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  • Writer's pictureSharon K

10 Practical Ways to Handle Stress plus Breathing Exercise

Lets Beat the Stress

Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure and it is not a great feeling, as I am sure you know. Experiencing stress is a normal part of life and some stress can be good as it motivates you to take action and feel more alive but when you constantly feel under pressure it can be very damaging.

Stress can have an impact on your health physically, mentally and emotionally. Over time it can lead to issues such as anxiety and depression, difficulty sleeping, high blood pressure, heart disease and much more.

Becoming more aware of stress, how it affects you and learning to apply various coping mechanisms can certainly help if you are feeling overwhelmed. Check out the tips below:

Take control

If you think you are powerless do anything about your problems, your stress can get worse. The feeling of not being in control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing. Identify and acknowledge what is causing your stress and challenge your fears. By taking control you feel empowered and it's a crucial part of finding a solution that is right for you. Also accept that some things you can't change so concentrating on the things you do have control over can help.

Avoid unhealthy habits

Be aware of your habits when you are feeling stressed and avoid relying on alcohol, smoking, caffeine or comfort eating as your way of coping. They might provide temporary relief, but in the long term, they won't solve your problems and could create new ones. It's best to tackle the cause of your stress.

Plan and work smarter

Prioritise your work by concentrating on the tasks that are most urgent and ones that will make the most difference. Leave the least important tasks to last. Accept that you will not have time for everything. To-do lists can help you, break them down by having the ‘must-do’ things at the top.

Press Pause

A knee-jerk reaction in a stressful situation can often make the stress and the situation worse, so it pays to take a moment by pausing, focusing on your breathing and letting the moment that has triggered you pass. Physically take a step back and change perspective, just stepping into another room or changing the chair you sit on can help you see things differently.

Connect with others

Having a good support network of family, friends or colleagues can ease your troubles and help you see things in a different way. Activities with friends can often help you relax and relieve stress. Talking things through with a friend may also help you find solutions to your problems.

Make time to do things you enjoy

If you work long hours, you probably don’t often spend time doing things you really enjoy but it’s important to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise. Try setting aside a couple of hours a week for some quality "me time" away from work and chores to boost your mental wellbeing.

Be active

Physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for stress as it helps to reduce cortisol levels (stress hormone) and generally improves your health and overall feelings of wellbeing. Exercise won't make your stress disappear, but it can reduce some of the emotional intensity that you're feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly.

Spend some time in nature

Nature is your natural antidote to a stressful life. Being outdoors calms your nervous system, boosts your mood and restores feelings of wellbeing enabling you to handle the pressures of life better. It is vitally important for your mental and physical health to spend some time in a natural environment such as park or woodland, or near water. Seek nature out whenever you can. Go for a walk in your lunchbreak, stand outdoors for a few minutes and notice nature around you whenever you feel stress building. Don't under-estimate the healing power of nature.

Get more Zen

Ancient practices such as yoga and qigong can help to restore balance and calm to your life as the gentle flowing movements help to re-connect your mind, body and spirit. Meditating and practicing mindfulness are also hugely beneficial in helping you to feel calmer and manage stress better.

Take deep breaths

The way you breathe has a lot to do with how relaxed you feel. Deep breaths are essential to get the mind thinking clearly and for the body to slow down. Slower, deep breaths help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system restoring you to a calmer state.

For more tips download the FREE guide below

Easy breathing technique for stress or anxiety

This simple calming exercise takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere. You can do it standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or mat on the floor. Try it whenever you feel stress building up.

woman reducing stress with breathwork
Restore Calm with your breath

Make yourself comfortable and loosen any clothing that can restrict your breathing.

If you're sitting, place your arms on the chair arms or just have your hands resting on your lap and your feet flat on the ground.

If you're lying down, place your arms by your sides, palms facing upward. Your legs can be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.

If you're standing, place both feet flat on the ground roughly hip-width apart. Now following the instructions below:

  • Allow your breath to flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable (feeling it expand like a balloon), without forcing it.

  • Then let it your breath flow out gently (feeling your belly contract)

  • Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.

  • Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.

  • Try to gradually slow your breathing down.

  • Keep doing this for at least 5 minutes. You can close your eyes if you want.

Breathe in calm and exhale stress!

In warmth

Sharon K

Holistic Health and Wellness Coach

Reiki Master/Teacher

FREE Resources

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Information provided for general educational purposes only and not intended to replace medical advice

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