I am probably not the best role model when it comes to relaxing and not stressing but I do enjoy making an active effort to do things that lower my stress level when I feel overwhelmed and anxious. I am not a naturally calm and chilled person, I get stressed quite easily. Over the years I have done a lot of research on stress and the adverse effects it has on our bodies..it’s actually terrifying how bad stress is for our health. It is definitely a silent killer. Many of us don’t even know our bodies are under stress because often there aren’t physical signs and symptoms. One thing my body does when I am stressed is hold onto belly fat and for years I did not realise this was the cause of the stored fat that I was trying so hard to get rid of! I also get dehydrated because when I stress I forget to drink and even eat certain meals throughout the day.
Number 1: Listen to music.
Music has honestly been one thing that has helped me through so many difficult and stressful times in my life, seriously. I strongly believe music has healing powers! Don’t listen to sad songs when you are stressed and I wouldn’t recommend head banging tunes either. Find something up beat and happy or even soothing and easy to listen to. I love songs that I can dance to that make me smile. Often I listen to my fav song at the time on repeat. It makes me feel calm, happy and stress free, even if it’s for a few minutes.
Number 2: Exercise.
I couldn’t think of a better way to release endorphins in the body and lower stress levels. I don’t care if its going for a run, a walk with a podcast or music, an intense HIIT workout or simply doing yoga. Get up and move your body and get your heart rate up. The more intense the workout the less you will be thinking of whatever it is that is stressing you out!
Number 3: Don’t talk about your stressful day.
Ok, this one sounds a bit weird I know. I don’t mean if you have an extremely stressful day at work that you come home and have to act like you had the most amazing day and don’t tell anyone how you are feeling. I mean you can vent to your friends, partner or family but do not dwell on what has got you down. Stress can take a massive toll on your body and mental health and constantly worrying and thinking about how stressed you feel is going to make you feel so much worse. When I feel stressed about something in my control I deal with it, do what I can and then don’t keep talking about it, especially if you’re stressing about something out of your control. Why keep talking about it? When I get home of an afternoon I rarely talk to Peter about the stressful parts of my day. I tell him all the good things that happened that day and leave the stress at the door before I come inside.
Number 4: Breathe.
Whenever I have felt overly stressed out I make time to consciously focus on my breathing. This can be really hard if you are normally a really busy, fast paced person. Actually stopping and concentrating on your breathing can feel so pointless. But if you look at the science out there it really heaps lower those stress levels and enhances our well being. While you are focusing on your breathing the trick is to think about only your breathing and let go of what you are stressed about. Even if it is only for 2 minutes. It will clear your mind and allow you to have a clearer perspective on what you are stressed about. This takes practice.
Number 5: Evaluate if it’s even worth stressing over.
Stressed about exams? You can only study as much as you can. Stressed about money? You can only earn as much as you can. Stressed about doing a presentation at work? You can only do the best you can. Stressed about a job interview? You can only be yourself.
So many times when people are stressed they are stressed over things way out of their own control. Remind yourself why you are stressed and figure out a way you can help this or realise there is nothing you can do that you aren’t all ready doing. When I stopped, and started thinking about what is it that makes me stress I realised 9 out of 10 times that there is nothing I can actually do to lessen my anxiety so what is the point of all the stress?
That’s a tricky one to explain so I hope you understand!
Well there is my 5 tips for lowering your stress levels to live a happy, healthy life. What strategies do you use to lower your stress levels? Let me know if you do any of these things and if they help you!
Until next time,