How to Reduce Stress – 6 Ways

How to Reduce Stress - 6 Ways

Life and stress can feel like a package deal but if stress is allowed to dig its claws in, it will do damage. Time to break those two up. The human brain can’t do everything it has to do – keep us alive, thinking, feeling, doing – and on top of that deal with the assault from stress. Here’s how to reduce stress before it gets it’s curly hooks in too deep:

  1. Connect with people.

    Humans have an innate, primitive need for connection, but life and too much time with those who give more than they take, can make hiding away from the world and all its neighbours a very attractive option. Spending time with people can tweak your perception of things and give you a laugh – which also releases feel-good hormones. 

  2. Be active.

    Yep, you’ve heard it all before, but that’s because it actually works. Physical activity clears your head and releases your feel-good endorphins. Exercise also improves sleep, which brings me to …

  3. Sleep.

    While we are asleep, our brain is hard at work. During sleep, the brain processes the emotions and issues that are leftover from the day. It’s why you’ll often feel better about things after a good sleep – because your brain has been busy looking after you.

  4. Do what you love.

    Sounds simple enough if you know what that is but many people don’t. If you don’t know what you love, try something you’ve never tried or something you haven’t tried for a while. What did you love doing for fun when you were a child? Painting? Dancing? Kicking a ball? Chances are you’ll still love doing it.

  5. Make time for yourself.

    If you’re way down your list of priorities, get out of your own way and bump yourself well up the list. Making time to de-stress is the very thing that will improve the way you function in every other part of your life – relationships, work, your own physical health. You wouldn’t skip brushing your teeth because of a lack of time – well, maybe once or twice but you wouldn’t let it go for long. Granted, brushing your teeth doesn’t take a lot of time but if it took say, 30 minutes a day instead of 5, would you let your teeth go? So why would you give your mental health less priority than your dental health. 

  6. Listen to music.

    ‘Weightless by Marconi Union has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, slow heart rate and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone). You can read about the incredible effects of ‘Weightless’ here and find the link to the song here. While we’re on relaxing beats …

The top ten list of relaxing songs are:

  • 1. Weightless (Marconi Union)
  • 2. Electra (Airstream)
  • 3. Mellomaniac (DJ Shah – Chill Out Mix)
  • 4. Watermark (Enya)
  • 5. Strawberry Swing (Coldplay)
  • 6. Please Don’t Go (Barcelona)
  • 7. Pure Shores (All Saints
  • 8. Someone Like You (Adele)
  • 9. Canzonetta Sull’aria (Mozart)
  • 10. We Can Fly (Café Del Mar).

And finally …

Anything you do limit your exposure to stress, or diminish your experience of it is important. So important in fact, that if your brain could it would breathe a heavy sigh of relief and leave a heady thank you note on your pillow. 

2 Comments

Sharon H

Sometimes easier said than done, but I think we need to be reminded that there are always things we can do to help manage stress. My problem is that a huge chunk of my stress comes from things that I can’t change. And it has been going on almost daily for 10 years or more. However, this article has helped me be aware of mechanisms that help and what is truly important. Thank you for this, I really needed to be reminded of what I can do in the here and now.

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For our children, we start building the foundations for adolescence in their earliest years - the relationship we’ll have with them, who they are going to be, how they are going to be. One of the things we’ll want to build is their capacity to know their own minds and be brave enough to use it. This isn’t easy, even for adults, so the more practice we give them, the more they’ll be able to access their strong, brave, beautiful minds when they need to - when we aren’t there.

This means letting them have a say when we can, asking their opinions, and letting them disagree.

When kids and teens argue, they’re communicating. We need to listen, but the need won’t always be obvious. When littles argue because it’s spaghetti for dinner and ‘I hate spaghetti so much’ (even though last week and the 5 years before last week, spaghetti was their favourite), they might be expressing a need for sleep, power and influence, or independence. All are valid. When your teen argues because they want to do something you’ve said no to, the need might be to preserve their felt sense of inclusion with their tribe, or independence from you. Again, all valid. 

Of course, a valid need doesn’t mean it will always be met. Sometimes our needs might need to take priority to theirs, such as our need to keep them safe, or for them to learn that they can still be okay if everything doesn’t go their way, or that sometimes people will have conflicting needs that need to take priority. What’s important is letting them know we hear them and we get it.

It’s going to take time for kids to learn how to argue and express themselves respectfully. In the meantime, the words might be clumsy, loud, angry. This is when we need to hold on to ourselves, meet them where they are, let them know we hear them, and step into our leadership presence. We might give them what they need because it makes sense and because there isn’t enough reason not to. Sometimes, after giving them space to be heard we’ll need to stand our ground. Other times we might solve the problem collaboratively: This is what you want. This is what I want. Let’s talk about how we can we both get what we need.♥️
Anxiety will always tilt our focus to the risks, often at the expense of the very real rewards. It does this to keep us safe. We’re more likely to run into trouble if we miss the potential risks than if we miss the potential gains. 

This means that anxiety will swell just as much in reaction to a real life-threat, as it will to the things that might cause heartache (feels awful, but not life-threatening), but which will more likely come with great rewards. Wholehearted living means actively shifting our awareness to what we have to gain by taking a safe risk. 

Sometimes staying safe will be the exactly right thing to do, but sometimes we need to fight for that important or meaningful thing by hushing the noise of anxiety and moving bravely forward. 

When children or teens are on the edge of brave, but anxiety is pushing them back, ask, ‘But what would it be like if you could?’ ♥️

#parenting #parent #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #positiveparenting #heywarrior #heyawesome
Except I don’t do hungry me or tired me or intolerant me, as, you know … intolerably. Most of the time. Sometimes.
Growth doesn’t always announce itself in ways that feel safe or invited. Often, it can leave us exhausted and confused and with dirt in our pores from the fury of the battle. It is this way for all of us, our children too. 

The truth of it all is that we are all born with a profound and immense capacity to rise through challenges, changes and heartache. There is something else we are born with too, and it is the capacity to add softness, strength, and safety for each other when the movement towards growth feels too big. Not always by finding the answer, but by being it - just by being - safe, warm, vulnerable, real. As it turns out, sometimes, this is the richest source of growth for all of us.
When the world feel sunsettled, the ripple can reach the hearts, minds and spirits of kids and teens whether or not they are directly affected. As the important adult in the life of any child or teen, you have a profound capacity to give them what they need to steady their world again.

When their fears are really big, such as the death of a parent, being alone in the world, being separated from people they love, children might put this into something else. 

This can also happen because they can’t always articulate the fear. Emotional ‘experiences’ don’t lay in the brain as words, they lay down as images and sensory experiences. This is why smells and sounds can trigger anxiety, even if they aren’t connected to a scary experience. The ‘experiences’ also don’t need to be theirs. Hearing ‘about’ is enough.

The content of the fear might seem irrational but the feeling will be valid. Think of it as the feeling being the part that needs you. Their anxiety, sadness, anger (which happens to hold down other more vulnerable emotions) needs to be seen, held, contained and soothed, so they can feel safe again - and you have so much power to make that happen. 

‘I can see how worried you are. There are some big things happening in the world at the moment, but my darling, you are safe. I promise. You are so safe.’ 

If they have been through something big, the truth is that they have been through something frightening AND they are safe, ‘We’re going through some big things and it can be confusing and scary. We’ll get through this. It’s okay to feel scared or sad or angry. Whatever you feel is okay, and I’m here and I love you and we are safe. We can get through anything together.’

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