I’m sure if your’e like me, you stress on a regular basis, even about the smallest little things that don’t really need stressing over. For my entire life I have been a perfectionist, a hard-worker, a stress-head, and always setting myself high standards to follow. And let’s just say it has not only taken a toll on my mental health but also my physical health.
So I’m sure you’d like to dive straight into this list of stress-reducing tips and tricks that I have found. But we also need to touch on the ways that stress affect the body. Everyone will feel things differently but these are top signs and risks that our body’s show when we are over-stressed.
HOW STRESS AFFECTS THE BODY
BRAIN – Difficulty concentrating, anxiety, depression, irritability, mood, mind-fog, headaches, anger, lack of energy, insomnia
GUT AND IMMUNE SYSTEM – decreased immune function, lowered immune defenses, lack of nutrient absorption, indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, pain, nausea
SKIN – hair loss, dull and brittle hair or nails, dry skin, acne, delayed tissue repair
OTHER – weight gain, increased inflammation, muscle tightness, decreased hormone production, high blood pressure, higher cholesterol, increased risk of heart attack and stroke
TEN DAILY WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS
- Exercise. We all know that when we exercise our body releases endorphins and these endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body. Whether a yoga or Pilates workout is more for you, or a high-intensity circuit or running is your piece of cake, exercise is good for the body and mind!
2. Look into your diet and eliminate any unhealthy foods that would mess with your hormones such as high-sugary foods, processed foods, fried foods, and for some people gluten and dairy are trigger foods for their body. Focus on eating whole foods, fruits and vegetables, lean meat and healthy fats will help your body find its balance.
3. Take a moment to focus on your breathing. It is proven that controlled, deep breathing lowers blood pressure and prompts release of endorphins to calm the nervous system.
4. Get outside. Being outdoors and viewing nature, along with the fresh air increases serotonin and boosts happiness. And I can say I 100% agree with this. Whenever I’m surrounded in nature, whether at the beach, in the hills, on a walk in the suburb, I feel so so so much better just from being outside!
5. Learn to make lists and prioritize well. In our heads, the amount of things we have going on can seem endless. However, when written down, it can not only be therapeutic to write it down, but also helps us organize what is most important to achieve to what is least. Note how long each task will take, note which are urgent, and this will allow us to go on with our day knowing each task will get done in its time. it is also important to allow for flexibility as well with the amount of tasks we try to achieve daily.
6. Mindfulness meditation helps us come into focus with what is happening right now in the present, rather than worrying about the future which we can’t always control.
7. Writing affirmations and a gratitude journal. Jotting down 3 things you are grateful for everyday reminds you to show more thankfulness and love for these things. Affirmations build us up, the opposite to the self-hate and scrutiny we put ourselves through comparing ourselves to others. Affirmations such as ‘I am worthy’, ‘I am finding my own happiness’, ‘I will not worry about things I can’t control’, ‘today is a gift and I am blessed to be here’, are great for preparing the mind for the day.
8. Catch up with loved one or a friend either in person for a coffee date, or on the phone, or via text. Whatever works for you. Keeping in touch with people and allowing some down-time to talk and express our feelings with our close friends and family can help get the weight off our shoulders so to speak.
9. Watch a funny movie or series. Pick either a new movie or something you always have loved and watch it, without any other distraction of a phone or device.
10. Spend some time with a self-care routine. Spend some time on your skin with a face-mask, or a manicure, or a hair-mask. Allow this time to really relax and enjoy the small steps in the routine. Or simply just take a long hot shower to refresh yourself.
I hope that some of these small tips and tricks that help me reduce my stress also help some of you! Please do share your little tips and tricks that help you as well in the comments down below. I’d love to know.