Stress can creep up on us – or hit us like a freight train unexpectedly. How we deal with our very human reaction to pressure and tension is what makes the difference to our quality of life. Often being short of time means we let the stress build and grow, but there are very quick and easy ways to nip it in the bud before it overwhelms us.
The best way of ridding yourself of stress is of course to eliminate the problem, but that’s sometimes not possible. But you can work on the symptoms which will help your body relax and cope more easily. If you can work out where you are holding the tension as a result of the stress you can work on releasing it. Lie on the floor and relax as much as you can. Mentally work your way up your body from your toes to the top of your head. Ask yourself how relaxed each part of your body is and try and relax it around 20% further. You may be surprised where your tension lies, sometimes our headaches are more a result of the tension in our shoulders or jaw than our heads. You may also notice your hands and lower arms are tight. Simply carrying out this mindful self-examination can make a massive difference to your overall stress.
More: How to reduce stress in your life
When we are stressed, our breaths shorten and the chest tightens as a result of the ‘fight or flight’ reaction but we often don’t realise we’re holding our breath – which in turn increases our heart rate. This circle perpetuates the feelings of anxiety. So break it!
Simply focus on deep breathing, if you aren’t sure how just slowly take a breath in through your nose to the count of five, hold for a couple seconds then release for the count of six. The best thing about this technique is it is totally portable, you can do it anywhere allowing you to take control even when you feel you have none. Repeat five times and you should feel a noticeable difference, continue for another five if you need to. This technique helps ‘wake our brains up’ to the way we were formally breathing and prompts it to change.
One of the quickest ways to help reduce stress is to stimulate one or more of your senses. For example, through movement you can stimulate your touch – but also feeling different textures. Listen to music which takes you to a happy place, uplifts you or just makes you want to let loose and dance! Bite into a crisp apple for a touch and taste combo or suck an ice cube and then crunch it up!
The most important thing to remember is to be mindful about your action, so really look at what you are doing, think about the colours, consider the textures, listen to the sound you action makes. Lose yourself in this moment. It’s much underrated but our sense of smell can change our mindset in an instant. Use a perfume which reminds you of happy times, take in the scent of a flower in the garden or use essential oils which help the brain and body relax, such as lavender, rose, ylang ylang or cedarwood. Place a few drops on a tissue and inhale deeply for three breaths to feel a change in your mood and outlook.
It’s not shameful to feel overwhelmed, anxious or worried. When feeling of stress creep up on us we can all too quickly feel it’s a sign we are failing when this is not the case at all. Feeling overwhelmed is both human and normal.
Social interaction is one of the best ways of regulating your nervous system and has grown up through evolution to be an effective way of making you feel better fast. Voicing our fears can make them seem smaller. Talking with a trusted friend happy to listen can help us see the answers to our problems or play our possible scenarios to find the answer we are looking for. Even if you don’t have a mate close to hand that you can speak to face-to-face, message or even just text knowing you have a network of friends you can rely on, who have got your back and can see the world from your viewpoint is incredibly important. So when life gets busy, make time for your friends as they all come with benefits!
Read on: How making lists can help you control your stress
When we are stressed we can make poor choices about our diet either because we have no time to eat sensibly or because our primitive brain craves high sugar and fat foods. But did you know that feelings of stress can be increased when we are suffering from poor nutrition? And that some vitamins and minerals can not only help eliminate some of the feelings of stress but also a deficiency can create some of the stress we may feel?
This is why being sure you take your Lumity capsules in the morning and evening is so important. They contain magnesium, a natural muscle relaxer which can also help reduce feelings of fear and restrict the release of stress hormones. Also zinc, essential for good mental health and managing stress. The vitamin C in Lumity also helps suppress the formation of stress hormone cortisol. So make sure you include Lumity part of your daily routine to help protect yourself against stress.