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10 months ago · · 0 comments

How to cope with stress and anxiety in this busy world

How to slow down to beat stress and illness

stress and anxiety
When you push yourself too hard physically and emotionally you can find that you take a lot longer to recover from colds and flu. Modern life does not tend to present you with many opportunities to take time out to fully recover from mild illness. Thus, once your obvious symptoms dissipate, you tend to either feel too guilty to continue to rest and recuperate, or you have too much on your plate to do so.
There are a finite number of hours in the day and your list of ‘to-do’s’ can often feel overwhelming, leaving you little time to allow yourself permission to rest. This is particularly true for high level professionals and parents, who are relied upon significantly by others – day in and day out. In addition to external pressures, it’s very common to feel guilty about resting, when there is still so much more to be undertaken and achieved.

 

So, how do you fully recover from illness in order to function at your optimum – most of the time?

In order to recuperate fully and feel your best, there are the ‘usual’ things to do, such a sleep well/enough and eat well. However, in reality recent research shows that in order to achieve your ever growing list of tasks, most people find it easiest to skimp on sleep. Shaving a few hours here and there can add a significant number hours to your year, so it’s no wonder it’s so tempting to give it up and thus to squander the recommended 8 hours of good quality sleep a night.

Taking it slower to beat stress and illness

Instead of trying to change your sleeping habits, a quick and easy way to improve your health (before, during and after illness) is through slowing down. Most people tend to make the misguided assumption that in order to succeed in life, one must move with speed. The problem with this theory is the body’s reaction to being placed under pressure on a regular basis – STRESS. Regular, ongoing stress has been shown to cause a short-term reduction in IQ and can have a significant impact on your self-confidence and self-esteem, particularly if the anxiety turns into depression. This is why, it can be very difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions with you’re stressed. Chronic stress leads to increases in the chance of making mistakes and having to end up working even harder to amend these mistakes. Rushing around tying to achieve a million things in a day/week/month/year usually ends up resulting in a lot of wasted time and energy.

Taking a breath

In contrast, if you were to start your day with a few deep breaths, 5 minute relaxation exercises and made a conscious effort to slow down, you would be able to think more clearly and rationally and thus be much more productive during the day.

For instance, most people arrive at work and feel anxious as soon as they begin to look at emails, to-do lists and speak to other stressed co-workers. They tend to spend the day frantically trying to spot multiple fires, feeling overwhelmed, stressed and unproductive. If instead of this strategy, they walked into the office, took out a notepad and began to scan through emails, to-do lists and verbal requests from staff first thing in the morning and then developed a daily priority list, they would be able to tick off the most important jobs they had achieved that day. This would in turn provide both a feeling of achievement and a sense of control.

Undertaking such a morning task would take between 15-30 minutes per day, but would give back many more hours of productive work in return. The act of slowing down and gaining control is vital for health and wellbeing, particularly in this busy world we live in.

Your mind significantly impacts your physical health and emotional state, so if you’re feeling run down or overwhelmed, try to simply slow down. Try it for 1 week and see how much it improves your life.

Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums and Author of Refresh Your Life & Perfect Mum

2 years ago · · 0 comments

How To Reduce Stress at Work

build self esteem mumIt’s easy to say “just relax”, but when you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to run first, you need a few quick fixes to get you back on track as quickly as possible. Below are a number of quick and easy ways to reduce stress whilst you’re at work:

1) Write things down

Often the feeling of being overwhelmed comes from having too much in your mind and hence relying on your memory to get you through. The worst part of neglecting to write things down is that your mind continuously reviews your list if tasks and in turn increases your anxiety over “all the things you still have to do”.

Take 5 minute to write down everything that’s racing through your mind. It doesn’t matter how small. The idea is to get these thoughts out of your mind and on to a notepad where you can refer to them later.

2) Take a break

You might think you don’t have time to take a break, but the reality is if you take a short break (even 15 mins) and go for a walk, you will come back more refreshed, thinking much more clearly and feel like you can cope much better with the demands of your day. I would suggest taking some music to listen to and walking alone. If you want to walk with a friend make sure you avoid talking about work or stressful things in general, otherwise you’re not having a proper mental break.

3) Eat slowly

When you’re in a rush it’s tempting to eat quickly to save time. However eating quickly can increase your heartbeat and cause digestive issues which will of course end up making you feel sick and even more stressed.

All you need is 5 minutes to just chew slowly and mindfully. In a way this becomes a little mental break. Once again avoid reading work related material whilst eating and avoid working with one hand and eating with the other.

4) Breathe

The most obvious thing that happens when you’re stressed is your heartrate increases and you begin to breathe very rapidly. Make sure you are conscious if your breath and slow down. You will work much more efficiently in this state, than if you allow your heartrate to race too rapidly.

5) Listen to some relaxing music

Whilst you’re engaged in something not too mentally taxing (like checking emails), listen to some relaxing music such as Bebel Gilberto’s music. Take the music in and calm yourself down.

Feeling calm in the workplace is essential for high performance, so don’t dismiss it. Feeling calm you will feel much more in control. A simple 5 minute activity can settle you down and help you to think much more clearly – something that is often negatively impacted when stressed.

For more support or inspiration visit Happy Life at: http://www.helpformums.com

2 years ago · · 0 comments

How to reduce stress to improve health and improve happiness

There is countless research regarding the effects of stress on your internal and external body. In fact, there is mounting evidence to support the complement of western medicine and alternative medicine to treat illness (stress reduction programs playing a very important role here). Stress is a very broad term, encompassing anxiety, worry, physiological & chemical body distress (eg being cold for too long, being over tired, being overworked) and so on.

There is a very strong connection between the mind and the body, yet many times it takes a physical manifestation to occur before individuals do something to minimize the stress. For instance, you’ll wait until you experience significant stomach pain, headaches or back ache, before deciding to become actively involved in meditation, Pilates, or mindfulness practice.

The ideal, however, is to consistently train your mind to become more resilient to the inevitable stress around you. For instance, if you’re struggling with financial worry, every time you receive a new bill, you are likely to be filled with panic, dread and physical illness as a result of prolonged stress. Negative stress tends to manifest in the head (headache pain) or the stomach areas of the body and thus can cause significant discomfort, resulting in further stress.

In order to minimize stress it’s important to design a plan to manage your current situation, stick to your plan and move forward. An example of this plan would be to stagger your pay cheque according to your urgent bills and lifestyle and to put away specific amounts of money to pay off debt and have some fun. As long as the bare minimum is being paid, you can reduce stress and then focus on new ways to increase your income.

Worry can become a habit, so much so that you can learn to create worries when one does not appear to exist. Thus, it’s important to also start paying attention to your worry cue’s. This will help you to direct your relaxation efforts to the right time and place. It is also crucial to learn when you are most likely to be stressed and use these times to implement stress reduction strategies, such as controlled breathing, acceptance of the situation and belief in your ability to cope with anything life throws at you.

Therefore, stress reduction (along with healthy eating and regular exercise) not only improve your overall mood, but have been shown to have such a great impact on your health that they can reverse illnesses, reduce your chances of becoming ill and reduce your likelihood of relapse – should you fall ill.

It is so easy to push your body beyond its limits and then feel disappointed when your body gives up and decides it needs a break. Changing your lifestyle to incorporate healthy living is the greatest gift you can bestow on yourself. Life has enough ups and downs – why make the struggle harder by ignoring your self. You are worth so much more and deserve to live a happy and healthy life

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