About stress management tips
Stress management tips can help you to build an 8 Step Anti Stress Plan
1 – Wake UP, Notice and Breathe
Wake up to the fact that you need to take time to destress and you need to do it now. Slow down for a moment and take notice of how you are really feeling and importantly how you are breathing. Are you just using the top 3rd of our lungs? Oxygen is free and good for you, make sure you get your fair share. Start with 3 long deep breaths, feel your abdomen rise as you breathe in and fall back as you breathe out. This evokes the relaxation response in the body, a healthier calmer state of body and mind, a state in which it is easier to respond to challenges and difficult situations.
Watch out for Signs of Stress,
- if you often feel anxious and nervous,
- if you are feeling tired and run down,
- if you aren’t sleeping well
- if you find it hard to concentrate,
- if you suffer from regular headaches,
- if you pick up regular coughs colds and infections
- if you no longer enjoy doing things you used to enjoy,
- if you feel overwhelmed or exhausted,
- if you feel you can’t cope anymore
- if you ‘fly off the handle’ and get upset easily
2 – Discover
Become more aware of the physical effects of stress on your body – racing heart rate, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, butterflies in the stomach, shaky voice. Then discover the anti stress techniques that work for you – learn what your personal stress relievers are.
- Manage your time better by learning to say no, SLOW DOWN and take time for you
- Exercise, whether it’s going to the gym, taking up a sport, walking briskly, exercise has been proven to relieve stress, improve cognitive function and has been proven to be at least as effective as anti depressants in relieving depression in many cases (article Huffingtonpost.com)
- Notice tension in your body, book a massage
- Become more aware of and challenge your negative thoughts,
- Try and see the good in situations and the people around you
- Take a walk in nature and focus on your surroundings
- Do more of what you love doing
3 – Take small steps
Changing habits take time it is a process and requires practice – small steps are best – set yourself up for success.
- If you are starting at the gym don’t over do it or those good intentions will wear off quickly
- Don’t launch into meditation for an hour at a time, start with a few minutes and increase each week
- Don’t change too many things at once some habits are hard to change and need focus,
- Reward yourself for small achievements
4 – Fire your ‘Inner Critic’
Changing habits can be hard work – be kind to yourself – don’t beat yourself up after all you are only human and humans are far from perfect. If you are constantly putting yourself down telling yourself you are not good enough you need to change the tape. Give your inner critic a kinder voice and talk to yourself as you would a friend to in difficulty.No only will this feel better it does good things to your brain.
5 – Awareness
Become more aware of the content of your mind – learn mindfulness techniques and use them.Most of the time we on automatic pilot being driven by our thoughts, our ‘to do’ lists and our inbox. Being more aware of what’s actually going on is an essential part of reducing stress and making better choices. Mindfulness practice involves focussing your attention on the present moment and has been around since the time of the Buddha. Science now backs up the benefits of this ancient practice. It is simple and easy to learn the challenge is calm the ‘monkeys of the mind’ by practicing focusing your attention on whats happening NOW.
- Mindful eating – Taking more time over at least one meal a week, just eat no other distractions, smell the food, taste it, savour it, enjoy it!
- Mindful walking – aware of each step you take, feel the sole of your foot and notice your immediate surroundings
- Mindful breathing – take a few moments a few times a day to check in with your breathing, and take 3 deep breaths focussing only on the in flow and outflow of breath into the body and how it feels
- Mindful listening – have at least one conversation each with your partner, child or work colleague where you are really listening – no phone checking – not planning what you are going to say next before they finish their sentence, and don’t finish it for them, be present and attentive
- Checking in with what you are currently thinking about is it constructive or destructive, dump the destructive thoughts by moving your attention and distracting yourself. This will get easier when you practice mindfulness. We have more than 40,000 thoughts a day and most of them tend to be negative so plenty to work on!
- Being on task – if you are involved in a task give it your full attention its called being in FLOW and is very beneficial for your brain.
6 – Acceptance
This is can be tough but is very effective and makes you much less stressed – if you can’t change it don’t worry about it and ask yourself – what needs to be done?
If you are often wishing things are different than they are, arguing with reality then you are adding unnecessary stress to your life. It is what it is! Once you have accepted the reality of ‘what is’ you can turn your attention to what you can do about it. If the answer is ‘nothing’ don’t waste anymore time or energy on it. If the answer is ‘something’ then do it.
7 – Count Your Blessings
Feeling grateful for the little things in your life is simple and free and scientifically proven to be very beneficial to mental health. Spend a little time at the beginning or end of each day focussing your attention on what you feel grateful for. Keep a diary or record it in your phone. Then when stuff happens you have a record that proves that not everything in your life is bad. It’s all about what you focus your attention on it re-wires your brain for the good.
8 – Action
Make the changes – make a plan to destress, lighten up, let go and have more fun – do it every day[PDF with links to our destress products]