How to reduce stress

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Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure becomes stress when you feel unable to cope. Everyone reacts differently to stress and experiences different stressors, or things that cause stress. Common stressors include work, relationships, and money. Stress can affect how you feel, think, and behave. It can also impact how your body functions. Common signs of stress include anxiety, worrisome thinking, sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite, and difficulty concentrating, among others. It is worth taking the time to learn different strategies and techniques for managing your stress before there are serious consequences for your mental and physical well-being.

1. Eat healthily

• Eating healthily can reduce the risks of diet-related diseases

• There is a growing amount of evidence showing how food affects our mood40 and how eating healthily can improve this

• You can protect your feelings of wellbeing by ensuring that your diet provides adequate amounts of brain nutrients such as essential vitamins and minerals, as well as water

2. Be aware of smoking and drinking alcohol

• Try not to, or reduce the amount you smoke and drink alcohol

• Even though they may seem to reduce tension initially, this is misleading as they often make problems worse

3. Exercise

• Try and integrate physical exercise into your lifestyle as it can be very effective in relieving stress

• Even just going out and getting some fresh air, and taking some light physical exercise, like going for a walk to the shops can really help

4.Take time out

• Take time to relax

• Strike the balance between responsibility to others and responsibility to yourself, this can really reduce stress levels

• Tell yourself that it is okay to prioritise self-care • Are you needing time out but saying ‘I just can’t take the time off’, if so read more about how taking a break is important for good mental health

5. Be mindful

• Mindfulness is a mind-body approach to life that helps us to relate differently to experiences. It involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings in a way that increases our ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices

• Try to practice mindfulness regularly

• Mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time

• Research has suggested that it can reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and related problems such as insomnia, poor concentration and low moods, in some people

• Our Be Mindful website features a specially developed online course in mindfulness, as well as details of local courses in your area

6. Get some restful sleep

• Are you finding you are struggling to sleep? This is a common problem when you’re stressed

• Could your physical or mental health be impacting your ability to sleep?

• Could you amend your environment to help improve your sleep?

• Could you get up instead of staying in bed when your mind is worrying at night?

• Could you make small changes to your lifestyle to help your get a restful sleep?

7. Don’t be too hard on yourself

• Try to keep things in perspective.

• Remember that having a bad day is a universal human experience

• When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said

• If you stumble or feel you have failed, don’t beat yourself up

• Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive

• Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself

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Can stress be positive?

Research has shown that stress can sometimes be positive. It can make you more alert and help you perform better in certain situations. However, stress has only been found to be beneficial if it is short-lived.


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