Top ten tips to help reduce stress

Stress is one of the most difficult things to deal with as it a real issue for many people in their everyday lives. Some stress can be helpful and necessary as it enables the body to be ready to deal with challenges and tasks, but when it is excessive and or not released it can lead to physical disease as well as low mood and emotional trauma. There are a number of things that we can all do to help to minimise the effect of stress:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. This may not be what you want to hear when some or most of these substances are used to 'help you deal' with stressful situations, but be aware of the risks and perhaps moderate your intake.
  • Take exercise. Exercise helps to let the body restore itself from stress induced anxiety – the fight or flight hormones can be utilised and bring the body back to its natural state.
  • Get enough sleep. The events of the day are processed and stored in the correct memory banks during sleep, and the body undergoes a restorative process during the night.
  • Relaxation techniques. Take time to breathe deeply. There are many relaxation techniques available running from guided visualisation CDs to yoga, and many other things that may resonate with you.
  • Mindfulness. Be aware of yourself, your body and focus on the now rather than tomorrow. Be present in the current task.
  • Nutrition and hydration. The body craves good food (not meaning expensive) and water. Attending to this gives the body the building blocks for health, and allows the body to break down and eliminate toxins.
  • Talk. Sharing problems with family, friends or others can help. Talking to a counsellor / psychotherapist allows you to explore issues with someone who is impartial, non-judgemental and helps to facilitate a healing process.
  • Write it down. This is a useful technique to both crystallise things that need to be done, and to note down the things that are bothering us. This can be releasing.
  • Manage time, including ‘me’ time. Doing things in an organised way can help, as can ensuring that we have enough time to do the things that are important to us. Prioritise ‘me’ time by booking that time into your working schedule as if it were a work appointment that cannot be missed.
  • Say no. Do not be afraid to say that you cannot take on a task at the moment, or that you are not able to do something. Be aware of yourself and your own limits and only take on what you can properly manage.