We all have that feeling at times – too much to do, too little time, lots of interruptions, criticism, pressure and quite probably lack of sleep because you’ve tried to fit too much in to twenty-four hours. Add to that anxieties about job and relationships, and life can really get on top of you. A certain amount of stress can be good for you, but too much is simply counter-productive. So make reducing stress your Number One priority, because without it you’re unlikely to succeed at anything, in the long term.
1) You may think that slobbing out in front of the telly, with a glass or two of wine to soothe you is the best thing, but you’re wrong! Staying active is the greatest stress-buster going. After several minutes of moderate exercise those lovely endorphins, which are the body’s own morphine equivalent, kick in, and make you feel better. In addition, the hormone norepinephrine lifts your mood and improves mind-power into the bargain. Exercise doesn’t take long – try a few high-intensity bursts during the day. Running up and down stairs is one of the easiest.
2) Put ‘chill out’ in your diary. Doing the same thing all the time can be such a drag, so at least a couple of times a week have a massage or a coffee with a friend. And learn to meditate – it’s free and ten minutes a day is all you need to make amazing changes for the better.
3) Have playtime. What would school have been like without playtime to look forward to? Now you probably graft for hours and hardly raise your head! No wonder you’re wound up! Your inner child needs to play just as much as when you were seven years old. In fact that’s how children learn – it’s not called ‘re-creation’ for nothing! So have fun with your own children, cuddle your pets, dance, do puzzles – the crazier you act the better you’ll feel.
4) Laugh. Phone a mate that says just the kinds of things to make you giggle. Watch a comedy show. Put some effort into finding new things that amuse you, for humour is often the unexpected. Sometimes listening to other people laugh can get you going. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t laugh easily then don’t worry – it doesn’t make you a misery, it just means you need to be discriminating. Keep searching for your laughs, but meantime, smile!
5) Eat little and often. That doesn’t of course mean reaching for chocolate bars and crisps. Keep your blood sugar at steady levels by munching on nuts, fruit, yoghourt and protein-rich foods such as lean meat and Quorn. Try to limit caffeine as that can stress you in itself and may make you crave carbohydrates. Find what works for you and make small changes.
6) Try the alternatives. If you go to the doctor you may come out with tranquillisers or anti-depressants, but these aren’t the answer and may only cover up the problem, leading to their own symptoms later. There are plenty of herbal remedies that have been proven to work, and while these are different for different people, if you explore you can find something that works for you. Lavender is very soothing – even rubbing in some lavender hand-cream can calm you down. Other herbs such as chamomile or passion flower can be taken as a tea. Bach flower remedies are easy to take - Rescue Remedy works for those moments of extreme stress and shock, Impatiens is good for restlessness, Olive for exhaustion, Elm for that overwhelmed sensation and Aspen for general anxiety.
7) Take a walk on the wild side. Go out into a park, garden, woodland or field and look about you. Plants have been growing, animals running about, clouds scudding on the breeze for centuries. Doesn’t that put all your ‘what ifs’ and pressures into perspective? Take a deep breath, let your shoulders drop, feel a part of the Universe and experience a moment of peace.
Sometimes however hard you try you just can’t seem to let go of all the strain and you may feel that you’re going to burst, or go crazy. That’s when you need to speak to one of our wise and soothing readers at The Circle, to calm your mind and enable you to see the way forward. Don’t wait till you’re desperate – call today!
PUBLISHED: 29 October 2014