Stress, be it emotional, physical or mental can all impact your health with negative consequences. When you are under stress, your brain sends signals to your heart to beat faster and to constrict blood vessels, thus increasing blood pressure. This increased pressure can damage arteries over time and lead to cardiovascular disease. Developing stress management techniques are important and can significantly improve your overall health. Here are some of our favourites:
Spend time outdoors
Heading outside for some fresh air is the simplest way to manage stress. Whether you walk the dog, go hiking or sit and watch the world pass by, being outdoors gives your body a chance to relax and counteract the negative effects that stress can have. Take note of your surroundings, avoid looking at your mobile and breathe deeply for maximum benefits.
Change your frame of mind
A lot of stress often comes from worrying about things outside of your control. Try not to get caught up in the ‘what if’ scenarios and avoid overthinking every little thing. Identifying what is in and out of your control will take away a great deal of unnecessary stress. Be mindful and focus on one thing at a time, enjoying successes big or small rather than focussing on unknown outcomes. This can take some time to perfect but once you do, it is a life changer.
Do things that make you happy
When was the last time you did something for yourself? Too often we get caught up with work, family and social obligations and forget to look at the bigger picture. Try and schedule some time for yourself each day to do what makes you happy. Read a book, sit in the garden with a cup of tea, take up a hobby. Looking after yourself is important and remember it’s Ok to say no to avoid brain overload!
Take time out to exercise and your body as well as mind. Yoga, tai-chi and meditation are a good place to start. These activities help to release stress physically as well as focussing the brain on something other than negativity. Breathing teachniques developed in these activities are also valuable and can be used daily to further help you de-stress.
Written by Perri Simon
SiSU Wellness Nutritionist