De-stressing and relaxing
Giving yourself time off to relax and de-stress is vital towards having a positive mindset and dealing with difficult circumstances. It’s completely normal to be stressed out from time to time, it is what makes us human. But what’s good about stress is that it can easily be bought under control by utilising some easily implemented tricks such as mindfulness or cognitive behavioural therapy techniques. If you are finding yourself more stressed out than usual we have some excellent tips for winding down and de-stressing.
Spend some time with family and friends Humans are very social animals and there is a reason why being around people makes you feel good. Spending time with family and friends helps your brain create feel-good chemicals and endorphins that will help lift your mood and stop you feeling stressed out. Whether you’re just spending an hour with a friend sharing a coffee, having a day spent with the family, or even just spending the evening with a loved one doing the things you enjoy, you’ll feel more relaxed and de-stressed. Showing and sharing a bit of tender love and care is sometimes all you need to stop stress.
Breathe deeply A common mindfulness technique is to focus heavily on breathing deeply and to breathe in for four counts through your nose and breathe out through your mouth for four counts. The extra oxygen you get from breathing heavily helps slow down your nervous system, reduces blood pressure, and calms you down. Thanks to this method of de-stressing is so easy to do, you can simply take 2 minutes out of whatever is stressing you out to focus on your breathing and get right back to doing what were doing before and if you need to do repeat the process, repeat it until you feel you’ve de-stressed enough to get back on track with whatever it is you were doing.
Get enough sleep It sounds patronising but you should never underestimate the importance of having a good nights sleep. Having a regular sleep pattern is vital to regulating your mood and stress response. If you find yourself not getting enough sleep you’ll typically find yourself getting stressed out easier than usual. An average person needs roughly eight hours of a sleep a night, but if you’re finding yourself regularly undergoing significant levels of stress then you’ll need more than eight hours. Get yourself an early night and allow yourself to have a lie in on the weekends. A good night’s sleep will make you wake up the next day feeling rested, relaxed, refreshed, and ready for whatever comes your way.
Do some exercise Any kind of exercise will help regulate your stress, even if it’s just going for a walk. When you exercise your brain releases endorphins and feel-good chemicals that will counteract the stress hormone Cortisol. Exercising can help put your mind into a meditative state and can physically symbolise yourself exhaling stress whether its having a run, going for a bike ride, or a simple walk around the park.
Eat the right diet It has been scientifically shown that your mood is directly related to your diet. In fact, your diet is just about linked to every condition your body deals with. Having a balanced healthy diet will help keep stress under your control. Your brain releases feel good chemicals when you eat, especially when eating foods with a high sugar and fat content. Your brain rewards itself for being able to find nutrition that will keep you sustained until you find your next food source, that’s just how our brains process eating. But it is important to have a balanced diet as vitamins and minerals certainly help give your brain and body the boost it needs.
Chew gum Studies have shown that chewing a bit of gum can improve overall attentiveness and effectiveness by as mush as 67%! During testing people showed improvements in their levels of anxiety during mild and moderate stressful situations so if you need to destress without even having to think about destressing, pop a piece of gum in your mouth and get chewing.
Pet an animal Interacting with a furry friend has been shown to decrease cortisol levels dramatically and increases levels of the positive hormone oxytocin. Thanks to the de-stressing benefits dog owners are more likely to survive longer than a year after a major heart attack. Even universities are starting to introduce dog days where students can pet and play with dogs during exam times to help them de-stress while cat cafes are popping up allowing anyone to have a coffee and cuddle up with a furry companion. We even have our own therapy dog at Teenage Mental Health who works with us for this exact reason, to help de-stress patients and get them to feel relaxed.