Whether you have an exam coming up and you have to study or you are looking for a job and you are worried about money or maybe you have a job but its super stressful? These things and many other factors can be source of stress in your life. It’s not a secret, we all know stress is not always good and elevate, prolong stress can cause physiological changes and mental health issues. Anything from your skin condition, lack of concentration to sleep disturbances, depression or/and anxiety.
So we all know it is not good to be stressed, but do we know how to cope with it or how to reduce it?
Maybe we do, or we think we do. I guess a glass of red wine or few beers can be relaxing, but it’s probably not the best coping mechanism long term. So here are some suggestions and helpful tools you can use to manage your stress in a better way.
Physical Activity / Excercise
When you are stress your brain will handle it for a while and then it gets ‘tired’ of you not looking after yourself so it sends signals to your body. You know those tense shoulders or the back pain that suddenly appeared and you have no idea where from? Yup that’s your brain saying enough is enough. You may also be aware of feelings of anxiety that come along and the wired mind that just doesn’t want to stop? And lastly those nights where you keep waking up or even worse when you just can’t fall sleep? Awful right?!
Therefore, indulge in a little physical activity; it’s like a natural antidepressant. Do it DAILY though and you will see the improvement immediately.
Maybe go for a walk or a jog or anything that will get your body moving. Put your favourite tunes on if you’d like and dance- dance like no one’s watching ;), shake and wiggle!
This will help to decrease muscle tension and release nice hormones in your brain- those happy ones :). The anxiety should also decrease as all the accumulated energy is now being released so your body doesn’t need to keep holding into it. You will notice your sleep improving too– I say it’s a win win – so try to do it every day!
Connect To Nature
Being constantly in the city can only add to your stress levels. Never stopping hassle and bustle is not good for anyone. Nature on the other hand is very healing, just sitting on the grass or going for a walk in the park while being aware of all the smells that nature has to offer. Go for a bush walk (Australian for ‘forest’ hehe) and hug a tree- yes you heard me right- HUG a tree, its solid energy will ground you in no time. And if you are too weird out by hugging it or worried about ants attract (yup can happen), just put your hands on the bark and let the magic begin :). If you are not a fan of that type of scenery, take a day trip to the beach and allow the waves to sooth your soul, take a dip in salty water and wash off all the stress-hmmm I just found my mind drifting away to one of those places… aahhh
Plan Ahead and Take Breaks
I know we all have the tendency to push even more when we are stressed, but it has been shown in several research that we are much more productive if we allow a break. So studying for an exam? Instead of having another coffee- have a break (not too long obviously). Eat something, chocolate is sooooo good when you are studying, and remember your brain is using a lot of glucose when you are straining it so much, so eat and eat well. Healthy food though, so stay away from fast food- not good for ya!
Moreover, PLAN- do your study plan. Divide study material into sections- its much easier to concur one or two sections of study rather than ALL of it at one go- works wonders, get me through every exam at uni.
Give a go to Relaxation Techniques
Firstly BREATH… breathing is such a basic thing, but when was it last time you were actually aware of your breath? Take a moment and think about it, it just happens, but for a change- NOTICE that it happens.
Very popular technique at the moment is MINDFULNESS, it simply means awareness and being at the present moment. So try it out. Bring your attention to your breath and observe how it travels. When you are stressed your breathing is most likely short and fast and very much in your chest. So now that you are aware of your breath, extend it- make it longer. Gently breathe in through your nose… BUT… start the breath from below your belly bottom and slowly move it upwards. SLOOOWLLY and Gently. Take a sit while you do it, you might find it easier. It should take at least 6-8 seconds for your breath to reach your chest- don’t stop there though, take your breath a little higher… to your throat and then to your jar and temples and the top of your head. Go it? Awesome!
Now bring you breath back down the same way, but breath out through your mouth – slowly and gently, as if you were blowing on the kitchen’s ear/hair (aww just imagine- melting!!) Notice the breath going through every part of your body while it travels down. When it reaches the belly, breath out a little more, brining your belly bottom towards your spine and allow the breath to travel down your legs and your feet, as if you were blowing out the candle. Take at least 3-5 those deep breaths and it will put your whole body and mind in more peaceful state….can you feel the tingly sensation in your feet while the stress leaves your body ….hmmm
One of my yoga teachers said – “you can go through anything in life with your breath” and I tell you, I used it so many times for example before the job interview or before any exam at uni, and it works every single time.
Once you gasp that technique, try to be mindful of your breath all the time, make it slower and longer to bring more harmony into your life 🙂 And try to be MINDFUL of everything you do and everything you think of. You see before any emotion arises the thought arises, however, we are often not aware of our thoughts. And our thoughts are very powerful; if they are negative, they will cause negative emotions.
***If you want find out more about mindfulness, good place to start:
Another Relaxation Technique is to try YOGA, there are many free videos on YouTube that you can do. Just remember yoga is not a challenge, and when you do it, focus on your breath and stay with your breath, allow your mind to connect to your body- a beautiful flow.
If you prefer to lie down and not do much, you can always try other free things from YouTube or download free APPs such as GUIDED MEDITATION or HYPNOSIS. Listen (with headphones) to few to make sure you like someone’s voice and the music, make sure you feel comfortable with it and if you find yourself falling asleep- just go with it, your subconscious mind will still absorb everything- smart little thing 🙂
Lastly BE KIND to yourself, as much as we would love to be superheros we are not. To feel things makes us human, emotions are like MESSAGES to us, we just have the tendency not to listen. So the more you fight your emotions rather than ACCEPT it for what it is, the longer they will hang around. So if you ever stuck on feeling negative emotions, worry not, emotions/feelings are not stable and will not last, they change all the time. Remember when you were happy and later in a day maybe you had bad news and were sad, then you met your friend and you felt better- you got me?- it changes all the time. But, it is up to YOU to take charge and do something towards a healthier life, so do not wait, start today!
Love and Light