How To Manage and Reduce Stress Levels?

Isn’t stress just about everywhere we look? Everyone wants to get rid of it and yet everyone still has it, on a daily ongoing basis. I believe stress is one of the major causes of most issues in the body and we all know how harmful it is, so how can we live a stress-free life? First of all, let’s break the different types of stress down a little so we can understand how it can impact us on different levels.

Environmental stress

What does this include? It could be the wailing of ambulance sirens outside, being stuck on a packed tube in hot weather, working alongside a tricky colleague, sitting next to a noisy eater, reading negative news stories, sprinting to catch the last train home etc. When we pick up stress from our environment it’s normally something that we can’t control, but we can choose how to respond. If I’m running late I always like to remind myself that no one will die if I am five minutes late, if I’m in an uncomfortable situation like a hot tube I put calming music on, if I’m sat next to a noisy eater I remind myself that I’ll be at home at the end of the day and they won’t be there. How can you adapt or think your way around environmental stress and more importantly, are you aware of what’s causing it?

Chemical stress

The body and mind are linked right? So stress in our minds feeds straight down into our bodies. Ever had to present in public and lost all your appetite or felt nauseous. That’s your digestive system shutting down. In fight or flight mode you don’t need to use your digestive system do you? So if you’re feeling the stress, how you eat becomes really important. Chew, slowly and thoroughly, take your time to eat and don't eat whilst on the move. To calm your nervous system down outside of mealtimes, try and find 5 minutes to sit quietly or walk around, try having some Bach Rescue Remedy and holding the prominent bumps on your forehead that sit between your eyebrows and hairline, these encourage blood flow back to the frontal brain and away from the stress-response back brain.

Physical stress

How are you treating your physical bodies on a daily basis? If you’re sat at a desk all day that can be stressful for the body so try and go for a walk when you get home or have a really good 10 minutes of stretching in the morning. It doesn’t always need to be intense exercise, that can stress your body out even further, especially if you're already tired. Movement gets the lymph and energy moving around the body in a delightful way, it doesn’t matter what you do, you can cartwheel around the park if you really fancy it. Doing an exercise you don’t enjoy isn’t going to give you nearly the same kind of results as doing something you love. If your body feels tired, rest it. Finding stillness allows us to hear the subtle signs our body is telling us, so listen up to how it feels and treat it kindly and with love, rest if you need rest, move if you need movement.

Emotional stress

It could be a difficult boss, a tricky relation, fighting parents or relationship problems, whatever it is, you sadly can’t control someone else’s actions. Once you realise this it gives you some sense of freedom and you can choose how you want to handle it. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do, in that case, you need to be looking after yourself on an emotional level. Talking to someone will always help, don’t heap a whole load of stress onto your own shoulders to carry alone, it gets extremely heavy, so share the load. Look after yourself, take the time to give yourself self-care, do things that you enjoy as it’s so important not to neglect the joy in your life, even when stress is hanging around. Find your own power to bring that self-care into your life on a consistent basis so you can handle emotional ups and downs in a calmer and more grounded way.

When we’re faced with stressful situations we have two actions, we can react or respond. Reacting is immediate and can lead to anger, frustration, irritation and displeasure. Responding means we can choose our feelings, the decision is in our minds, we don’t have to choose stress but often or not we do. Remember that we always have the option to free ourselves of something that is causing us stress whether that’s by adapting to the stressful situation (which is most often than not acceptance), changing the stressful situation or leaving the stressful situation, either way, we always have the power to choose. Listen to the signs your body is telling you, find your joyful moments and keep your belief in that all will eventually be well.

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