11 Sep 5 top tips on relieving stress
Stress comes in many shapes and forms, but it is something which affects almost all of us on a daily basis. It can be the consequence of overworking the body and mind, a troublesome life event, or even smaller everyday annoyances such as a crowded commute or an issue at work. And it can manifest itself in a whole number of different ways – affecting our mental and at times physical state. Most of us accept it as a necessary evil which we simply learn to cope with, but why settle? Taking positive action, no matter how small can be beneficial. Here we give you a few ways to relieve everyday stress – strategies to help you take the weight off your shoulders, relax and enjoy life to the full.
Focus on your breathing
The power of breathing is one which many of us fail to unlock to its full potential. Your breath releases stress and instantly calms the body and mind – which is why it is used as the central practice to yogic and meditative practices. Simple slow breaths, inhaling for the count of four and releasing from the mouth in a sigh is an easy way to bring attention to your breath. Once you’ve mastered this technique, you may want to try some more advanced forms. Bhastrika is a great place to start. Also known as bellow-breathing or the breath of fire, it seeks to energise the body by using the mind. This is all about visualization: on the inhale visualise positive energy and vibrations entering the body, and on the exhale imagine that you are removing all of the toxins from your body.
Get a good night’s sleep
We all know that our irritability soars when we haven’t had enough time to rest. Stress in itself causes hyper arousal which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness, it can become a vicious cycle. But it can be broken.
The first step is to take your learnings from practising stress-relieving breathing to your pillow. Ensure that your space is comfortable and the light and temperature are just right for you. After tucking yourself into bed, place your hand on your stomach to become aware of your breath. Take a deep inhale and flutter the lips to relieve stress from the face. Continue taking slow breaths to alert your body to come into a state of rest. With a clear mind and relaxed breathing, you should be all set for a peaceful slumber.
Engage in exercise
Hitting the gym for some may seem like a stress-inducing situation in itself. However, getting your heart racing can clear your head and of course gift you with feel-good endorphins. Exercise can take many forms, so try to find one which you enjoy rather than you feel is a chore. There is a huge variety of different exercise classes and teams out there if you’re not keen on going solo, so start researching and take the leap. If you’re stuck for ideas why not try hot yoga, boxing, pole dancing, or even ultimate frisbee? The possibilities are endless.
Journal your thoughts
A problem shared is a problem halved. For most of us, who experience stress on a daily basis, we may not even think to discuss our problems with others as we do not even recognise their stressful status at all. Simply journaling your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and any key happenings in your life each day or week can be a great way to track your mood and really let out all of your stress. Perhaps it might alert you to a bigger issue which is causing stress, or rationalise something which you may be worried about but needn’t be. This will also allow you to see your progress in tackling your stress along the way – showing you how your conscious actions are making a difference.
Finally, straight to the source of many of our modern day stresses: social media. Many of us have unlimited access to all forms of social media in the palms of our hands 24/7. It’s definitely wise to step away from the online world every now and then. Your digital detox can be as literal as you feel you need. It might be turning your phone to aeroplane mode an hour before bed, taking a full day ‘offline’ or disconnecting yourself from social media completely. Of course, the digital oriented lives we lead has its merits, but just a small break from overwhelming amounts of connectivity can be undeniably beneficial for the mind, body and soul – another thing to stress less about.
So there you have it, 5 top tips you can try today to reduce your stress. If you’d like to learn more about stress relieving and learning how to navigate the road to contentment and take a look at The Art of Living’s Happiness Program.