8 Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress is something we will all experience at one time or another – whether it’s the everyday challenges of work or family life, or major life issues such as health concerns or financial struggles. While it’s not always possible to control your circumstances, you can control how you respond to them.

When stress becomes overwhelming or chronic, it can take a toll on your mental and physical health so it's important to have effective stress relievers at your disposal. Be aware that techniques that work for one person might not work for another – sometimes it’s a case of trial and error to find to what works best for you.

1. Focus on Breathing

When we’re stressed, our breaths become shallow and this puts our body on high alert. Taking the time to focus on how you’re breathing and purposely taking slow, deep breaths can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate, easing feelings of stress.

The good thing about breathing exercises is that you can do them anywhere and they are effective within a minute or two – perfect for if you’re in a stressful situation at work or whenever you simply don’t have much time. There are lots of exercises out there to try – here are a few examples.

2. Take a Walk

Taking a step back from whatever it is that’s causing you to feel stressed to go for a quick walk is a simple but effective way to feel rejuvenated. Whether it’s to take a break from a stressful work task or to take some time to gather your thoughts after an argument, going for a quick walk gives you the benefit of a little alone time, fresh air and exercise.

3. Get Creative

Often as we get older, we tend to spend less time doing creative activities - but it’s never too late! Drawing and painting are great ways to reset your stressed mind, but many people are intimidated by these hobbies out of fear of not being good enough. If this is the case, why not try doodling on a piece of paper, or an adult colouring book, and work your way up from there?

Getting in touch with your creative side is a great way to switch off your mind and fully focus on what you’re doing right there and then. Once you’ve finished, you might find you have a completely new perspective on whatever was stressing you out beforehand.

4. Eat a Balanced Diet

When we’re feeling overwhelmed by things or we’re short for time, we often reach for fast foods or unhealthy, sugary snacks. These kind of foods can make us feel better temporarily (caused by a spike in blood sugar), but soon after your blood sugar levels come crashing down - this can make us feel even more stressed or anxious than we were in the first place.

To avoid this, try eating a more balanced diet incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables. Don’t worry, the odd snack is still okay but it’s more about achieving balance and moderation in what we eat and learning to avoid “emotional eating”.

5. Yoga

Pracitising yoga is a well-known, effective stress reliever because of it’s combination of breathing, meditation, movement and stretching. The idea of meditation and yoga can be off-putting for some, so if it’s not really your thing, find a quiet place and try simply closing your eyes and stretching for a few minutes. You can find lots of short, beginner yoga videos on YouTube – and you can even do yoga at your desk!  

6. Exercise

Exercise in general is a great way to relieve stress because moving your body releases endorphins  (hormones that make you feel happy). You don’t need to have a gym membership or be running marathons every week – exercise can include a short walk, gardening or going for a swim. You could even start by switching out one journey a week where you’d usually drive or take public transport, and walk or cycle instead. The key to doing more exercise is to find something you enjoy. Once you’ve managed that, you won’t look back.

7. Talk to a Friend

Sharing your feelings with a friend always helps. Being able to vent to someone helps us feel more reassured and calm, and hearing a different take on things can often give you a new perspective on what was bothering you. And let’s not forget, catching up with a friend can also help us laugh – another way of releasing endorphins and improving your mood.

8. Write it all down

Sometimes we aren’t able to get in touch with a friend – maybe they’re at work or have plans. Whenever you aren’t able to talk to someone in person (or over the phone / virtually), try writing down what you’re feeling on some paper. This exercise can be equally as soothing, and once all of your stresses are down on the paper, they seem less intimidating. Some people find writing out a to-do list and crossing out one thing at a time helpful too.

There are many other ways to alleviate stress which we haven’t even touched upon: cuddling your pet, making a cup of herbal tea, getting a good night’s sleep, running a hot bath, or watching your favourite TV show. It can be hard to prioritise relaxation and self-care when you’ve got so much to think about and so much to do, but setting aside a bit of time to tend to your own wellbeing and happiness can make the world of a difference.


Where to Find Us

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Liber8 (Lanarkshire) Ltd.,
1-3 Station Road, Blantyre,
South Lanarkshire, G72 9AA

01698 533 035