Its National Stress Awareness Day, 1st Nov 2017 and my challenge is to write a super quick blog post about easy ways to reduce stress!
We all feel stress, we all feel anxiety, this is not new. We get stuck in behavioural patterns that are unhelpful and we can't quite find the way out of our funk. That is, until we discover the motivation to try something new. A change in approach can alter our mindset for the better and then things begin to feel easier, more natural, less of an uphill battle. What have you done recently to stretch your own personal comfort zone? You may be surprised to find the result could be a reduction in your stress and anxiety levels. Here are my top 5 tried and tested tips to stretch yourself and improve your well being.
1. Breathe! If you're breathing into the top of your lungs and shoulders stop.that.now! Breathing deep and low into your abdomen is where you want to be aiming for. Try it now - just five breathes - how does it feel? Your tummy should be rising and falling and your shoulders should not be involved what so ever. Go on - five more breathes, nice and slow - close your eyes and relax your facial muscles. There, better already.
2. Move! Moderate exercise releases natural 'feel good' endorphins which elevate mood. It is widely recognised that stress, depression and anxiety are all reduced by their presence. Get up and move. Dance to your favorite song, go for a walk or join a team.
3. Touch! Humans need to be touched. Our nervous systems need the sensation of touch. Touch stimulates key receptors in our brain. Touch can help relieve pain, regulate temperature, regulate respiration and importantly, releases the love hormone, Oxytocin. I may be a bit biased, but massage truly is a one stop shop for addressing these needs.
4. Be still! Learn to be still. Try and do absolutely nothing for one minute and you'll soon realise its not as easy as you'd imagine but it is vital for calming our overstimulated selves down. We do to much, see too much, hear to much. Reboot yourself by doing nothing occasionally.
5. Eat and drink well! It is emerging that the link between the gut and the brain is an important one. the old saying 'You are what you eat' could be more true than we ever believed. Aim to eat a fresh, balanced diet and stay hydrated.
There you go, five quick tips to reducing your stress levels for National Stress Awareness Day 2017 written in super quick time so please excuse the poor spelling...don't sweat the small stuff ; )