0919 GMT February 24, 2020
A new study has revealed that many of us spend less than half an hour a day relaxing, express.co.uk wrote.
With so little downtime, it’s no wonder we’re feeling frazzled.
What’s more, women are more likely to suffer with stress than men, with one in three confessing they feel stressed every day.
Just a few simple steps can make a real difference to mounting stress levels.
We asked the experts for their top tips to dial down the pressure.
It might sound simple, but one of the best ways to beat stress is to stop and take a breath.
When we are stressed, our breathing becomes shallow and panic sets in because our body is in ‘fight-or-flight’ mode.
Chloe Brotheridge, anxiety expert at calmer-you.com and author of The Anxiety Solution, said, “Taking deep belly breaths and making the out-breath slightly longer than the in-breath helps to get us out of fight-or-flight mode and into relaxation mode.
“Breathe in for a count of three and let your belly expand. Then breathe out for five counts and let your stomach flatten.”
Take a moment to do this breathing exercise whenever you feel overwhelmed.
Have a healthy breakfast: Breakfast can easily be forgotten in the morning rush, only to be replaced by a sugary cereal bar.
But eating a healthy breakfast packed with B vitamins could help you to ward off stress.
Mary Cotter, a nutritional therapist at Nuffield Health, said, “Our brains need B vitamins to make the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin.
“So when we are stressed our body’s need for B vitamins increases. These vitamins can’t be stored in the body, so we have to eat them every day in order to feel happy.”
Try chopping up a banana and topping it with yogurt and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds for a healthy meal full of B vitamins to help combat stress.
Drink herbal tea: There are few things more comforting than a steaming mug of tea.
But swapping your builder’s brew for herbal tea could have stress-busting benefits.
Medical herbalist Katie Pande said, “Some herbal teas contain ‘superherbs’ such as tulsi, which decrease the levels of stress hormones in the body.
“This means we expend less energy through stress and will therefore feel less frazzled.”
Move your body: With mounting to-do lists, it can be hard to find time to exercise.
But just a few minutes of movement a day could be the boost you need.
Chris Magee, head of yoga for Another Space, said, “A gentle workout releases endorphins into the brain which help you to feel better and more relaxed.
“It is also an opportunity to take some time out of your day to focus on you — a chance to remove yourself from the source of stress and return to the problem refreshed.”
Start your day right with a gentle stretch, then use your lunchtime to go for a short walk.
Help someone else: It might be the furthest thing from your mind when you have a big workload but Carole Willis, therapist at Priory Hayes Grove Hospital, said helping someone else could be just the tonic for stress.
“If you are busy, get busier — not for yourself but for someone else. It sounds counter-intuitive, but helping someone else will distract you from your own stress and give you a feeling of wellbeing.”
So next time stress gets you down, try doing something to help a friend or colleague.
It could be something as simple as making them a cup of tea, or offering to do the washing up.
Use your senses: The ancient art of aromatherapy is one of the oldest and best ways to soothe a frazzled mind.
This is because the smell receptors in your nose communicate with the parts of your brain that store emotions and memories.
Aromatherapist Fran Johnson recommends using frankincense to unwind by massaging it into your skin.
“Frankincense essential oil has been used for thousands of years.
“Therapeutically it’s uplifting, while still helping to relax and calm the mind. When you apply it to your skin, it has the added benefit of firming and improving tone.”
Take 10: It might not seem like a very long time but 10 minutes could be all you need when it comes to stressing less.
Health counsellor Julie Montagu said, “I firmly believe that one of the most powerful ways to combat stress is by taking just 10 minutes at the beginning or end of each day, whether that’s sitting or lying in stillness, taking an Epsom salt bath, writing down what you’re grateful for or making a fresh juice.
“Just be sure to close the doors wherever you are for at least 10 minutes a day and do something just for you.”
Try setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier than usual tomorrow and doing one thing that is just for you.