Stress: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
Stress is a ball ache. It can accumulate slowly over time or comes in big doses quickly. Stress not only is stressful in the moment but can have a major impact on long term physical and psychological health.
Despite this, some stress is good, as long as we’re in control and can manage it. Stress is important because it pushes us to do things we’ve not done before, helps us overcome challenges and helps us to grow and find solutions. When stress becomes too much or too overwhelming that’s when it badly affects our mood, mindset, our health (long term stress is linked to the development a number of diseases), our sleep quality, our relationships and maybe most importantly our day to day happiness.
I think that the importance of stress management is massively understated and could definitely be deemed one of the most important factors of health to focus on.
You don’t need to be told that long term stress is bad for you, but doing something about it is harder.
Here are some ideas to give a go. Try them daily.
Release techniques focus on methods to release the build up of emotional strain.
Exercise- Just moving for a set period of time will help, but more intense exercise will likely have better effects. Try going for a 20 minute walk, go for a swim or run, join in on a gym class, or do some bodyweight circuits at home.
Talk- having a good chat with friends or family not only helps to build those relationships but is also a good release.
Relax techniques focus on trying to calm the think brain and the effects the think brain has on the body (increased HR, adrenaline release…)
Mindfulness- this is a personal favourite of mine and can have some massive effects on your mindset and outlook if done regularly. This could simply involve just stopping for a minute or two and focussing on being in that moment- focussing on how you’re feeling emotionally or physically. Or it could be a more structured meditation. I use headspace for this.
Belly breathing-Simply taking big breaths in and out. Inhale slowly for 3-5 seconds and exhale for 3-5 seconds. Focus on your breath and count to 10, repeat for a few mintues.
Bathe yourself- Have a warm relaxing bath with some epsom salts in it- this is a good time to do some reading.
These are some specific ideas to help de-stress the hell out, but to be honest you can do anything that you enjoy which calms and relaxes you.
Try and find things you enjoy that engross you in that activity such as sport, learning, drawing, playing music, play, yoga and so on.
Aim for atleast one of these activities per day but focus on ones you enjoy and can keep doing consistently over time. Give it a go and see if you can improve your mindset and de-stress yourself : )