Here are 7 great ways to reduce your stress levels
When you’re feeling stressed it can be hard to think of something to do in that very moment to help you feel calm again.
When our fight/flight/freeze reflex is set off, our bodies are very clever in that they shut down the processes that they don’t think are vital, like the digestive system, the reproductive system, and the part of our brain that allows us to think deep intricate thoughts.
This is useful as if you’ve got some bear chasing you, the last thing you need to be thinking is what to have for dinner, what colour to paint the sitting room skirting boards or attempting to digest that greasy burger and chips you had for lunch! You need to be able to get a whoosh of energy to the parts of you which will get you away from the dangerous situation, fast!
Whilst you could argue that the best way of reducing your stress levels is to avoid stressful situations in the first place. In reality it’s often not that simple!
1.) Feeling stressed? Take long, deep breaths
When we get stressed often our breathing gets shallower and faster which means we end up feeling lightheaded and dizzy due to having an imbalance between oxygen levels and carbon dioxide.
The quickest way to reduce stress levels is to take a series of long, slow, deep breaths. If you can, breathe in for 4 and out for 7, breathing from your abdomen.
2.) Diffuse a calming essential oil in your diffuser
If you have a diffuser, put some calming essential oils into it and diffuse intermittently throughout the day. Usually 2-4 drops of essential oil is about right, unless your diffuser handbook states otherwise.
You can also get Calming blends pre-mixed from places like Neal’s Yard.
3.) Listen to calming or meditation music tracks
Youtube and Spotify have loads of free calming or meditation music tracks.
Put one of those on (NOT whilst you’re driving, mind!) and snuggle under a blanket somewhere comfortable. Having some calming music saved to your phone can be really helpful especially if you get stressed when you’re out and about.
Some companies allow you to download calming music for offline use. Having a pair of noise cancelling headphones can also be helpful so you can listen to your calming music discreetly when necessary.
4.) Splash your face with cold water
There is something deeply calming about cold water. Splash your face with it and then pat your skin dry. Massage in a little good quality moisturiser using gentle sweeping upward motions.
Alternatively have a shower, take a bath, or go for a swim.
5.) Take a walk in the fresh air
Getting outside in the fresh air is great for helping to reduce your stress levels. The feel of the wind in your face, the smells of flowers from people’s gardens, of freshly cut grass or even someone cooking something tasty for dinner can all help you feel calm again.
The action of walking can be really soothing and often you find that your brain starts to calm down as you walk. Sometimes if a problem has been stressing you out, a solution will come to you when you’re not directly thinking of it.
If you’re unable to get out for some fresh air for mobility reasons, maybe try sitting by the back door with the door open or open a window to let some fresh air in.
6.) Dip into your distraction Bag or Box
It is a good idea to have a bag or box of things you can dip into when you’re stressed.
Things you might want to pop in your bag or box include:
- A notebook and some pens and pencils,
- Art or crafting supplies,
- Knitting or crochet supplies
- A colouring-in book and pens,
- A reading book,
- A word search or crossword puzzle or sudoku book
- A face mask
- Some hand cream
- A bar of really nice chocolate.
7.) Have a regular Massage or Reflexology treatment
Having a regular massage or reflexology treatment can be super helpful for managing and reducing your stress levels. If you know that your appointment is in the diary and that you have something to look forward to each month.
If you have a partner you could give them a massage or foot massage using some good quality body lotion or a plain, unscented oil (plain sunflower oil will do)
If you don’t have a partner you can massage your arms and legs and feet with a little good quality body lotion. Doing this before bed can help you sleep better and help you to feel more relaxed.
Read my other blog posts about stress
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I am a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner and Writer from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. I love writing about Health and Wellbeing, Mind Body Spirit and Reflexology. When I’m not at work, you can find me in the kitchen cooking up a storm!
If you’d like to book a treatment please go to https://www.sarahcooper.co.uk/book