Stress less: Tips to reduce stress and improve your wellbeing
National Stress Awareness Day falls tomorrow on 4th November 2015. While this years' focus is on employee wellbeing, an important issue, this post aims to help reduce stress in all aspects of your life.
It's easy to get anxious and stressed from the pressures of the everyday, big or small. Sometimes a collection of little things can become overwhelming, or there might be a big stress factor in your life. For some this can lead to feelings of helplessness and depression, and for others it may appear as agitation and panic. Stress manifests itself differently in different people. It's important to be aware whether for you it's better to stop and take a break, or if you need to find a source of energy and stimulation.
There are some techniques, though, that anyone can use on a day to day basis to curb stress and to help stay mindful of your own wellbeing.
One method involves focusing on your senses and using what you feel, smell, see, hear and taste to remove yourself one step from the things or state of mind that are leaving you stressed. Here are some sensory techniques for you to try:
- Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful place or situation that feels rejuvenating.
- Picture soothing or uplifting images in your head, or look at a favourite photo or object.
- Bring nature into your environment with a plant or some flowers
- Head out into the garden,to the beach or to a park and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
- Incorporate colours that boost your mood into your space and décor.
- Sing or hum a favourite tune.
- Listen to uplifting music or comedy radio.
- If you can, listen to sounds of nature - crashing waves, the wind in the trees, birds singing - or listen to an audio recording.
- Enjoy the soothing sound of running water in your home or office - perhaps invest in a small fountain if you find this particularly calming.
- Hang wind chimes near an open window.
- Light a scented candle or burn some incense.
- Scent your sheets or pillow with lavender.
- Smell flowers - try roses and others to see what you prefer.
- Enjoy fresh air outdoors.
- Spritz on a favourite perfume or cologne.
- Cosy up in a warm blanket.
- Pet a dog or cat.
- Hold a comforting object (a stuffed animal, a favorite memento).
- Soak in a hot bath.
- Give yourself a hand or neck massage.
- Wear clothing that feels soft against your skin.
- Slowly savour a favourite treat.
- Focus on the feel of the food in your mouth and the taste on your tongue.
- Chew a piece of sugarless gum.
- Indulge in a small piece of dark chocolate or eat a perfectly ripe piece of fruit
- Sip a steaming cup of coffee or tea or a refreshing cold drink.
- Enjoy a healthy, crunchy snack (celery, carrots, or trail mix).
(Bonus sense) Movement
- Run in on the spot or jump up and down.
- Dance around.
- Stretch you arms, legs and neck, or roll your head in half circles.
- Go for a short walk.
- Squeeze a rubbery stress ball.
You can also use memories to de-stress. Picture a memory in which you feel happy or calm and focus on each of your senses in that memory. If you practice this, it can become a quick way to access sensory stress busting.
Using senses is just one technique of many that can help you to focus on your own wellbeing and reduce your stress levels. See here for our post about the calming effect that stories have on the brain. For other useful ideas, we've compiled some links to great content across the internet explaining other things that you can try.
- Identify and tackle stress at work: The American Institute of Stress - Top 5 Workplace Stress Busting Tips
- Some great downloads including 7 Positives for a Better Life: International Stress Management Association - National Stress Awareness Day downloads
- How to recognise stress and build quick stress relief habits: HelpGuide - Stress Relief in the Moment
- Tips to reduce the stress of everyday life at work and at home: Into Mind - 10 ways to de-stress your day hour by hour
We hope that this information is helpful to you in reducing your stress levels. What are your favourite stress busting techniques?
Do note, if you are concerned about your wellbeing or mental state it's best to see a doctor. The techniques listed above and in the links may be useful but are not guaranteed to help in all situations - everyone's personal circumstances are different and that's okay, just be sure to take the best steps to look after yourself.
For more information on National Stress Awareness Day see here.
This post was written by Holly Newson.