Traditionally this refers to the 10 commandments. Now if we want to stay leaping throughout the year one of the most important ways of achieving this is to de-stress. One of the things I’ve noticed with clients is that we are all stressed to a greater or lesser extent and whether we think we manage it well or not, we all of us (myself included!) need to observe the commandments of relaxation and stress relief to stay on top of our health and prevent unnecessary health challenges.
One of the things I see a lot in my work is that often period of stress and particularly if there is a trauma, we can find ourselves developing symptoms we didn’t have before or even a new condition! So I was having a think about 10 commandments for stress management all of which are evidence based. These are simply.....
Go for a walk! It only takes ten minutes to release those endorphins which you’ll be glad to hear reduces our stress hormones. Walking in green spaces also offers a few moments of meditation and peace.
Deep breathing. I especially like the alternate nostril breathing used in yoga sessions as breathing deeply in one side and out through the other can help get us into a parasympathetic state. It only takes 5 minutes and makes a dramatic difference.
Meditation is something I never did until this year. I didn’t believe I could! But actually thanks to great apps like 'headspace' and 'calm' it’s actually quite easy to take a few moments of quiet and calm the mind. No this doesn’t mean switching the mind off (we can’t actually do that any more than we can ask our hearts to stop beating). It just means letting the thoughts float away without actually taking them on. The research on the benefits of mediation is enormous and something to be ignored at our peril!
Bring nature into the home! House plants are great as air purifiers but also bringing nature into the home brings calm. A study at Washington State University demonstrated a drop in blood pressure when house plants were brought into offices!
Kissy kissy! Apparently those who kiss more have less stress (Or maybe those who are less stressed kiss more!) Northwestern University studied 2000 couples and found this to be the case. So better pucker up!
Music is one of my favourites. Well known as a stress reliever, it’s something we need to use more pro-actively as part of our routines. I play relaxation music now whenever I work or study and am actually listening to some now! It makes a huge difference to concentration and I think aids memory.
Laughter is the best medicine! Who needs research to prove this one?!! But ask yourself when was the last time you consciously put on a funny movie or box set of your favourite show. Spending time with friends who you know life your spirits and make you cry with laughter is medicine you can’t get in any supplement. It’s so easy to get in a rut and not make time for these things so make space for laughter. Your body will thank you!
Eat something sweet! Choose carefully here, but a little bit of dark chocolate or a carefully made piece of baking with a little honey or maple syrup can blunt cortisol. That doesn’t mean eating our body weight in ice cream when we are feeling low, but just a little something to give us a wee boost, a date, a couple for squares of dark chocolate or a teaspoon of quality raw honey.
Visualisations are a great way to imagine where you’d like to be or hat you'd like to achieve in your life. Research demonstrates you can imagine winning a sport or killing cancer cells or anything you put your mind to. The amazing thing is that this technique works and is being used in fields of health , business and sport more regularly. So simple too!!
Switch off that phone! There's no doubt about it, smart phones are one of the biggest stresses around. Remember a world when you could eat, sleep, bath, be ill, go to the loo etc etc without that thing bleeping, pinging and generally driving us mad! More and more people are switching them off at night and doing social media detoxes. We need to or we are gonna go crazy!!
Take up these tips and you will surely leap into next year!
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