Stress is something that the majority of us experience at some point or other. With our demanding lifestyles and busy schedules it can often be hard to find ways to relax. Common symptoms of stress include mood swings, insomnia and overeating which can all contribute to the problem and make it worse. Here are some simple ways to reduce the effects of stress and help you to live a more relaxed and stress-free life.
Diet and Exercise
Regular exercise and healthy eating are proven methods for boosting your mood. Even small changes such as taking a short walk, eating fruit and vegetables and drinking more water will make a noticeable improvement. Try getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, snack on fruit and add vegetables to each meal. Cut down on caffeine and fizzy drinks and aim to drink two litres of water or herbal tea each day.
Stress often makes it hard to sleep and causes tiredness and low energy levels. Having a hot bath with aromatherapy oils followed by a gentle stretching routine before bed can encourage relaxation and aid sleep. Cut down on caffeinated drinks and replace them with warm milk and chamomile tea which are renowned for their sleep-inducing abilities. Be sure to avoid eating three hours before bed to allow your digestive system to settle and prevent it from disrupting your sleep.
Bottling up emotions can often seem like the easiest option, however doing this leaves issues unresolved and causes stress levels to increase. Phone a friend for a chat or arrange to meet up for a coffee where you can vent and share advice. If you would rather speak to someone professional find a councillor or support group in your area, or see if the issue is something your doctor can help with. Simply talking to someone can make you feel happier, even if a solution is not achieved straight away
Focus on the positives
Trying to remain positive and push the negative thoughts aside can seem impossible when you’re stressed. However focusing on a future event, such as a holiday, or something that makes you happy can lift your mood and help you to combat your troubles. Plan a treat for yourself at the weekend, such as going for a nice walk, buying something new or taking time out to read a book with a cup of tea. Arrange to see friends or family who make you happy and try to do something little that makes you smile every day.
Meditation techniques such as deep breathing, rhythmic exercise and yoga have been proven to activate the body’s natural relaxation response and boost both your energy and mood. Try a calming yoga sequence from one of the many videos available online, or look for class in your area. Simply spending 15 minutes each day being alone, still and focusing on your breathing will re-charge your batteries and lift your mood, leaving you feeling calm, composed and stress-free.
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