Whatever job you do, whatever your personal circumstances, absolutely anyone can suffer from stress. Stress is caused by our body’s natural fight or flight mechanism and, in modern day life when that kicks, we suppress it. Back in the days when we lived in caves, if we were face by a ferocious animal, our body will begin pumping adrenaline into our system and increasing the rate of our metabolism, in preparation to either hit the beast on the head with our club, or get the hell out of there. Now, though, when we perceive danger, for example, of losing our job, we don’t usually hit the boss and we don’t run away, we bottle it all in. Too much stress can be dangerous, both mentally and physically, so here are ten simple steps you can take to reduce the effects of stress.
1. Try and get more sleep
Easier said than done, when you are lying awake at nights stressing over something, but a lack of sleep will only make matters worse. On the other hand, too much sleep, and you can become depressed and feel sluggish. You need to find the right balance, so try and get into a good routine of sleep and aim for around eight hours of sleep every night. Don’t sleep in on weekends either because that just puts your body out of its routine again.
2. Eat properly
The amount of stress that you experience, and your diet, are very closely linked. The problem is that, when we are under pressure that is often the very time that we stop eating properly. This isn’t the post to be going into a health and fitness spiel, you know what you should be eating, just try and make sure you eat proper meals, even when you are feeling the pressure.
3. Don’t use alcohol to relieve stress
Alcohol only provides temporary relief from stress, but when the effects wear off, the stress will only come back again, but ten times worse. Trust me on this one, I know! Also, if you drink too much, you make mistakes or rash decisions that will only make matters worse for you.
4. Have a laugh
Laughter has an amazing effect on the body, it releases endorphins into your blood stream that have the effect of calming you and making feel at ease. Put your problems to one side for an hour and put some comedy classics on the TV for a while and, later, you will be able to tackle the serious issues at hand more easily.
5. Take deep breaths
Take deep and slow breaths and this too will calm you down. It sounds like a cliché, but focusing on your breathing really can help to relieve stress. When things are getting to you, take five minutes out, sit on a chair, and concentrate on your breathing. Deep breathing puts more oxygen into your blood which improves brain function and clears the mind.
6. Take a brisk walk
A ten minute, brisk walk, will also help you to get your head straight. The fresh air and exercise will do you good, just like your mum used to tell you. Getting your body moving will let the blood flow more freely and exercise also release those endorphins we were talking about, which are the hormone that make you feel good.
7. Put some music on
Listening to music has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, it’s just a myth! If you take a break and listen to some soothing music, it can lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels in your body, which is the hormone that is linked to stress.
8. Talk to someone
Sometimes, you can get so tied up with problems; you simply can’t see the wood for the trees. Talking your problems out with a trusted friend or a family member can help put things back into perspective and let you see things more clearly.
9. Have a cup of tea.
Yes, the British solution to every problem; a cup of tea. A cup of tea is far better for you than a cup of coffee when you’re stressed out and green tea is even better than black. Green tea contains an amino acid called theanine, which is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system.
10. Get yourself organised
If you feel like you’re running around like the proverbial headless chicken, then get organised and prioritise. Get your workspace clean and tidy and make a tod do list. Even if you don’t think you have time to do this, do it! Once you’ve got your priorities sorted out, you will feel much calmer and then you will be able to get things cleared up quicker and more efficiently too.
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