6 Simple Speedy Stress Busters
Impact of Stress
We all know that while a little stress can be good for us too much stress can have detrimental effects. Yet lots of people experience prolonged and potentially damaging stress without knowing what to do about it. The causes can be varied, worries about relationships, health, financial issues, or family members to mention just a few, and of course some people experience different stresses at the same time, they may be under pressure at work and experiencing financial stress for example.
Similarly the symptoms vary from the physical, headaches, stomach problems, palpitations, raised blood pressure and sleep problems, to emotional symptoms, feeling down or depressed, being irritable, feeling unable to cope or experiencing panic attacks.
You can read more about the symptoms and causes of stress by following the link below.
Just like the causes, the particular symptoms will vary from person to person. But prolonged or severe stress does have a negative impact on our health.
The international stress management association reports that estimates from the Labour Force Survey 2010/11 show that stress effected 400 000 people.
So it is important that we learn to manage our stress in the long term BUT it is also important to have a few strategies to use at those times when we are aware that we feel stressed. However it is also wise to seek medical help if you feel you are experiencing symptoms which don't seem to improve.
What is Stress
Take a Moment
When you begin to find a situation is becoming stressful, try just to give yourself a moment. Simply removing yourself from the situation can help. It is so easy to feel swamped with work or worries but just a couple of minutes away can bring a much needed change of perspective.
Whether it is stepping outside and having a few deep breaths or simply walking away from your desk for a few minutes and having a quiet snack, a few moments away can really help.
When you are away try to have a few really deep breaths as this can be really calming. This is a simple measure and if you want to take it to the next level then think about learning to mediate or taking a mindfulness course.
Mindfulness helps a lot of people manage stress so check out the link below if you think this could help you. Evidence suggests that in the workplace, mindfulness can increase productivity and decrease stress.
Try A Smile
Slap On A Smile
It may be a cliché but often if you can manage to smile and be cheerful it is amazing the way it can help. Recent research seems to show that smiling and laughing can in fact lower stress. Follow the link and see what you think.
It may take a huge effort but if you can manage a smile, even if it does feel a bit like acting at first, you may be surprised at the result. Like lots of things feeling stressed can be something that we almost get used to and somehow breaking the mould can help us see things from a different perspective.
Exercise is good in lots of different ways, it is good for the heart and cardiovascular system, and during exercise we release hormones which raise the mood. Regular exercise will help to reduce stress and help prevent weight gain and generally help maintain a healthy body. So think about fitting in bike rides, walks, exercise classes. Yoga or pilates may be especially beneficial in helping to combat stress.
But if you feel very stressed in the middle of the day simply moving around, going for a short brisk walk or even doing a few stretches can help relieve stress.
If you spend a lot of your day at a desk or computer, or even indoors, in a shop or office it is often very good to get outdoors and simply being outside, even if the sun isn't shining, can really help to reduce stress.
If you are lucky enough to be able to take in a nice view then even better but simply being outdoors and breathing the fresh air can help combat feelings of stress.
Try the ideas below to manage your stress
- Take a moment - just putting some distance between yourself and stress can help.
- Slap on a smile - evidence suggests that smiling and laughing can lower stress
- Get Active - you may not feel like you have time but being active can help lower stress.
- Get Outdoors - some fresh air and if possible being a it closer to nature can help.
- Have some You time - indulge yourself, you deserve it and if you don't feel you have the time - it is important to make it.
- Get Creative - slowing down enough to be creative just for a short time can really lower stress levels.
Have Some 'You' Time
Taking a break from work, or a stressful situation IS important however it is also important to take some time when you indulge yourself a little. Many people are good at being kind to others but not so good at being kind to themselves.
So don't feel guilty taking time out for you! You are worth it - definitely. You deserve it and if you are feeling stressed then you NEED it.
What is your favourite treat, is it coffee with friends, a good film, a sport of some kind, a visit to the cinema, a beauty treatment or a quiet night in for a long bath and a good book. Whatever it is make time to schedule it into your diary on a regular basis. Even when you feel you are to busy to fit it in - that is probably the time when you need it the most.
If you do decide to take some time for yourself remember to turn off your devices, phones blackberries and pagers the truth is the world will still continue to turn even if you take a little time to yourself - no one is indispensable.
It is so easy to let all forms of creativity be simply squeezed out of life when we are busy. But have you ever asked yourself why there are things like art therapy or music therapy. The answer is simple there is something restorative and calming about being creative. It is something humans do in almost every society, painting or music or writing or drawing or sewing there is something calming and de-stressing about it.
Obviously if creativity is your job and you are working to deadlines this may not be the same, but for most of us scheduling some time to immerse ourselves in something creative can help reduce stress and restore a sense of balance your life.