Three ways to slash stress
Pressures of modern life can creep up on us, leaving us prone to stress in both our professional and personal lives. So many of us are pulled in different directions - between work, family, study, relationships or personal responsibilities, it’s common to feel overwhelmed, exhausted and worn down.
While managing stress will usually take some more fundamental shifts in your behaviour or routines, there are some simple ways that you can seek relief when you’re really feeling that stress is getting you down.
Here are my top three tips for instantly boosting your mood:
Jumping on a trampoline is super effective for decreasing stress hormones like cortisol, while increasing mood-boosting endorphins which are like feel-good chemicals for your brain! As a low impact way to exercise, you get all the benefits for your brain as you would a sweat-inducing workout. Not to mention, it’s fun, uplifting and invigorating and will have you laughing, feeling free and will have your mind off your troubles in no time. At the very least, a good jump will help you take out some of your frustrations on the mat! And when it comes to trampolines, Springfree at THE best! I LOVE mine.
The power of purposeful breathing cannot be understated in reducing stress. It’s easy to learn, and can be done anywhere, at anytime. You may think this sounds silly, because after all, we all breathe all the time! But what most of us don’t realise is that a lot of the time we are practicing very shallow breathing, which can actually increase your stress and anxiety. Instead, when you breathe, your diaphragm, the large muscle in your abdomen, should expand. This should feel like your belly is expanding out when you breath in, and falling flat when you breathe out. You’ll find that your muscles start to relax, your blood pressure lowers, endorphins are released and you’ll have increased oxygen to the cells in your body. It can be helpful to set regular reminders for yourself to check your breathing patterns at intervals throughout the day, to work with an app to help you practice, or to use a wearable device that can help remind you to focus on your breath.
… or write it down. Whatever is your preferred way to get it out of your head. Often just getting negative thoughts out can stop them circling round and round in your mind, exacerbating those feelings of stress. Talking through problems with someone you trust can help you put your problems into perspective, and their advice or support can help lessen the load you are feeling. If you feel more comfortable writing your thoughts down, try journalling. It will have the same benefits as saying the words out loud and can often feel like a cathartic experience to get your thoughts off your chest. Don’t forget, you’re never alone; there are also professionals or helplines you can use to speak to with people who are trained to give you advice, support and tips on coping with or reducing stress.
A little bit of stress in our life is not damaging, after all sometimes we need a bit of pressure to get things done or to drive us! But if you’re frequently finding yourself in unhealthy or unsettling environments it’s time to consider some more fundamental changes. While these tips can help instantly alleviate feelings of stress before they become too overwhelming, don’t be afraid to seek some advice for your personal situation from your GP or other health professional.
By Registered Nutritionist, Claire Turnbull