Did you know that around 74% of people said in a recent study, that they’ve felt so stressed that they’ve been unable to cope?1)Results of the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 study. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/mental-health-statistics/stress-statistics You may not be at that point quite yet, but it’s worth making some simple lifestyle changes to reduce your stress levels before you get there.
The good news is that there are ways you can cut back on feelings of stress each day, from the comfort of your own home. Here are some of the top tips.
Exercise is the number one way to handle stress.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might not fancy rushing out to the gym for a sweat session. However, exercise is an amazing way to get endorphins – and positive feelings – rushing through your body. People who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from anxiety than their counterparts.2)M.H.M. De Moor, et.al. Regular exercise, anxiety, depression and personality: A population-based study. Preventive Medicine, Volume 42, Issue 4, 2006,Pages 273-279
When you exercise – even only a little – you reduce the amount of stress hormones in your body and replace them with handy endorphins, which help to boost your mood.
Exercise can also improve sleep quality, which is often negatively affected by anxiety and stress. When you get enough sleep, you’re more capable of dealing with stressful feelings.
To get the most out of your exercise routine, find an activity you enjoy and mix it in with your schedule – even if it’s just a stretching session each night.
Do you ever get the urge to isolate yourself when you’re stressed or nervous? You’re not alone. However, withdrawing from your social group could make your stress worse. Being part of a group of people who love and care for you will help to get you through tough times.
One study found that spending time with friends helps to release the natural stress reliever – oxytocin. Some professionals even call the socializing response the “tend and befriend” approach, rather than the “fight or flight” that we’re used to with stress.3)Taylor SE, et.al. Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: tend-and-befriend, not fight-or-flight. Psychol Rev. 2000 Jul;107(3):411-29. doi: 10.1037/0033-295x.107.3.411
If you can’t meet with someone face to face, find another way to connect. You can call a friend or loved one to vent some of the things you’re stressed about. Get into a video meeting, or just send someone a text if it helps.
Make Yourself Laugh
Have you ever noticed that it’s difficult to keep focusing on the things that make you feel anxious or stressed when you’re laughing? Laughter is genuinely good for your health, both from a physical and a mental perspective. It helps to relieve tension in your muscles and decreases your stress response.
Over time, regular periods of laughter can improve your mood and help your immune system to work better. According to a study of people suffering with cancer, people who laughed most experienced more stress relief than those who just distracted themselves.4)Bennett MP, Zeller JM, Rosenberg L, McCann J. The effect of mirthful laughter on stress and natural killer cell activity. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Mar-Apr;9(2):38-45. PMID: 12652882.
Read a funny book or talk to a friend who frequently makes you laugh. Being able to laugh about your own mistakes can be very much relieving stress. Even if you’re just giggling at something on TV, let it out.
Practice Self-Care Activities
We could all benefit from investing more time and effort into ourselves. We live in a society where it’s increasingly common for people to prioritize working too much or barely getting any sleep. However, these are the kinds of things that increase your stress.
Sometimes, it’s important to look at your life and ask yourself what you need to feel better. That could mean taking the time that you need for yourself and saying “no” when others ask you for help. It’s not selfish if you have reached your limits – it’s about giving yourself the help you need first.
Good self-care could also mean changing your routine. Go to bed earlier or change your menus so that you’re eating healthier food. Invest time and energy into things that make you feel good – even if it’s just having a long bubble bath.
Try Something New
Finally, sometimes all you need to get rid of stress is a new passion.
With that in mind, why not try something new? Take an art class with a pal and see whether being creative each day could help you to eliminate anxiety.There are plenty of studies that indicate that creative activities can reduce your anxiety levels.
If art isn’t your thing, try learning how to cook. Taking a class that teaches you how to create delicious and nutritious meals is an excellent way to get a new hobby going. When you’re cooking, you’ll be focused on what you’re doing in the kitchen, rather than spending all of your energy worrying about the things that bother you. Plus, learning how to cook could help you to eat healthier too!
Maybe you want to volunteer in a local organization in order to see the satisfaction in the faces of those you have helped. It can be very much rewarding and take away your focus from the worries of everyday life. Plus when you are in touch with people who are much worse off than you, then your struggles do not seem so big after all.
Try one of these effective strategies the next time you’re feeling stressed. Get in the habit of using them regularly and you’ll find greater enjoyment in your daily life. And get the 10 Minute Guide to Stress Management in order to get a clear plan on how you can control your Stress.
Do you need a guide to help you understand how to cope with Stress in an all inclusive approach? Learn how to combat stress, mentally, physically, emotionally and strategically in your life.
Martin Neumann was trained for Lifestyle Interventions in 1998 at Wildwood Lifestyle Center & Hospital. Since then he has lectured in different parts of the world about a healthy lifestyle and natural remedies. He is the founder of the Abundant Health website.
|↑1||Results of the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 study. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/mental-health-statistics/stress-statistics|
|↑2||M.H.M. De Moor, et.al. Regular exercise, anxiety, depression and personality: A population-based study. Preventive Medicine, Volume 42, Issue 4, 2006,Pages 273-279|
|↑3||Taylor SE, et.al. Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: tend-and-befriend, not fight-or-flight. Psychol Rev. 2000 Jul;107(3):411-29. doi: 10.1037/0033-295x.107.3.411|
|↑4||Bennett MP, Zeller JM, Rosenberg L, McCann J. The effect of mirthful laughter on stress and natural killer cell activity. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Mar-Apr;9(2):38-45. PMID: 12652882.|
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