Ways to help you stay healthy and reduce stress
With so much happening in the news right now we thought some tips on how to stay healthy but also reduce any feelings of stress may be helpful. April is also Stress Awareness Month, so here are some simple ways to practice reducing stress and keeping fit.
We have all seen the news about supermarkets running out of hand sanitizer but, simple hand washing is just as effective. So here are the WHO (World Health Organization) tips on how to do it properly.
Please remember that keeping yourself generally fit and healthy will help both your immune system and your mental health so here are some general tips around that too.
- Exercise – Everybody knows that exercise is great for your body and overall health, but it is also good for your mind. Physical activity releases endorphins into your body, which can increase self-confidence, relax you and can lower the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. This can be as simple as taking a walk, but things like yoga are great for stress.
- Diet – Much like exercise, what you fuel your body with can determine how you feel. However, the science behind your diet and your stress levels show that food like oats, whole-grain breads, pastas, breakfast cereals, oranges, leafy greens, nuts and milk all contribute to higher serotonin levels – which is the happiness component in your brain. Apart from these simple household ingredients, reducing smoking and your caffeine intake will also naturally reduce stress levels.
- Distraction – As for any problem, distraction can help us cope with it a little better. Spending time with loved ones, reading or writing, listening to music or whatever it is that makes you feel better – do more of it.
- Meditation – Meditation and other mindfulness practices are notorious for helping with mental health but can also be used to relieve stress as well. By focusing our attention on the present moment, mindfulness can counteract worrying, which can even help us reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Laugh – This one sounds very cliché, but laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which makes us happier. It also decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Talk it through – Again, most problems are made that little bit more bearable when you have someone to share them with. Supposedly the old saying 'a problem shared is a problem halved' may have been based on scientific fact, according to researchers from California who have proved that the best way to beat stress is to share your feelings - and sharing with someone in the same situation yields the best results.
However, if you feel like stress is beginning to affect the way you live your everyday life, then it is worth contacting a professional or making an appointment with your GP. If your employer has added an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to your benefits package please check-out the details there too as they will be able to offer professional guidance.