Tips for reducing stress and anxiety

10 Surprising Stress Tips

Feeling frazzled, stressed and anxious is common practice in today’s fast paced, complex and volatile world. And when stress has us feeling panicked, overwhelmed or not being able to function it can help to have some simple techniques to help us de-stress in the moment and bring us back down to earth.

Our bodies are primed for survival, constantly vigilant to potential predators or threats, and when our senses spot that threatening ‘something’ it starts a series of processes in our bodies to prepare us to deal with the situation, in short, our fight or flight response that are linked to us feeling stressed and anxious.

However, today’s stressors do not require such an aggressive response as our survival is unlikely to be at stake. Indeed in today’s world we need to shift to a longer term approach and let go of this outdated response. With evolution taking years beyond our lifetime we need techniques to help us switch off these processes in our brains and bodies.

These ideas do just that, designed with the brain in mind; connecting with the present moment and using our senses to:

  • re-direct attention and energy from our thoughts (cognitive brain) to our feelings (limbic brain)
  • to calm the parasympathetic nervous system
  • alter our bodily activities to ones associated with calm eg heart rate, blood pressure etc

Simply put, think of ways to heighten your sensual experience, pique your curiosity or grab your attention – here are 10 ideas:

  1. Go barefoot – walk on grass, carpet, cold stone
  2. Change the temperature – have a warm cuppa, hot water bottle, wash your hands in warm water
  3. Hum a tune – one that triggers good feelings, upbeat, reminds you of good times
  4. Doodle – draw mindlessly, artistically, use your non-dominant hand
  5. Take a different route – count the chimneys, pause to take in a view, spot the cool cafes
  6. Chew on something (preferably a healthy something) – get your jaw moving, tune into the taste, get your juices flowing
  7. Put on lip salve – touch your lips, taste the flavour, notice the moistness
  8. Clench your fists – release the tension, shake it out, wiggle your fingers
  9. Light a scented candle – breathe deeply, reconnect with memories linked to the smell, watch the flame flicker
  10. Sit in a different chair – notice different objects, feel the material or springiness of the seat, take in the view

Pick the ones that work for you, create others that suit you better and remember our brains are there to serve us not the other way round. Take the driving seat and turn off those switches that don’t need to be turned on and enjoy the journey.

And if you need help, reach out.

For inspiration or support please connect with me, comment or get in touch at [email protected]. Take care.