- September 25, 2018
- Posted by: Stephen Coleclough
- Category: Stress
A recent study found that three in four Britons have felt overwhelmed by stress in the past 12 months.
This means that majority of British citizens have encountered dangerous levels of stress that have impacted their daily life.
The effects of stress are much more damaging than most people realise.
Stress is a major risk factor for mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
It is crucial to take action to reduce any stress that you are experiencing.
Fortunately, there are many everyday tactics that have been proven to reduce stress.
This guide will share the 5 best.
#1 — Exercise everyday
When you exercise, the brain releases neurotransmitters called endorphins.
Endorphins are designed to have an analgesic effect on the body — numbing any pain you are experiencing while exercising.
This is a pleasurable sensation that helps to reduce feelings of stress.
Exercise can also put you into a meditative state that is capable of lowering stress levels.
This meditative state is attained by focussing on the sensations of your body while exercising.
Instead of thinking about an upcoming stressful event, you will be focusing on your breathing or how your muscles are feeling.
As you draw your attention away from any repetitive negative thoughts that are causing your stress, you will feel calm and relaxed.
The final way that exercise relieves stress is by improving your mood.
After you exercise, you will feel relaxed, confident, and happy.
You will enjoy a reprieve from feelings of anger, anxiety, and agitation that are commonly associated with stress.
In addition to reducing your stress levels, exercise will reduce fatigue levels, enhance overall cognitive function, improve alertness and concentration, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
On top of all of that — you will look fitter and be more attractive to potential or current romantic partners.
#2 — Practice mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness is a powerful, yet simple technique that can be used to relieve stress.
In simple terms, mindfulness involves focusing all of your attention on the present moment.
Instead of ruminating about past or future events, your mind will focus on whatever is happening now, be it meditating, eating, or listening to music.
Mindfulness meditation is perhaps the best way to harness mindfulness for stress reduction.
It gives your mind a chance to be free of stressful thoughts and is mentally invigorating.
Other stress-busting benefits obtained through mindfulness practices include:
Becoming more aware of your thoughts
Mindfulness can help you process the random thoughts that pop into your head.
It will make it easier to remain calm when stress-inducing thoughts appear out of nowhere.
Reduces activity in the amygdala
Researchers have discovered that mindfulness practices reduce activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala.
This portion of the brain is responsible for emotions and motivation.
Less emotionally reactive to stressful situations
Stressed people are often more likely to be emotionally reactive when faced with another stressful situation.
Mindfulness helps by encouraging your mind to process events rationality instead of immediately reacting with emotion.
You will find it easier to solve problems and events will become less stressful.
More aware of the emotional of others
Mindfulness practices can improve your emotional intelligence and compassion for others.
As a result, your relationships will improve which can potentially relieve some stress you are experiencing.
#3 — Get more sleep
Many people experiencing high levels of stress will struggle to get to sleep.
This occurs because the body’s stress response involves the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which keep you alert and wide awake.
It is also common for stressed people to stay awake at night, ruminating about their perceived problems.
Unfortunately, failing to get enough sleep makes it difficult for the body to reduce its stress hormone levels.
This leads to a vicious cycle where the more stress you experience, the less likely you are to get enough sleep and the less likely you are to lower the level of stress hormones in your body.
Use techniques that improve the quality of your sleep including:
- Meditating before bed
- Using breathing exercises while in bed
- Not using electronic devices within two hours before your bedtime
- Making your bedroom sleep-friendly (quiet, dark, and a comfortable temperature)
- Allotting more time for sleep
- Exercising daily to encourage sleep
- Purchasing very comfortable mattress and linens
- Avoiding stimulants like caffeine
#4 — Eat well and avoid stimulants
Scientists have discovered that a healthy diet can be used to reduce stress levels.
The focus should be on reducing the level of processed foods you eat and adding more whole foods in their place.
Some of the stress-busting foods to add to your diet include:
Fruits and vegetables
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will ensure that your body has the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants necessary to remain healthy.
Some of the best fruits and vegetables for beating stress include green leafy vegetables, oranges, avocados, yoghurt, salmon, blueberries, pistachios, almonds, dark chocolate, and turkey.
High fibre carbohydrates
Carbohydrates provide the body with energy and increase serotonin levels (a hormone which can make you feel more relaxed).
Try steamed sweet potatoes, oatmeal, baked beans on wholemeal bread, steamed vegetables on brown rice.
There are also some foods you should avoid, including:
Drinks containing caffeine
Caffeinated beverages will make it more difficult to get sleep and can exacerbate stress levels.
Get rid of coffee, black tea, and colas from your diet.
Replace these beverages with water and green tea.
Sugary foods and drinks
Eating foods high in sugar results in a large amount of glucose entering the bloodstream in a short amount of time.
This provides your body with a massive burst of energy that is followed by a crash where you may feel exhausted.
This rollercoaster of energy levels can increase your stress levels substantially, so sugar should be avoided as much as possible.
Foods high in saturated fats
Scientists have discovered that foods high in saturated fats can increase stress levels.
#5 — Savour the simple pleasures in life
Having high levels of stress can sometimes obscure the many pleasurable activities available to us.
Set aside some time for re-discovering the activities that you used to love and look for new activities that might be enjoyable.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Take a walk in the park
- Start riding a bicycle on the weekends
- Go to the beach
- Join a book club and meet some new people
- Reconnect with an old friend
- Get a massage
- Bake a cake
- Treat yourself to a meal at a nice restaurant
- Listen to some music while laying on the couch
Thanks for reading 5 Everyday Things You Can Do To Reduce Stress.
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