Stop stressing about stress
It’s time to shake off that niggling feeling and embrace spring, says resident hypnotherapist at Calmer Clinics, Kerry Welch
Stress is the feeling we have when we are overloaded and struggling to cope with life’s demands, however stress is not always a bad thing. We are biologically hard-wired to respond to danger and that fight-or-flight mechanism is actually essential for survival. It can motivate us to focus, complete a task or give us the impetus to rise to a challenge. When the pressure that is causing the stress is short lived, we can deal with the problem and move on.
However, sometimes it can make us feel overwhelmed and unable to concentrate. This is particularly true if the stress mechanism is triggered too easily, or when there are too many stressors (the situations that are causing the response) at any one time. If this continues it can become harmful, undermining our mental and physical well being and impacting our everyday experiences.
Kerry’s five quick tips for a calmer you
Breathing and relaxation
Slowly breathe in through your nose and out through softly pursed lips, allowing the abdomen to soften and rise on the inhale, then deflate and return to normal on the exhale. Make each out breath slightly longer than the breath in. Slowly repeat this eight times.
When you exercise, the body floods with feel good endorphins and stress hormones are reduced. Regular exercise improves your mood and may make you less susceptible to stress in the long run. Find physical activities that you enjoy and try to devote 30 minutes to them each day.
Reduce nicotine and caffeine
These substances are often mistakenly used as coping mechanisms when someone is suffering from stress, but caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that actually encourage the body to react with
the stress response. Aim to miss out every other cigarette or coffee for a week and see how you feel.
Multitasking can be overwhelming and stress inducing. Spend a little time organising your to do list to see what is most important or manageable, breaking jobs down into single steps where possible. At the end of the day, focus on what you have accomplished rather than what you are yet to finish.
Breathing and visualisation are central parts of mindfulness meditation. Time out in this way will shut down the stress response and allow you to think more clearly, so aim to practice each morning for 10 minutes. It may seem difficult at first but persevere and you will reap the benefits. Apps such as Calm can help with guided meditations. calm.com
Calmer Clinics is a dedicated team of experienced healthcare professionals based at Dolphin Square, who believe in a holistic 360o approach to wellbeing. To book an appointment with Kerry, call 07740737913 or visit the Calmer Clinics website. From £90 per hour. calmerclinics.wordpress.com