Stressed? 10 free ways to manage stress in under 15 minutes
We are all aware of how stress can impact our health and our bodies, leading to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. But I think sometimes we forget how much it also impacts our daily lives and moods.
I recently did a survey asking what the impact of stress and tension was on people's lives and here’s what I heard back:
- ‘Headaches, fatigue, low mood’
- ‘Anxious thoughts, disturbed sleep, eating too much!’
- ‘Makes me ratty towards other people’
- ‘Irritable, short fuse, insomnia’
I’m sure you are ready to be done with the stress, tension, fatigue and irritability that seems to be consuming your life right now. I know you don’t want any more of that – but the question is what do you want more of in your life? Often you spend a lot of your day thinking about what you don't want - it’s worth taking a few minutes thinking about what you’d like to add to your life?
Here’s a quick exercise you can do anytime. In your notebook or on a piece of paper, jot down your answers to the questions below. Don’t overthink it, just trust your gut and write down what first comes to mind.
- Would you like to spend more time alone or with friends/family?
- If you had £20 to spend just for fun, what would you spend it on?
- Would you like to move more (up-tempo activities) or sleep more (downtempo activities)?
- Write two things you would do just for yourself if you suddenly found tomorrow you had:
- 30 minutes freed up?
- One hour freed up?
- Two hours freed up?
Our unconscious minds are designed to move us towards the things we want in our lives. By taking time today to write down what you want, you've given your mind the job to help you find them. So that way, even when you're busy and stressed thinking consciously about other things, your mind is now working away in the background helping you to create the life you want.
Often when I do this exercise with my clients - their lists look great, but they tell me that they don’t have the time or money to do those things. But my challenge to them and to all of you is this. If you want to be a happier and healthier person - you must be willing to change. And you must be able to find 15 minutes a day to relax and relieve stress.
10 free ways to manage stress in under 15 minutes
To make it super easy for you, here is my list of 10 different ways you can spend 15 or 20 minutes reducing your stress so you can be a happier and healthier person.
1. Try a free guided app for beginners for yoga or meditation
Yoga has been proven to lower cortisol levels and reduce stress in your body. Just five minutes of concentrated deep breathing has been shown to reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels
2. Listen to some stress-reducing music
Research points to multiple ways music can relieve stress. Try the following:
3. Count your blessings
Keeping a gratitude journal has been shown to make people feel happier over time.
4. Get your feet moving
Just walking around your neighbourhood for 10 minutes will boost your endorphins and lower stress hormones.
5. Have a snooze
Napping even 20 minutes will boost energy levels and aid in stress relief.
6. Get a massage
You can ask your friend or family member to give you a five-minute shoulder massage. The 'love hormone' in our body gets released when you are touched, cuddled or stroked and has been shown to reduce your heart rate and cortisol levels.
7. Smell something nice
There are many studies that support aromatherapy as a good way to reduce stress. Try lavender or peppermint.
8. Watch a funny video
Laughter has been shown to reduce the physical signs of stress and lower blood pressure. Try it out - here’s a funny cat video!
9. Take a break from your computer
Uninterrupted computer use has been associated with stress, depression and lost sleep.
10. Go caffeine-free
Or at least reduce the amount you drink. The studies have shown that blood pressure and stress hormones are elevated more by caffeine – switch to the decaf.
So, go ahead. Pick out one or two new things to try and see the impact it can have on your daily life. Life is short and you’re here to enjoy it. Don’t let stress and tension overshadow it. Make some changes today that your future self will thank you for.
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