A jewel of a trend
distracting yourself instead of creating an action plan, get yourself to choose a now step – a small, meaningful action you can take right away that might not solve the whole problem but that will get your brain moving forward.”
Breathing may come naturally to all of us, but deep abdominal breathing does not. Get the hang of this and it has been shown to directly help people manage their stress positively by increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain, and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system to promote a state of calmness.
“Controlling the breath helps to calm the mind and changes your pattern of attachment to a particular anxiety or stress,” says Patrick Beach, yoga Instagram star and global yoga ambassador.
“When you’re feeling stressed, channel the energy that comes from this into a
88% FELT BETTER AFTER A CRY, AND THIS MAY NOT BE DUE TO EMOTIONAL RELEASE ALONE
breathing ritual, inhaling and exhaling slowly for a count of three. This should help you to feel calm and focus the mind, enabling you to gain the perspective to channel your stress to a positive outcome.”
CRY IT OUT
How many times have you felt so stressed, you end up having to bite your lip and fight back the tears? It turns out that letting go may be a more positive response. A study by the University of Florida showed that 88.8% of respondents felt better after a cry, and this may not be due to emotional release alone.
Research shows tears associated with emotion contain higher levels of essential proteins like manganese, which aids blood clotting and lowers cholesterol. The study also found skin sensitivity increases during crying and that breathing deepens.
“It is possible crying is both an arousing distress signal and a means to restore psychological and physiological balance,” concluded the researchers. Whatever the case, it appears breaking open a box of tissues could be a good thing.
LEARN FROM IT
We’re often told to try to eliminate stress from our lives so we don’t even have to deal with it. But psychologist Kelly McGonigal, author of The Upside of Stress, argues it is a positive learning experience and should be embraced.
“Stress releases a hormone called DHEA, which actually helps our brains learn,” she says. “So rather than worrying about the fact that you’re ruminating, thinking about the stressful experience is part of what makes stress helpful.”
CHANNEL THE LOVE
While some shout and scream when they’re stressed, others retreat and attempt to deal with it on their own. Yet when we are feeling stressed, we release the neurotransmitter oxytocin. Also known as the love molecule, this is released when we kiss someone and is also associated with empathy.
“It’s a social hormone that makes you want to connect with others, and makes you more caring,” explains Kelly. So, next time you feel stressed about something, use it as an excuse to connect with your loved ones rather than shutting yourself away – it will help you to gain some perspective too.
Stress may make you feel like you want to put your head in a bucket of prosecco or eat an entire tub of ice cream but comfort eating or drinking our way through stress can actually make us feel worse in the long run and contribute to the increased production of cortisol.
Eating the right foods can help ensure your body has the right vitamins and minerals to control and reduce stress, so start to use stress as a switch or reminder to eat well.
“Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium all help support a healthy stress response, while magnesium in particular is known to aid relaxation and reduce anxiety,” explains nutritionist Christine Bailey. “Magnesium-rich foods include leafy greens, yoghurt, avocado, seeds, chocolate and almonds.”
If you don’t think you are getting enough magnesium in your diet, a supplement can help in times of ongoing stress. B vitamins are also very helpful, as well as many herbs such as valerian, ashwaganda and ginseng. Look for supplements that mention stress or adrenal support, as it’s the adrenals which produce cortisol and regulate the amount released.
72% BELIEVE THEY’RE AT GREATER RISK OF BURNING OUT THAN EVER BEFORE