As our lives become more connected to our jobs, socials and daily activities, it can be hard to switch off. And, while many of us enjoy life's lively bustle, one common symptom of being so non-stop is an increase in stress and anxiety. To help combat this we've compiled a list of eight seriously handy tips to help manage stress-related symptoms so you can get back to living your most productive life!
As cliché as it might seem, meditation does the world of good for those with over-thinking minds! Defined; meditation is the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed. Simple meditation often requires you to focus on your breath, which helps distract the brain from superficial thinking, resulting in the minimizing of stress-induced symptoms.
Exercise is one of the most commonly known combatants to stress.
It helps the body release endorphins (known as natural pain killers), lowers cortisol (the stress hormone), works as a physical outlet and helps to increase confidence. Exercise is also linked to improving sleep, which when deprived, can cause stress and anxiety.
3. Designate Switch-Off Times
Switching off can seem impossible as much of our daily lives are so heavily interconnected to our phones. Rather than stopping work, or taking a break from our social commitments, we’re receiving emails and notifications at all hours of the day. This makes it difficult to disconnect from any of the external dramas that cause stress. We like to suggest allocating up to two hours a day of 'digital free-time'. This is best achieved around dinnertime or early in the morning when you're with family and friends.
4. Spend Time With Your Pet
It’s no secret that hanging out with our pets makes us feel less stressed! Recent studies have shown that hanging out with our favourite furry friend can also be linked to the extended development of oxytocin, otherwise known as the love hormone! How cute!
5. Practise Deep Breathing
Similar to the art of meditation, simple deep breathing has been known to lower cortisol levels (stress) in the brain. This is achieved by distracting the brain from those nasty thoughts that cause stress in the first place. Physically, deep breathing also forces you to stop and slow down which is something many of us forget to do as we juggle our busy lives!
6. Take Supplements
Along with the right diet and exercise, finding supplements with naturally calming ingredients can be a simple way to help combat stress. We suggest looking for ingredients like:
Peppermint: Due to its refreshing nature, products from the mint family have been linked to reducing the feelings of stress.
Ashwagandha: An ancient Indian herb, Ashwagandha is considered an ‘adaptogen,:’ which means that it can help manage stress levels in the body, this is achieved by lowering blood sugar levels, minimizing cortisol and boosting brain function.
Valerian: A native European and Asian herb, Valerian is used frequently in herbal teas to assist in improving sleep. This relates to improving stress levels as lack of sleep can be seen as a cause of stress.
Rhodiola Rosea: Known as the golden root, Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to improve cognitive function in the brain and enhance the brain’s ability to cope with heightened levels of stress.
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7. Journal It Out!
Another way to relieve stress and anxiety is to write it down! A study by Michigan State University suggests, “Journaling can be a great stress reducer as it helps organize one’s thoughts, clear one’s mind and facilitate in problem-solving.” Writing problems down on a piece of paper and then throwing them away can also work as a therapeutic way to help overcome them.
8. Talk About It
Much like journaling, sharing thoughts and concerns with one or more people can help problem solve stress-causing situations, give new perspectives on an issue, and provide light on how to manage problems that others around you may have already worked through!
Stress appears differently to each individual, but we hope by providing you with a few self-care tips, you can begin to better manage the symptoms and improve your overall life balance.