Everybody feels stress from time to time and knows it intimately. Very few of us think about what stress actually is. It’s just a thought that we have complete control over, because it’s not something that happens to us but in us.
The dictionary definition describes it as – mental, emotional or physical strain or tension. The physical bit is linked to the mental bit and is something that we can try to change, while the mental bit is simply our ‘thoughts’ that are out of balance.
A torrent of adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones floods your system, raising your heart rate, increasing your blood pressure which can make your blood more likely to clot, damaging your brain’s memory centre and taking its toll on your body when you are stressed – but what can we do?
Stress comes in all shapes and forms. It could be a fall-out with a friend of partner, work related issues, the death of a someone close to you or a simply a trip to the dentist. However, sometimes the worst form can be imaginary. You may perceive that something has gone wrong when everything is fine.
If you have constant worry, you can’t sleep, you are tired and exhausted, you become argumentative then left alone this added stress is thought to increase the risk of heart disease. Luckily there are some simple things that we can all do help ourselves. It all begins with a positive mental attitude.
A positive mental attitude can help to de-stress our bodies and be a comfort to our over worked hearts that in turn could extend our years on this planet and be the real foundation for all-round optimal health.
6 Tips for Stress Reduction
In every one of us there is the ability to be the best we can. Taking a few of the simple steps that we suggest can be the first day in the best and rest of our lives.
- Become an optimist. It can be tricky to change your outlook on life but if you can accomplish this goal, then you have made a huge leap forward to reducing your stress and improving your health.
- Set positive goals, but in small steps. Whatever your goal is, there should be small steps to get there, focus on the small steps to keep the motivation to hit the big goal.
- Move, the best way to burn of stress hormones is to move and sweat. Do something vigorous and lively to increase your feel good hormones (endorphins). Of course check with your GP before you do so if you have any health issues.
- Sleep. Lack of sleep increases stress hormones, settle into a routine and once your body finds it’s sleeping groove, there’ll be less stress placed upon the body after proper rest & recovery.
- Laugh long and often. Laughter has a profound effect on our body and it can be contagious too. Do what you enjoy and living longer is another great reason to see the latest comedy film at the cinema.
- Have a daily deep breathing routine – this is especially good in bed as you try to get off to sleep and you brain is still whirring with all sorts of thoughts of the day.
Think differently. Try thinking about what makes you stressed and use the breathing exercise to let go of worry.
Simple Breathing Technique
We covered several months ago a simple breathing technique that can help reduce stress and improve your wellbing, especially in people that suffer from high blood pressure. You can read about our hypertension breathing technique here.