6 Ways to Improve your Stress!


Did you realise that stress is actually a normal response from the body in certain situations? When handled appropriately our bodies respond to the situation and then homeostasis (balance) is returned to. 

However, when we are constantly in this heightened state of alert with adrenaline and cortisol pumping around our body, our nervous system on high alert, our digestive and immune systems shut down I’m sure you can see it has negative implications on our health.

Chronic stress has become a normal part of 21st century living and we need to reverse that. It is having devastating affects on the well-being of our nation. It has even become a significant problem amongst our children.

Conditions such as asthma, fatigue, heart attacks, stroke, depression, infertility, migraines, digestive issues and weak immune systems can all be linked back to stress.

Do you struggle with stress? Here a few ways that you may not have thought about as stress-busting activities but give them a try and let me know how you get on.

man carrying a baby
We are sociable and tactile beings and hugging can help reduce our stress levels. Pexels.com

Hug it out!

Did you know that hugging is really good for you? We are sociable and tactile beings and hugging can help reduce our stress levels.

A study of 200 adults was split into 2 groups;

  • One group had romantic partners hold hands for 10 minutes followed by a 20-second hug with each other.
  • The other group had romantic partners who sat in silence for 10 minutes and 20 seconds.

People in the first group showed greater reductions in blood pressure levels and heart rate than the second group.

Hugs make you happy! Oxytocin is a hormone that our body releases when we hug and touch. Sometimes know as the ‘cuddle hormone’ it causes a reduction in our blood pressure, our stress hormones lower and we feel happy. It has been found to be more prominent in women so maybe that is why we are more emotional creatures than men.

Hugging can help reduce your pain. A study carried out on people with fibromyalgia concluded that treatments involving light touch reduced their pain and improved their quality of life. Have you tried reflexology for your pain? It is a light touch treatment and fibromyalgia sufferers find that it can be really helpful with reducing their pain levels.

Are you a hugger? For those of us who aren’t natural huggers, I guess we should start to change that! https://www.healthline.com/health/hugging-benefits#3.-Hugs-may-boost-your-heart-health

And Breathe!

Deep breathing is one of the best ways to calm the mind and relax those stress responses. Stress increases your heart rate and your breathing tends to become shallow, this in turn increases your blood pressure. These responses then often increase you feelings of stress.

STOP! Realise what is happening and focus on your breathing.

Place your hand on your belly just under your ribs, take in a deep breath through your nose making your belly rise. Your chest shouldn’t move, place a hand there when you first start just to check you are doing it correctly.

Breathe out slowly through pursed lips as if you were whistling.

Do this a number of times until you gradually start to feel your heart rate slowing. How do you feel?

Once you have mastered this you might like to try counted breathing.

Take a deep breath in counting to 4 as you go. Hold your breath, count, gradually work towards holding for 7.

Slowly breath out, again through pursed lips, counting to 8 if you can. Your out breath should always be slower than your in breath.

Repeat several times. This is a good exercise to practice on a daily basis not just for stress release but also for a healthy circulatory system.

Teaming up your breathing exercises with essential oils can see even greater benefits.

Oils to try for supporting easier breathing would be Eucalyptus or my favourite Air.

To support your mood try Wild Orange, Bergamot, Frankincense, Lavender, Roman Chamomile.

Pop a drop of oil into your hand, rub them together lightly, cup your hands around your face and do your deep breathing. Within 20 seconds the oils will have reached your brain and be affecting your emotions, your heart rate, your blood pressure, slowly reaching each part of your body for incredible support.

ethnic kids laughing while lying in bed
Laughter is the best medicine!  Pexels.com

Laughter is the best medicine! 

No it’s not an old wives tale it really can lower your stress levels.

Laughter is a strong medicine and can trigger physical and emotional changes in your body.

I’m sure we all know that a good laugh with friends makes us feel good, but life often gets in the way and we become all too serious. As children we laugh hundreds of times in a day but by the time we reach adulthood that has significantly reduced. 

A good laugh can reduce physical tension and stress that leaves our muscles more relaxed for 45 minutes.

Our immune system gets a boost as stress hormones decrease and endorphins, our happy hormone, increase lifting our mood and even reducing pain.

Laughter increases our blood flow and improves blood vessel function which all boosts our heart health. Did you know it even burns calories? A study found that laughing for 10 – 15 minutes burns approximately 40 calories.

Stress, anger, conflict, resentment, bitterness! Nothing can diffuse these feelings like a good laugh, It is hard to feel any of these emotions when you are laughing. Finding the funny side of a situation can suddenly bring things back into perspective, allowing you to move forward in a healthier mindset. 

How can we start to laugh more? We can start by looking for reasons to smile more, like taking in the spring flowers or a sunny day, smiling at the person serving us at the checkout or making our coffee. Look for the positives in your life. Smiling is the beginning of laughter, lets practice it more.

Use essential oils to lift your mood, Wild Orange is great for this! Not tried it yet? Get in touch if you would like a free sample.

Choose who you spend time with. Seek out positive and humorous people that are comfortable laughing at life’s absurdities as well as themselves. Find the comedy in life that goes on around you.

Watch funny movies, comedy shows or YouTube videos. Buy yourself a joke book and share them with friends. There are even laugh therapy groups.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t dwell on the negative. Find your inner child.

And find more reasons to laugh each day, feel the effects on our health. 

Music for the Soul!

Music can calm us or it can drive us depending on the beat.

A song with a strong up beat rhythm, lots of base can get us pounding on the treadmill burning those calories.

On the flip side a slow, soft piece of music with a gentle rhythm can lower our heart rate and blood pressure, it can reduce those stress hormones gradually bringing about a calm, more relaxed state.

Choose the right music for you and it can distract you from the stressful situation presenting itself to you. The right song choice can also be good for the emotions, raising your mood or calming the anger.

Music can be a great aid if you like to meditate, helping to focus the mind. Or how about whilst enjoying a relaxing bath?

Do you like to listen to music? Do you have a favourite style, is it calming up uplifting?

If you have never used it to reduce stress before, give it a go and let me know if it helped.

Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens. Maria Von Trapp

retro turntable playing vinyl disc in living room
Music can calm us or it can drive us depending on the beat. Pexels.com

Drink! Stay hydrated and reduce your stress.

Did you know that your brain is made up of 85% water? Does this give you a clue as to how staying hydrated can help reduce your stress?

Not drinking enough can cause a range of problems from a mild headache, to fatigue, to seizures!

One of the responses from our body when we are stressed is the release of the hormone Cortisol. By making sure you drink enough you can help balance the concentration of this chemical in your brain, therefore reducing your stress levels.

What you drink is also important! Drinks such as coffee are diuretics and therefore affect your hydration. Green tea on the other hand can help to protect the brain and calm the mind. Chamomile is naturally caffeine free so won’t cause any spikes in your anxiety plus it can help to naturally increase your serotonin and melatonin levels.

Why not add a drop of Roman Chamomile essential oil to your cup of green tea to bring together the benefits of both. This is only recommended for oils such as doTERRA that have been food tested as safe for internal use, please use responsibly. 

Get a pet!

Numerous studies have shown that owning a pet is not only good for our mind but also good for our body. They bring together several of the elements I have already mentioned.

Touch, hugging doesn’t just have to be about another human! Dogs especially love to be fussed and who as an owner isn’t going to indulge those puppy dog eyes. Cats are a bit more fickle and fuss is much more on their terms. But there is much less loneliness with a pet, an improvement in mood, lower of the blood pressure and overall less stress.

Of course dogs don’t walk themselves so getting in touch with nature, breathing in the fresh air and the exercise no matter how gentle is all good for reducing that stress.

How many silly videos have you watched of the antics that cats and dogs get up to? Owning a pet can bring with it lots of laughs, enhancing your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles, and increasing the endorphins released by your brain.

You only have to consider that animals are used widely for therapy to appreciate that clearly they are good for stress, especially amongst children. Studies have also shown that owning a pet, especially a dog, is beneficial in building up a childs immunity. Take a read of this article https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/well/family/are-pets-the-new-probiotic.html

We have so many answers right at our finger tips, we really don’t need to let stress get the better of us!

The earlier we recognise that our stress levels are rising the sooner we can respond and take action to reduce them, assuming it is an inappropriate response. Creating a lifestyle that has less opportunity for unnecessary stress is even better. Look to incorporate activities, treatments, foods that reduce your stress and seek to lose or adjust the things that know add stress to your life such as unhealthy friendships and work.

If you have never tried reflexology then I would strongly recommend you give it a go as a stress buster. I discovered it 15 years ago at a time when I was incredibly stressed and couldn’t believe the difference in how I felt. If you are local to me why not book yourself a treatment, its not just stress it is good for!


5 Tips To A Wellness Lifestyle

You will also receive amazing weekly tips straight to your inbox.

By joining you’re signing up to receive weekly emails and the occasional offer from me. You can unsubscribe at anytime.