The Express – Simple ways to stop stress
There are several simple steps you can take to stop stress in its tracks. Discover how to take control of your mood and banish worries by following our advice.
STOP RUSHING AROUND
Rushing everywhere is part of everyday life but it’s stressful. When you’re always in a hurry your body gets the impression that you’re going to be late, which makes you feel anxious.
Giving yourself an extra five minutes to do things will make you physically slow down.
This means that you don’t have to barge people out of the way or juggle four shopping bags while negotiating a flight of stairs.
Focusing on one thing at a time is another surefire way to help you slow down. Keep multi-tasking to a minimum and you’ll automatically feel calmer.
A healthy diet can counteract the impact of stress, improve your immune system and also lower blood pressure.
Foods rich in vitamin C such as broccoli, cauliflower and kiwi help return blood pressure and cortisol levels (the stress hormone released during the body’s fight or flight response) to normal.
If your body is feeling calmer your head will soon follow. Oats and bananas both contain serotonin, the feelgood, calming hormone.
So for breakfast make a bowl of porridge and slice a banana on top. Cut down on caffeine and nicotine as these stimulants can increase the physical symptoms of anxiety.
When you exercise you help to minimise the negative changes that occur in the body during stress.
Working out gives you a boost by releasing endorphins that naturally make you feel good. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and is good for your heart.
If you’re unused to exercising visit a gym and seek advice from a personal trainer.
Make sure you do something you enjoy. By setting realistic goals and taking up activities such as walking, swimming or dancing you’ll be more likely to stick to a routine.
The importance of social support can’t be underestimated. While you may not feel like going out, seeing people will take your mind off things and remind you of your life outside your worries.
Why not meet up with friends or family and go out for a brisk winter walk this weekend?
Lack of sleep is a common symptom of stress and anxiety. If you’re having trouble sleeping it’s important to keep to a routine, going to bed at a similar time each day and waking up at the same time so your body knows when to expect sleep.
You can also take steps to improve your sleeping habits. Start off by improving where you sleep. Make the environment inviting, welcoming and calming. This will put you in a mindset for sleep.
It needs to be as dark as possible as we’re programmed to wake when it’s light outside. So consider investing in blackout blinds or an eye mask if your room isn’t dark enough.
When you’re stressed you will be more sensitive to distractions and noise serves as one of the biggest. Invest in earplugs if your room is too noisy. Also if your surroundings are too hot you’ll have difficulty dropping off.
A cooler room makes it easier to sleep but make sure that you’re not too cold.
This Book Will Make You Calm by Dr Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar (Quercus, £7.99). It is available to buy through expressbooks.co.uk