There are so many ways to reduce stress and I couldn’t think of a better way than to share some of the top-secret ways that have helped me over the years.
- Meditation: If you sit and focus on your breathing for 2-5 mins a day, at the same time, you are meditating. Quietening the mind chatter is the ultimate goal and catching the mind when a thought takes hold is the key. Do not lay judgment to the thinking, it’s the job of the mind to think, however, you want to be in control of the mind. If you think about it, the mind loves to think, and it loves to create stories. The idea is to learn to reign in the constant chatter. Start small as I mentioned, 1-2 mins of stillness and focus is an achievement and one that needs to be honored.
- Slowing down – how fast do you run? Errand to errand, next job to do, without taking a moment to see how much you have achieved. Boy, do I know all about this one. I think I’ve been running for years since I got into hospitality. I had to keep up and now I find it a challenge to slow down and relax. It is a habit we get into and then one that becomes a lifestyle and then a pattern we find hard to break. Slow down and smell the roses, yes it means actually to stop and take a look up at the sky, watch the clouds for a few moments and enjoy your surrounds. Take notice of the little things like butterflies, caterpillars or ants. I had a tiny tiny caterpillar on me today and noticed it as I was driving to the shop. I stopped with my son and we watched him for a few minutes. We were at the shopping center so we had to find a spot for him to go. Luckily there were some plants on the way in so we popped him in there. He was only 1cm big, but he made a huge impact on our day. Blessings are all around us if we only take the time to look.
- Breathing– many of us breathe way up high in the chest area instead of the diaphragm. When we are stressed our breathing becomes shallow and fast and we do not even notice that we are breathing from the chest. Place one hand on the belly and one on the chest, notice if the top hand or bottom hand moves. If it’s the top then you are shallow breathing from your chest. Relax the belly and see if you can start to breathe the air down into this region. Do this for 1-2 mins, yes closed, count as you breathe 5 counts in, hold for 2 counts and breathe out for PMT7 counts out. The longer count on the out-breath switches on the Parasympathetic nervous system, slowing the heart rate and taking us out of the “fight or flight” stress response.
- Mindfulness techniques – Focus on the breath, stay present when you are washing the dishes, notice the warmth on your skin, feel the movements inside the body of the blood and other things moving. Put the phone down for 1-2 mins and focus on a candle, gazing at the flame until the eye want to close, then notice the flame internally until it disappears. Repeat this for up to 5 mins depending on how much time is available.
- Yoga Nidra in the middle of the day – a specialised practice available via app’s from the app store – it moves from the conscious mind to the unconscious, taking the mind through a rotation of body awareness, then deeper into the mind. It’s almost like a trance and I’m amazed at how many times I’ve gone into this feeling so tired or exhausted and come out feeling completely refreshed and focused, every time!
- Exercise: to increase serotonin such as jogging, swimming, fast walking
- Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong: – These ancient physical forms of movement focus on specific body movements and deep breathing. Each one is different but they all primarily involve meditation, breathing, and movement, increasing relaxation and decreasing stress.
- Adopting a pet dog, cat or bird: It has been shown that people with and animal have less stress, live longer and are much happier than those without. They can help with depression and give you something to enjoy coming home to each day.
- Going to sleep earlier: A well-known fact that the body needs at least 8 hours of sleep to help with healing and regeneration of cells. Waking up after only 5-6 hours lowers immunity, increases brain fog and causes irritations that may not normally be felt at times when one is well-rested. The irritation then produces a chemical reaction in the body, which causes more stress and it becomes a vicious cycle.
- Get a massage– Massage reduces high blood pressure, increases circulation, removes tension from muscles, creating a relaxed mind and body. With the right practitioner who understands your needs, you will walk away feeling refreshed and calm.
- Stop watching the news or social media– the emotions that are displayed in most of the stories are quite high and if you spend your time watching stories that create high tension and either frustration for the other, sadness, anger or concern, guess what shows up in the body? All the feelings you experience create chemicals within the body and the body must release these. better to watch funny, happy movies. The mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s not so if you’re watching shows that produce happy feelings, research shows, you will reduce your stress levels and increase your immune system function.
- Calming teas such as Chamomile, or St Johns Wort help to relax the mind. An anti-anxiety tea I found was mixing dried lavender, catnip and lemon balm.
- Diffusing essential oils to help calm the nervous system: It is well documented throughout research that essential oils have powerful healing effects on the physical body and mind and can impact the emotional states and the well being of individuals. Inhaled, worn on pendants, diffused or in a roller, each oil not only vibrates at its own frequency but stimulates nerve impulses sending signals to the amygdala and hippocampus, interacting with the cells of the brain, helping to release memories, stress and emotional trauma at its deepest level over short and long term periods that cause a reduction in stress, insomnia, anxiety, and other conditions.
- A nice scented bath with candles and 1 cup of Epsom salts. The salts detoxify the body, relaxing the muscles
- Flower Essences designed to work on increasing vibration- Bush flower essences such as emergency essence to help with emotional upset and crises, helps to calm and comfort the mind. Relationship essence is fantastic for emotional turmoil, resentment, confusion and an inability to relate or express feelings. Woman essence is great for when PMT is involved, moody behaviors and to help harmonise imbalances during menstruation and menopause. There are many more and if you can find a practitioner that is able to make up one specific for your needs then this is fantastic and something I do with many clients in clinic.
- Listen to your favourite music– music can harmonise and ground the body, bringing it back into balance and lifting heavy vibrations making one feel lighter, especially if it is created to relax the body and mind. Chanting music vibrates at a high frequency and will lift the soul into this higher vibration the more you listen to it.
Whichever of these you choose to do, remember you MUST choose it. Nothing will change if you do nothing to change. The choice to do something is the first step and gets you closer to your outcome or goal if you decide you want one.
And remember Rome was not built in a day right! So you cannot expect to start something and your whole world changes overnight, it, unfortunately, doesn’t work this way. Creating consistency is the key to future change, one where results are seen.
Set yourself and intention the minute you wake up. What do you want to achieve today? For those who do way too much, (like me) halve this, or write everything you need to do on a list. My husband put me onto Trello so I use this now to do a brain dump, then I pick five things I really want to get done and only focus on these until they are done. This will allow your mind to succeed, and not to feel like it’s overwhelming. Also remember, what fires together wires together. The more you do something, the more your synapses will become myelinated, and the easier you will find those tasks.
If your current behavior is getting in the way of your success with any of these things, take a moment to consider finding an accountability buddy. Choose a friend who understands where you want to be, the direction you want to head and make sure it’s someone who doesn’t question you or your ability, this just won’t work.
Find someone who has your back when the going gets tough, who will pull you up when you sink into your story, who will be honest and tell you to get up and keep fighting towards that goal you so desire.
Often, that type of friend isn’t available….so the help of a supportive, professional coach, whose job is to ensure that you achieve the results your heart desires, can make all the difference. A coach who is there for you and available to help you change your current level of thinking, who sees your potential, who believes in you and who can help you to discover this about yourself may be all that is needed.
Those who take the incredible step of accepting support from a coach, change their life forever! The results you start to experience in life are extraordinary.
If you would like some support in this area of your life why not give it a go, what have you got to lose really?
Send me an email at any time, I’m more than happy to chat with you about what you can expect to achieve.
In truth and kindness