Tips to help you combat stress

April is Stress Awareness Month, so we’re taking the opportunity to share some tips that could help you to combat stress. It’s important to note, that it’s perfectly normal to feel stressed – it’s something we all experience throughout our lives. But normal or not, it certainly isn’t a pleasant feeling.

Although we all respond differently to stress, there are various tactics we can use to alleviate the symptoms. We’ve outlined some of these tips below.

Go for a walk

Getting some fresh air and exercise can work wonders on your mental health and be a great way of reducing stress. But we don’t always feel like hiking up a mountain or doing lengths in the swimming pool. Fortunately, even a gentle stroll can help minimise stress levels. In fact, being outside alone can have hugely restorative, calming results.

Help someone else

In a recent article, we explored the impact that being kind to others has on our mental health. On a purely chemical level, acts of kindness prompt a release of dopamine, the so-called natural antidepressant. This is why doing good makes us feel good. The next time you’re feeling stressed, try putting some energy and focus into helping another person.

Light a candle

Lighting a candle can help to ease feelings of stress and anxiety. Candles with essential oils in them, such as lavender, geranium or bergamot, are noted to be particularly soothing. Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of aromatherapy, with results demonstrating a significant reduction in stress levels. Try out some different scents and see what works for you.

Practise gratitude

When we’re feeling stressed, our brains are working overtime – often thinking about all the things we haven’t done and everything we need to do. Practising gratitude can help to ground us and bring our awareness back to the things that are going well amidst the chaos.

Studies have shown that regularly and consciously practising gratitude can, among other things, lower stress levels and increase your overall happiness. Interestingly, it can be even more beneficial to physically write down your gratitude points.

Take deep breaths

You’ve likely heard this one before, but there’s a good reason for it. When we’re stressed, our bodies enter fight-or-flight mode, meaning our hearts beat faster and our blood vessels constrict. Breathing deeply helps to focus our awareness on the breath to make it slower and more controlled. By doing this, you’ll slow your heart rate which can help you to feel calmer.

Understand the cause

Take stock of how you’re feeling and try to dig deep to uncover the causes of your stress. When we know the root cause, we can better understand and overcome the stress that ensues. It could be helpful to keep a journal and monitor how you’re feeling and see if any patterns emerge.

We encourage you to give these tips a try. There isn’t always a quick fix for stress and we understand how overwhelming the associated thoughts and feelings can be. Start small and be gentle with yourself.

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