing our quality of life and productivity.
In an age where stress is almost an epidemic, it’s time to start focusing on how to manage and reduce stress levels instead of just ‘grinning and baring it.’ Use these simple coping strategies to help you stress less, banish busy and adjust your mindset.
1. What’s the worst that can happen?
When we feel panic, anxiety etc we are usually working ourselves up into a mess because we’re focusing on the worst-case scenario. Stop worrying about potential problems that haven’t happened yet, you can prepare for the worst and have a plan, but worrying is just like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain! Because right now, you are ok.
Stress only takes over when you overthink and fret about the future. Don’t worry about things you can’t control in the future. Be present, this moment is the only thing that matters. So let go of that thought, and come back to now. Meditation and yoga are great for training the mind to become more present.
2. Jump in!
Go for a swim; take a bath or a hot shower. Research shows that the warmth and fluidity of the water help to release serotonin (the happy hormone). This helps us to chill out and therefore reduce the stress hormones: cortisol and adrenalin.
Being social, spending time with friends, trying new things and laughter, not only release serotonin but are also proven to reduce levels of the cortisol by nearly 40%!
Cortisol causes food cravings, usually for comfort food or sugar that often leave us feeling worse (on the inside and out) . Not only can the right foods give you the sustained energy you need throughout stressful periods, but they can actually help you become more focused, even, and balanced. Be sure to include foods rich in zinc like nuts, pumpkin seeds and green leaves as low zinc levels have been linked to depression and anxiety and magnesium rich foods like oatmeal, wheat bran and brazil nuts to reduce insomnia and relax muscles.
Let the energies of anxiety, panic and fear move through and out your body. Keeping them in your body causes adrenalin to start pumping in our veins and sitting still only makes it worse. As well as exercising regularly, try to do short stints of incidental exercise throughout your day like taking a short walk in your lunch break or taking the kids to the park after school, anything that just get’s your body moving to burn that nervous energy.
These are just a few simple solutions that can easily and immediately be implemented to help you stress less. Whilst in some cases there are more serious stressors that are so much more than a heavy workload or tight deadline, that just cannot be controlled, you don’t need to make huge changes to your life to reduce their impact on your body, it can be a as simple as adjusting your mindset and keeping it simple!