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8 simple ways to manage stress
We all feel it daily, weekly, or monthly and whether we like it or not, it’s a staple in our lives. Yes, I’m talking about stress. Whether it feels major or minor, stress flows in and out of our bodies on a regular basis and can be caused by a myriad of things. Work, family, relationships, social events and any number of other things, we all feel and react to stress differently. We all know it’s important to manage stress, but how?
Perhaps it all starts from the way we look at a situation, and perhaps focusing too much on the stress itself, rather than the peace we can find around it. Some say “the greatest weapon against our stress is to choose one thought over another”. In other words, if we focus on the stress we are giving it more power. So how do we divert our attention elsewhere?
Here are eight things practical things you can do to divert your attention away from your stress:
Being ‘mindful’ is all about being in the moment and acutely appreciating where you are and what you’re doing. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, but simply closing your eyes and breathing deeply can help combat stress. Exhale and focus simply on where you are in that exact moment.
Meditation and mindfulness are sometimes referred to together – but they are actually different things. Meditation has deep-set cultural and religious roots and is fascinating to learn. It involves specific mantras and people all of the world swear by it. Why not start with having a read of this ancient relaxation technique?
You’ve heard it before – exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy! Whether it’s a quick jog, an exercise class, a bit of yoga or simply walking round the local park, movement of any kind is good for the body.
4. Getting outdoors
Getting a blast of fresh air and walking around the block can be enough to banish some tension and allow you to continue with your tasks. Great quick fix during a busy day.
5. Reading a book or watching your favourite show
Escaping into another world and distracting the mind through words and visuals is another great way to relax. Delving into a fictional story, a show or a book teaching a lesson can be a great way to escape the stresses of day-to-day life.
6. Practice gratitude
Remembering what you’re grateful for is a brilliant way to remind yourself of your purpose and path in life. Try jotting down five things you are grateful for every morning, and see how it boosts your positivity every day.
7. Take some time offline
Turning off your social media channels can give you time to breathe, remember what you need to do and switch off from the buzz of everybody else’s lives. Don’t compare yourself to others, just focus on yourself. Turning off your smartphone can be the best way to do this.
Many people find cooking soothing and therapeutic, so why not give it a go? Think about your favourite meal or snack and set about moving through the process of creating it, mindfully weighing and cooking the ingredients. There are in fact some ingredients which are thought to have stress reducing qualities… why don’t you give some of these a go?
Stress reducing foods
Warm soothing foods
It’s not just about the nutritional content, sometimes it’s just about how the food makes you feel. Having a hot drink, like a herbal tea such as peppermint and chamomile, is known to be very soothing, as well as soups and other warm dishes. Perhaps it’s a hot sweet potato, or a veggie bowl of pasta (wholegrain best), these hug-inducing foods are incredibly good for the soul.
Why not try a recipe from here?
Whole natural foods
Eating whole natural foods is one of the best things you can do to reduce stress, as it eliminates the body’s need to process refined sugar. When we are stressed, our body enters a ‘fight or flight’ mode. Although not so dramatic, our body goes through a similar thing when we consume refined sugar. Our body has a ‘sugar high’ and later, a crash. This is a bit of a rollercoaster, one that we might not even notice but is happening nonetheless. Eating wholesome fruit, veggies, grains, meat and fish and avoiding processed food is a great way to look after your mind and body.
Whole natural foods do not have to be boring – there are some delicious treats, snacks and meals you can create using all natural ingredients.
Take a look here:
All the protein
Protein is important for the body for so many reasons, but it also is important when we are feeling ongoing stress. Topping up on fish, eggs, meat, lentils, and seeds is a good idea if you are under pressure. Pairing them with whole veggies makes the perfect meal.
Take a look below for autumn fruit and veg to pair your protein with! A delicious wholegrain rice stir fry with tofu, chicken or fish is a great example of a quick and easy lunch or dinner.
Watch the caffeine
There’s a reason people turn to caffeine in the morning – the stimulant which causes a energy spike. But what goes up must also come down, and so when you’re stressed, adding this into the mix can cause more harm than good. Try swapping out caffeine for herbal teas.
How are you going to manage your stress?
Remember you can do anything but you can’t do everything. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, stop to take stock and think, does this need my energy? And if it does need my energy, can I control how much power I give it? Sometimes just taking a step back, revaluating and realigning is what we need to gain a little perspective and take our power back.