Stress is an inevitable part of everyone’s lives, in varying forms and amounts. We all have to learn ways to reduce stress in order to effectively cope with many situations in life. Using the following stress management techniques you can address the stresses in your life.
While some level of stress can be productive and encourage us to get motivated, too much stress can lead to serious health problems including weight gain, (and certainly thwart your efforts to lose weight), so it is imperative that we manage our stress levels adequately.
For day 9 of your weight loss plan I prepared for you 15 simple ways to reduce stress. They are aimed at helping you to remove yourself from stressful situations and feel instant relief.
15 Easy Techniques To Reduce Stress
► Prepare the night before – whether this is making the lunches, setting clothes out or loading the car, it will save valuable minutes in the morning. These extra few moments saved are precious, as mornings are often a source of stress.
► Practice deep breathing techniques – take a deep breath, hold it in and slowly release. Do this for five minutes every time you feel stressed and you will instantly feel better.
► Listen to music – listening to music can relax us when stressed. Pick your genre of music carefully. You want relaxing music. Easy listening types be it classical or pop are the best types of music to listen to when you want to relieve stress.
► Have a backup plan – life rarely goes according to plan, so having a backup plan is always a good idea. If something does go wrong, it is much less stressful to know that we have a Plan B, which we can put into action straight away.
► Remind yourself of positive affirmations regularly – affirmations can be memorized and repeated relatively easily and quickly and usually work instantly.
► Get more citrus – whether it’s through fruit teas, smelling fresh citrus fruits, or eating them as snacks. Citrus reduces levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine, thus making us feel much better.
► Eat more dark chocolate – chocolate particularly that with a high cocoa content, has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels. Dark chocolate helps to regulate cortisol, one of the main stress hormones. My favorite way to have dark chocolate and avoid the sugar, is to add a couple of heaping teaspoons of pure unsweetened cocoa powder into a glass of skim milk. I love the bitter dark chocolate taste of this chocolate milk.
► Laugh – laughter has been shown to be a great form of stress relief. By laughing, we activate our stress response, and then swiftly close it down. It also stimulates our brain chemicals and other organs in the body. The effect? A general increase in overall well being. Even a forced smile can bring benefits and laughing at a funny video or picture can also be highly beneficial.
► Be realistic – accept that some things are completely out of our control. As soon as you learn to accept that, you will instantly become less stressed.
► Say no to some things – it is impossible to do everything all the time. As soon as you learn to start saying no and prioritizing your time, your stress levels will drastically reduce. Accept that you are human and only capable of so much in one go.
► Do yoga regularly – which has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and resulting depression. Yoga poses align the mind and body, and the breathing element helps to clear the mind and eradicate the effects of the fight or flight response to stress
► Eat healthy – eating healthily makes a big difference. If you are feeling good on the inside, you will manage daily life much better. This one is a catch 22 because actually stress sabotages your good eating habits and causes you to gain weight. Weight gain, of course will make you more stressed out. It is a vicious cycle, and you need to be very mindful of eating healthy and not give in.
► Declutter – a house or workplace that is full of things and overflowing is a source of stress. Have a clear out and declutter, removing all but essential items. A relaxed environment will help relax your mind.
► Communicate with your friends – friends are there for us during the best and worst times, and everything in-between. Use friends for what they’re good for – being there during hard times. Just phoning them and getting everything that is stressing you out off your chest can work wonders.
► Go for a walk outside – even just a short one on your lunch break. A short 10 minute walk can help clear your mind, be a distraction, and significantly improve your mood.
Hopefully some of these stress reducing techniques will help you reduce stress. For me the best way to de-stress is to meditate. Even if you just close your eyes for a few minutes and think of nothing at all… it will help.