Is work or your home life stressing you out? In the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. Stress can affect us in numerous ways, both physically and emotionally. It is must to reduce stress levels. Stress can affect our emotions, thoughts, behaviour and how our body works. It can cause sleep problems, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating.
Therefore, it is important to know how to reduce stress levels and what works best for you!
1. Reduce your consumption of caffeine and alcohol
Try to avoid or reduce, your consumption of drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant, which will increase your level of stress rather than reduce stress levels. Alcohol is a depressant when drunk in large quantities, but acts as a stimulant when consumed in smaller quantities. If you are looking to cut out both habits, give it time and don’t expect it to happen overnight! Help lower your stress levels by swapping caffeinated and alcoholic drinks for water or herbal teas to keep your body hydrated.
Read more: 5 steps to a healthier you inside and out
2. Don’t ditch your exercise routine
When we are stressed, the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body increase. Exercise can help to stabilise excessive stress hormones, and restore your wellbeing to a calmer state. Being physically active won’t make your stress disappear altogether, however, as the endorphins are released as you exercise, it helps you to feel better and maintain a positive attitude. Choose a sport or exercise class that you like, and keep it up on a regular basis to reduce stress levels. If you aren’t a fan of the gym, then choose an exercise class which is more fun and has a vibrant atmosphere. There exists a wide variety of classes that are quirky such as trampolining, disco yoga, aerial trapeze, FloatFit, Bikram yoga, BoomCycle or HulaFit.
Read more: Fun exercises for those who hate working out
3. Try to better your sleep to reduce stress levels
A lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress; however, stress also interrupts our sleep as our minds keep going around in circles. Sleep and stress can be a vicious cycle where one impairs the other, which can heighten all of our emotions and make things seem worse than they are. Maximise relaxation techniques before going to bed and make your bedroom a safe stress-free space. Have a warm bath, read an easy book, or listen to some calming music, to help you destress and enter a relaxed mindset.
4. Eat your way to lower stress level
When it comes to stress, what you eat can impact your mood. Some foods can stabilise your blood sugar levels, and your response to emotional situations. Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain folate, which produces dopamine, a chemical that helps you keep calm. Foods containing protein like turkey, are very good as the amino acid (tryptophan) which is found in protein helps produce serotonin, the chemical that regulates feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Other foods containing tryptophan includes nuts, seeds, tofu, fish, lentils, oats, beans, and eggs. Avoid highly refined foods such as white bread, pasta, biscuits, sweets or foods with added sugars. Consuming high levels of foods with lots of sugar can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate, and consequentially cause your moods to change. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable will make you more resilient and keep you energised which reduce stress levels.
5. Find your happy stress-free place
Doing things you enjoy is a natural way to reduce stress and find your happy place. Even when you are down and everything seems tough, try to find happiness in the simplest of things and forget all of the stress in your life. If you enjoy walking go for a walk, catch up with an old friend, read your favourite book or watch that film you have been meaning to see for ages; or if you like art then paint, draw, or use the colour mindfulness books to reduce stress levels. Having some ‘me time’ is a vital element to our emotional wellbeing, so find your happy stress-free place and relax.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself
When you are stressed, try to keep things in perspective and remember that we all have bad days. Don’t think too much into it or beat yourself up for having high stress levels, give yourself a break. Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself and how well you are doing, write down 3 things that you are grateful for or has gone well that day. Accept that there are things you can’t change and remain positive about everything. Read below more to know how to reduce stress levels.
7. Volunteer or do community work
If you are looking to take your mind off of your stress, why not help others through volunteering or community work. Helping someone who is in a worse situation than your own will put things into perspective and make you more resilient. Taking time out from your every day life can clear your head and reduce stress levels.
8. Cut out what causes you stress
Sometimes there is no getting rid of some stressful things unless you cut it out of your life. Therefore, getting rid of the things that are adding to your stress can reduce your stress levels and make you feel more calm. Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices and social media, eating lots of sugary foods, or drinking alcohol or caffeine. Changing some of your daily habits can help you to feel better, more relaxed and happier. Along with cutting out some things which cause you stress, you can also make some lifestyle changes to minimise stress levels. For example, if you commute to work or do the school run, leave a little earlier than you normally would so that you are not rushing about to get to places on time.
Now that you have read our tips on how to reduce stress levels. Just try to apply them in your every day life and see how your stress levels fair.