101 SIMPLE WAYS TO LOWER YOUR STRESS LEVELS

We all experience unique reactions to stressful situations. Whereas some “everyday” events can be managed by many, to some they are overwhelming. The good news is, even if we are not blessed with innate stress-busting abilities, we can learn to reduce the effects of stress in our lives and adopt new helpful strategies to replace the old negative ones.

101 SIMPLE WAYS TO LOWER YOUR STRESS LEVELS

Exercise has been proven to reduce the body’s “stress hormones” like cortisol, and increase the feel good endorphins. Even if you feel that you do not have the time or energy to develop a fitness schedule, take a few moments to do a few simple exercises to relieve your feelings of stress.

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1. Taking a walk can do wonders. It can get you away from your stressful environment and into the natural world – allowing you time and space to put things into perspective.

2. If you cannot get out, try standing straight up and alternatively bending one knee up towards your chest and then the other. This will gently increase your heart rate, produce endorphins and work those abs!

3. Standing with your legs slightly apart, make figure of eight movements with your hips. Not only will this get the blood circulating through the abdomen area, but it is hard not to smile when you are doing it.

4. Simple breathing exercises can also be of benefit. In stressful situations, people tend to take shallow breathes – leading to hyperventilation. Focus on taking deep inward breathes, close your eyes and exhale slowly.

5. If you have the room, raise your arms over your head while inhaling deeply, and then hold your breath for a second before exhaling. As you breathe out, drop your head and let your arms slowly return to you sides.

6. In ongoing stressful situations, more drastic measures are called for. You could consider joining a gym or taking up a sport. If you manage you time properly to allow recreation activity, the long term benefits will be worth it.

Your diet, and the time you put aside for preparing and consuming food and drink, are also factors that can create stress – or be used to manage it. Forward plan your meals and shop accordingly, with these healthy tips in mind:-

7. Stress resistance can be enhanced by a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

8. Eat small meals frequently. Stress hunger may lead to obesity.

9. Keep handy the basics you need to prepare a healthy snack.

10. Red meat can create oxidants in the blood which attack your stress-immune system.

11. Yoghurt contains probiotics which aid digestion at times of turmoil

12. The omega-3 oils in Salmon inhibit the release of cortisol – the stress hormone.

13. Whole-grain carbohydrates produce serotonin – one of the body’s natural soothers.

14. Buy de-caffeinated drinks – The caffeine content in five cups of coffee produces a rise in blood pressure equivalent to eight hours spent in the office

15. Try drinking Green tea as an alternative. Green tea contains the compound L-theanine, which known for its calming effect on the nervous system.

16. Other calming herbal teas you could try are Chamomile, Ashwagandha Root and Skullcap (Scutellaria) – all of which are proven to reduce tension.

17. There are dietary supplements you can take specifically for the relief of stress. Vitamin B multi-compounds are the most effective.

18. Natural supplements you could also consider are Magnolia Bark (Relora), Bach Flower Rescue Remedy and St. Johns Wort – the “sunshine” plant.

19. Avoid buying alcohol as long term effects inhibit the absorption of Vitamin B, increase blood sugar levels and damage the central nervous system.

20. The hunger hormone – ghrelin – increases during periods of stress, so keep a supply of low-fat cereal bars handy for when you cannot avoid reaching for an oral comforter.

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Having too much work, or too little, can be a major cause of stress. Difficult conditions in the workplace can overspill into your home life and create anxiety for those around you also. Try to ease the pressure in the office by applying a few of these helpful suggestions:-

21.Aim for a balanced schedule so you are neither over-committed nor have too much time on your hands.

22. Don’t put of until tomorrow what can get done today!

23. Diarize whenever possible

24. Take firebreaks every time you need them.

25. Delegating reduces your workload and helps develop teamwork

26. Plan and prioritize your work schedules.

27. Organize your world and clear the office of useless junk.

28. Learn that it is okay to say “No” if you really cannot do it.

29. Have two mobile phones, and only give your work colleagues one of the numbers.

30. Do not be available 24/7 – turn that second mobile off when you leave the office.

31. Make time to take time. Regular breaks from the work environment will increase productivity on your return.

32. Accept that you are not a machine (and if you cannot do that – remember machines break down and get replaced!)

33. Have set spaces for keys, phones and files. Don’t spend time looking for stuff.

34. Work at the best time of day for you. Some folk are larks – others are owls.

35. Set realistic goals, complete assignments, go home!

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Getting sufficient rest is vital to avoid prolonged stress. Becoming over-tired not only creates stress, but we risk burnout because rest and relaxation is how our bodies let stress subside. Following some of the following advice and techniques will allow your body to heal from the strain of daily life.

36. Get enough sleep. Not an easy thing to do when you have things on your mind, but you need your energy to overcome the issues which are causing you stress.

37. Turn the computer off. Time spent on the Internet is not relaxation, and more sleeping hours are lost at night through surfing the web than any other reason.

38. A 30 minute “power nap” during the day has a more beneficial effect that a 30 minute lay-in in the morning.

39. Meditation is something that everybody can do. Try to learn a few simple yogic techniques and then allocate a set time each day to practice them.

40. 15 minutes is all you need for some relaxation techniques, yet you will feel the benefits of increased energy and willpower for hours thereafter.

41. Do not drink coffee or cola after 4.00pm, as the caffeine content can remain in your body long enough to prevent you from getting off to sleep when you are tired.

42. Keep to the same bedtime and train your mind and body into a predictable routine.

43. Make sure you stop performing any mentally demanding task in good time to let your brain wind down before you go to bed.

44. When going to bed, read some light fiction or article to tire your eyes and help forget about the things which are worrying you.

45. If you are still struggling to relax at night, use a natural compound such as Valerian to help you get a good nights sleep.

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Making time to do enjoyable, carefree things with your partner, children, friends or pets is more productive than spending hours worrying about a situation. Fun activities can be a marvelous way of coping with stress, and some of the items below simply highlight the importance of play.

46. Get a hobby. Many hobbyists who initially developed their interests for stress management, have turned their hobbies into careers and their work is now their play.

47. Drawing and Painting can be used as a way to process emotions and release them.

48. Knitting can provide an outlet for nervous energy.

49. Gardening is therapeutic and growing your own fresh fruit and vegetables also has health benefits.

50. Writing is a pastime that can be viewed as cathartic and relaxing and provides something that can be shared with others.

51. Learn to say “Yes!” to new opportunities and adventures.

52. Music is a great stress reliever – capable of providing a distraction, an inspiration or for lifting your mood.

53. Get involved with other people at clubs and associations to share and support each others interests.

54. Watch sport with family and friends – either live or on the TV. Supporting a joint cause creates a great bond.

55. Throw a party and, if cash is tight, only invite friends who will bring a bottle!

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Owning pets can be a great stress reliever. It is virtually impossible not to forget your problems when a pair of puppy eyes meet yours, so “pet your pets” because looking after them is a great way of caring for yourself.

56. A pet will improve your mood and reduce your blood pressure.

57. Having a pet will encourage you to go out and exercise.

58. People stop and talk to pet owners. It is incredible the number of people that you will meet.

59. Having a pet means you always have a companion that will provide love and friendship for you.

60. Pets won’t judge you, so talk your problems through with your pet. They might not be able to provide solutions, but they are fantastic listeners.

61. Did you ever wonder why so many surgery waiting rooms have tropical fish aquariums in them? When is one of the times that you are going to be most stressed?

62. If it is impractical for you to have a pet, go feed the ducks in the park or visit your local zoo. You will be glad that you did.

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Sex and stress are linked in several ways. It is clinically proven that couples who have enjoyed making love are less stressed and more inclined to make love more often. However, when suffering from stress, our levels of physical intimacy suffer.

63. Deep breathing during sex oxygenates the blood and reduces levels of stress.

64. Massaging each other whilst making love is good for our emotional health.

65. The energy used up when making love is equivalent to a good physical workout.

66. Sexual activity releases “feel good” hormones and endorphins.

67. Findings have suggested that, when faced with a stressful situation, you are more capable of dealing with it if you have recently made love.

68. Having sex takes your mind off your other problems.

69. Physical affection and sexual activity promotes a good mood.

70. Stress in other areas of your life will generate a low libido that will suppress your desire for sex. You need to say “no” to some things in order to say “yes” to the ones that matter.

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If you always seem to have more month left than money, the stress that this causes can ruin a relationship as well as your health. Here are some handy tips for managing your funds a little better.

71. Itemize all your outgoings and write down where your hard earned dollars go.

72. Pay bills on time. Red letters are not conducive to a low-stress life.

73. If in a relationship, the one who is the best budgeter should have the job.

74. Get help to amalgamate debts and then do not accumulate any more!

75. Shred your credit cards. If having one is a necessity, then leave it at home.

76. Only shop when you have just eaten – hungry shoppers are impulse buyers.

77. Always write a list and stick to it. This will save money and calories.

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Telling somebody who is stressed out to “Pull yourself together!” is hardly the right type of support you would expect from a friend or loved one. But sometimes that special person is not able to see, or able to resolve, the issues which are causing you to be stressed, and sometimes, there is only one special person who can do that – yourself.

78. Try to change your perspectives – “It matters, but it is not important” is a good one.

79. Be kind to yourself. Your situation is already difficult so no need to make it any harder.

80. Look after yourself as you would somebody you loved.

81. Use positive self-affirmations “I am … …, I will … …, I can … …”

82. Help somebody else. This can be as therapeutic as helping yourself.

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83. Cultivate friendships with optimistic people.

84. Don’t dwell in the past – look to the future.

85. Be emotionally resilient. See change as an opportunity

86. Join a support group – a sense of belonging is important to emotional and mental health.

87. Use visualization…see yourself achieving, winning, being loved, wealthy, healthy

88. Read spiritually uplifting books that help to prioritize what is causing you to be stressed.

89. Rent your favorite movie and give yourself time out.

90. Get a clear idea of what you want and try self-hypnosis.

And finally, everything else that we could not categorize we are going to call “Special Ways to Lower Your Stress Levels”. As with all our other tips, you have to make small changes to your lifestyle and gradually build on them. Our suggestions will not change everything overnight, but the more you use, the better you will feel.

91. Laughter heals physical and emotional ills, and as hard as it may be to raise a smile sometimes, write a list of the happiest moments in your life and refer to it often.

92. Hug somebody you love.

93. Treat yourself to some Kava-Kava. The root of this Hawaiian plant generates mild euphoria, characterized by elevated mood, lively speech and increased sensitivity to sound! It is definitely nature’s remedy to stress!

94. Aromatherapy is a natural and proven way to relieve stress. Visit your local health shop and ask for the appropriate essential oil to combat the source of your stress.

95. Take a holiday to get away from the environment(s) which is causing you to be stressed, and use it to relax!

96. Show gratitude for what you have rather than stress over what you don’t. You will be surprised how good that feels.

97. Go Bowling. It is great fun, completely pointless and there is a lot of jumping up and down, throwing and hugging and kissing. It combines plenty we have suggested that you do in this article.

98. Go on a picnic.

99. What were your favorite sweets when you were a kid? Look after your inner child. Go out and buy some!

100. Treat yourself to an out-of-this-world massage.

101. Write lists. Not just for the things you have to do. But lists of your favorite films, lists of your favorite songs, lists of your favorite cities – lists of your favorite lists! You will soon realize that you have more blessings than you thought.

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