9 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

When you hear the word H E A L T H –
What comes up for you?
What thoughts do you have?

Some divert directly to DIET – GYM – LYCRA – an ‘uh oh! here I go again another failed attempt at my weight loss programme!’
The focus on deprivation or pain.
For others, the focus is on healthy habits, lifestyle change and holistic happiness.
Perhaps, even saying those words provide an alternative spin on our mindset?

Whatever HEALTH means to you – there is a common thread that often gets overlooked – the ‘S’ wordS T R E S S

So what does STRESS have to do with being healthy?

A question that I ignored for years. The culmination was a diagnosis of adrenal fatigue & exhaustion. I lived continuously feeling the pace of life’s treadmill, overwhelmed in an underhappy state of fatigue. In our modern world we have become accustomed to believing this is how life rolls forgetting the vital role of self care for our wellness.

Simply put… our stress levels affect EVERYTHING.
How we feel, what we think, what we see 
(or don’t see ) 
what we do (or don’t do) and HOW we do it.

Being in a consistent state of STRESS can result in insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease, issues with digestion and so much more.  This will affect your physical, mental and energetic wellness.


As the month of MAY is Mental Health Awareness month in the US & an awareness week in the UK we’ve put together
some top tips with
9 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Stress
We’ve included a few pointers for healthy habits that can be accessed no matter what life throws your way.
Take a look. It could be exactly what you need.


#1 BREATHE DEEPLY & GET YOUR ZEN-ON


Ah…and breathe! And.. feel it – it will take 3 minutes to reset from confusion to calm.  Anytime – anywhere and its FREE!

Without doubt this is one of THE simplest ways to reconnect with yourself and re-centre …pause …then breathe. It’s a moment in time that will change the next moment.

How many times do you forget to breathe deeply? How many of us breathe only using the top part of our lungs? What a waste of beautiful cells that we have access to!



HABIT ALERT!

Place your hands on your tum, sit up straight and just do it – breathe!
Breathe in
for the count of 4
whilst feeling or
watching your belly lift: 
Hold at the top
for the count of 7:
Exhale for a count of 8 watching your belly lower.

Repeat this for 5 minutes.
It may feel a little awkward at first but trust the process.
It really works and you will not fail to reap the rewards.

Think in this pattern…
IN 4 – HOLD 7 – OUT  8

Think about your breath and visualise this the air around us – this magical source of life entering your body and getting to feed your brain!  That image alone slows down that busy brain chatter and restores a sense of inner peace. It takes 3 minutes to RESET.

Breathe work with Mindfulness and Meditation has been linked to psychological well-being and other positive effects .

I’ve written exclusively around the Meditation Movement in my blog because it’s time to join the revolution!
Want to know more? Take a look HERE

BREATHWORK Calms – Helps clarity of thought
–Reduces stress


#2. MOVE IT & get a SWEAT ON.

Want to get it out? Sweat it out!

Whatever ‘Movement’ means and works for you.

What works for your body ?

Movement = more than the usual needs of getting from ‘A2B’ will lower the body’s stress hormones, improve your sleep, boost your confidence and build muscle.

Movement and exercise,  releases mood-boosting endorphins and can jumpstart your circulation, sending necessary nutrients all over your body.  

Whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed – find a way to move!
You’ll not only feel fantastic – you will glow & radiate that positive vibe that you connect to. You will only win being your best at that moment.


#3. WRITE IT


At times we need to process what’s going on in our days – by writing it down helps us to get honest with how we are feeling. Writing it down can help gain clarity and release some of the emotions and feelings we might otherwise hold inside.

I was a sceptic on this until I gave it a go – I learnt that I lived so much with the chatter in my head. t.

By getting it out on paper disassociated it from my mind! At times I went from a feeling of frustration as the chatter continued belly laughing when I committed the situation to paper! I had no idea how powerful this would be to let it go! List 5 things that always and immediately bring a smile to your face.

By spilling out whatever is in your mind can help you really connect to what is true for you and help you to formulate
and design the life you really love.



HABIT ALERT!
Journal at the end of every day – either before or after your gratitude practice.  It does not have to be an essay!  To help get you started have a think around and reflect on a few questions: watching your belly lower.

  • List 5 things that always and immediately bring a smile to your face.
  • What have you dreamed about but never shared with anyone else?
  • What are 3 thoughts that made you smile today.
  • What gives you light?
  • What would you do if you knew you would fail?

  • How have you been (or how can you be) a kindness rockstar?


#4. SHARE IT


Love safety and belonging are known to be vital human needs

There are few things in life better than sharing with a person you love & trust.
It’s such a weight lifted off of your shoulders to get it all out there and express how you are feeling –  think of it as a SAW approach Safely Authentically Without judgement.

It’s also a great way to get perspective on what you are experiencing and uncover blocks or any blind spots. When you are experiencing drama or a time of challenge, you are exist at the coal face & it can be difficult to see a way through.

Phoning a friend, speaking with a family member or discussing with a certified professional can bring a deep sense of clarity and relief that you may not get to on your own.  That monkey mind can keep you dancin’ & procrastinating!

Human connection is critical. It makes you feel understood and validated. The person you choose to share with, may shine a light on any darkness, bring colour into the room &
even be able to make you laugh within a silver lining.

I hear BRENE BROWN over and over –
“We don’t have to do it (life) all alone – we were never meant to”

It’s the power of your bonds created in supporting each other through life’s challenges.  The power of friendship. The power of connection.

SHARING Calms – Helps clarity of thought – Reduces stress


#5. TOUCH NATURE –
DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT


Ahhh …touch nature & breathe.Disconnect to your busy-ness and reconnect to the present. A healing tip that lowers heart rate and feeds your mind, body and soul.

In Japan The practice of Shinrin-Yoku Forest Therapy literally means taking a forest bath in an atmosphere of a forest. It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. out and touch nature to lower cortisol levels.

Walks outside have been linked to better mood. Greenery has been shown to increase creativity. Simply looking out a window at trees and other foliage can help you heal faster

So, take a hike. Walk your dog. Enjoy a stroll through a park. It’ll not only keep you physically active, it’ll help comfort your mind as well.


I’ve written a blog specifically on the art of Shinrin-Yoku Forest Bathing as I found both the concept and practice fascinating – check it out –
publishing 1 June!

What better natural remedy than, well, nature itself? Study after study has touted the benefits some fresh air can have on your mental health


#6. GET HUGGING
ACTIVATE that OXYTOCIN

– the Love Hormone


Touch is one of the quickest ways to dispel your bad vibes. From cuddling, a massage to hugging or physical intimacy, being touched by another human nurtures and soothes your body, mind and spirit. This releases a feel-good chemical called oxytocin.

OXYTOCIN has long been referred to as “the LOVE hormone” & the “CUDDLE hormone,” because we – and our pets – release it when we hug, touch, or look lovingly into someone’s eyes. This increases our attachment to that person or our furry friends.

OXYTOCIN is known for producing an immediate feeling of personal satisfaction and is especially important for driving the emotional bond between parent and offspring, which helps ensure continuity of the species.

OXYTOCIN is a powerful neuropeptide that can ease stress and boost your mood. So, next time you’re feeling down on yourself, ask a friend for a quick hug, request a back rub from your significant other or curl up

Even a simple touch can go a long way to helping
you be happier and less stressed.


#7. PRACTICE GRATITUDE


A mind-blowingly powerful practice. It’s free, its impactful and the more you practice the happier you feel – perfect for daily practice!

Gratitude helps relieve stress & anxiety by focussing your thoughts on what’s going well. The joys of the positive parts of our lives. This truly uplifts from within.

Gratitude is a deep well of peace and clarity that you can tap into regardless of the goings on in your life. This practice gives you the strength to get back up even times are tough.

Studies have indicated that practising grateful will have positive impacts on your state of mind and your overall happiness and vitality.


HABIT ALERT!

I start and end each day writing 3 things that I’m grateful for.
In the morning it sets the mood & vibe of my day & I use this practice in the evening reflection. I  found it really helps my sleep patterns and connections to calm.
Give it a go!

So, go ahead—put gratitude into practice in your daily life.

There is everything to gain.  


#8. SELF CARE – REST UP & HEAL



It’s bonkers isn’t it? We would not do it to our phones – we would plug them in to rejuvenate depleted reserves! What makes us run ourselves beyond reserves but to Empty. Self-care is vital.

Making yourself a priority will enable you to focus on the important things in your life.  Small & Simple things like taking a walk, a pit stop to your favourite café, a spot of gardening can all make a difference.

Acknowledging that you are THE most important person in your life resets the focus – fill your cup so you can fill others.

Too often, we run our energy reserves so dry that sleep is the first thing to be affected. I’m reminded how I used to burn the midnight oil (and beyond) whilst I caught up on on those chores for others – then I would enter the next day even more drained.

SLEEP is one of the most soothing things you can do for your body because it’s a chance for your system to restore and repair itself.

Feel like you need a break?  A cat nap or a snooze is a great way to shape up and catch up no matter what’s going on around you.

Research suggests that losing even a little sleep can have a huge impact on your mood and your ability to achieve peak performance. So, when times get tough, start countin’ sheep. It might just be the reset you need.

#9. GET YOUR GROOVE ON
Music heals how you feel.

Research show that listening to music can have a profound impact on how you feel.

Soothing music can calm – resets the sympathetic nervous system – combine that with deep breathing for a double whammy.

I adore piano music which I know settles my mind body and soul.  I thank my mum for the gift of music throughout my childhood and full appreciation for all genres.

MUSIC CREATES MEMORIES and creates fun and laughter even on a dull day.  There is a bundle of fun in listening to your favourite jam accompanied by a sing-off and dance-off with yourself. LISTEN – SING – DANCE whatever gets your groove on.

I’m thrown back to Madonna’s 60th birthday last year with my impromptu dance off in the lounge – those majestic  80’s hits blasting out of the speakers. It was 11am noon in the morning – best workout for my head and a boost for the stress reducing endorphins –  set me up for a wonderfully productive afternoon!


HABIT ALERT!
Why not book in a 15 minute music revival break every day?  This will get you multitasking whilst reducing stress! Find a space at work – share it with a friend.

If you add a hug with yourself, or your friend at the end of a revival break this will tick many of the boxes – stepping back, breathe, self-care, groove, laugh, then you can write about it and use it to practice gratitude! Sounds perfect to us!


Give those stress reducing endorphins a boost


Do you know what is even more beautiful about ALL these?
They are all absolutely FREE! It’s our choice to embrace them to give us the key to unlocking the opportunities that await.


At Tides of Change, we believe that establishing healthy habits is key to reigniting our energy & vitality.
Reducing stress is fundamental to a truly healthy life.

Travel lightly to shine brightly,

Sarah Linton

Principle Coach | Tides of Change
Habit Change | Health |Resilience