A jewel of a trend

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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.”

JUST BREATHE

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.

EAT RIGHT

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

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