stressEveryone will have times in their lives when the stresses and anxieties of everyday life become too much. As both stress and anxiety can be damaging to your health, it is important to find ways of keeping it under control and ensuring that it doesn't start to take over. Here are some tips on how to handle stress.

Natural Therapies

Many people don't like the thought of medication, so natural therapies make a good alternative. When it comes to easing anxiety the herb Camomile is one of the best. St John's Wort will also boost the mood thus reducing anxiety, but it is not compatible with some medications, especially anti–depressants. Passionflower can also be used to act as a natural relaxant. There are also many commercial products available that contain herbal formulations to help aid relaxation.

Exercise

When you exercise, your body puts out the feel-good hormone serotonin. This is why doctors tell patients to exercise when they are feeling stressed. Doing sufficient exercise – whether it is a quick walk or going to a gym class – will help boost your mood and leave you feeling good.

Meditation

Meditation is easy to learn and can help reduce stress and anxiety. There are many different forms of meditation – it is just a matter of finding which form works for you. Meditation will help to quieten the mind and the techniques learned can be used at any point during the day to help you keep stress and anxiety under control.

A Problem Shared

When stress and anxiety get too much, it can be difficult to find the courage to share your problems with someone. Talking to a friend really will help you feel better, even if it won't always solve your problems. It is true what people say: a problem shared really is a problem halved; talking to someone will help to clear your mind of any pent up stress you've been holding on to.

Time Management

Most people will have experienced the feeling of working to tight deadlines or rushing home to cook dinner to feed the family. Proper organisation, learning to prioritise so you're not working too close to your deadlines, and learning to delegate when you need to, will help you to manage your time more efficiently, and will help you to feel less stressed.

Take Time Out

Everyone needs to take some time out. Working all of the time isn't good for anyone and we all deserve a holiday. Even if you don't have time for a holiday, make the most of weekends, bank holidays, or take time off every now and again. You'll return to work feeling refreshed and ready to meet the challenges of your busy schedule.

Diet

Many people don't associate what they eat with how they feel but the two are directly related. Eating a diet full of sugar and refined carbohydrates will make your blood sugars difficult to balance; the low moods caused by a blood sugar imbalance will lead to you feeling more stressed than ever, and if your blood sugar falls to low, this will trigger anxiety.

Base your diet on complex carbohydrates, eat foods that will give your blood sugar a steady rise, and make sure that your diet contains plenty of B vitamins. B vitamins are known to help the body better manage stress, and B vitamins are often depleted when you are under stress.

Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, wholemeal pastas, noodles, and wholemeal rice should be a basis for main meals. Foods such as baked potato, turkey and fish oil will help to lift your mood and help you to feel less stressed.

Yoga

Many of us don’t take time out to unwind and it is far too easy for stress, tension and anxiety to accumulate. One way of reducing stress is to practice yoga. The slow paced postures are perfect for the end of the day when you might not feel like doing too much activity; postures such as seated forward bend will help quieten your mind and ease stress.

Sleep

No one can cope well with life's strains when they are too tired to deal with them. Getting a good night's sleep by getting into a regular bedtime routine will help you to sleep better and you'll feel better able to cope with your day ahead.

Image credit: stuartphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

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