i want to reduce my stress

Being stressed from time to time is normal, but if we are constantly under stress, we lose the energy to be able to cope even with simple things. Living with stress long term is bad for our health. It can make us sick and eventually lead to depression and relationship problems. If we don’t address our stress, it can lead to a physical or emotional breakdown. Here are some tips that might help you reduce your stress.

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We all have different thresholds for the amount of stress we can handle, and this can change depending on our circumstances and health. Here are some signs that we’re not handling our stress well:

  • Feeling run down
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling anxious and losing confidence
  • Feeling tearful and depressed
  • Stopping eating
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Constant headaches
  • Shallow breathing
  • Upset stomach
  • Upset sleeping patterns
  • Rashes

Take the time to figure out what’s causing your stress

If you can change the situation, then do. But there are often times when we have no control over what is causing our stress, and in those situations, the following tips might help.

Write down your issues

And write down what you think needs to change. When you are stressed, you might feel overwhelmed and feel like the situation is hopeless and will never change. Instead of worrying or waiting for everything to come right, grab a sheet of paper, write down your life concerns, and then set yourself small achievable goals. When they have been achieved, celebrate them!

Start talking

Start talking – with a mate, family, or health professional. It can be hard to admit we’re not coping, but by talking about it we can start to make it better. If you don’t have anyone you feel you can talk to, ring Lifeline 0800 543 354 anytime 24/7. They are trained to listen, and to help you work through any situation.

Look after your physical health

The healthier our bodies, the better our minds work to deal with stress, and the less likely we are to get physically sick and run down. Take some exercise and eat healthier so you can feed your brain.

Get good sleep

Here are some tips if you’re having trouble sleeping:

  • Reduce your caffeine, alcohol, and smoking. Start with small steps, try a drink free night, or a smoke free day.
  • Try not to look at computer or TV screens for an hour before you want to sleep. The light they give out is too bright for our brains to rest. Try reading instead.
  • Write down what’s bothering you before you try to sleep, to get it off your mind.
  • Try some relaxation techniques like taking a hot bath, doing some meditation.
  • Get into a routine. If your schedule allows it, try going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every day.

Take time out

Make time to do something that you really enjoy. Just taking time for yourselves, away from our responsibilities, can really improve our mood.

Go to your doctor

If your stress is negatively impacting your life, and you can’t seem to find a way to beat it, go see your doctor. Be clear in your communication and explain not just your physical symptoms, but your situation and how it is making you feel. Your doctor may suggest a specialist you can talk to, or perhaps give you some medication to help.

Think about nothing

Try sitting still for five minutes, and focus only on listening to your breath. Your mind will wander, but keep trying. This helps us stop worrying about the past or the future, and gives our mind a break. If “thinking about nothing” is a foreign concept, have a look at the Headspace App below – it might be worth a try.

Eat stress reducing foods

There are a number of foods we can eat, and supplements we can take, to regulate stress hormones and help us feel more relaxed. These include foods high in Omega-3, like salmon, and foods that contain magnesium, like nuts, seeds, avocado and spinach.

 

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For more ideas, read Lee-Anne Wann’s Stress Busting Tips.

Is reducing my stress worth the effort? Yes. Here’s why.

  • Reducing your stress can make you happier.
  • Reducing your stress can improve your physical health.
  • Reducing your stress can improve your relationships.
  • Reducing your stress can make you more productive at work and play.

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We’re big fans of the Headspace Meditation App. Headspace is meditation made simple – a gym membership for the mind available on smartphones, tablets or through their website Headspace.com. Men’s Health Trust are part of the Give One / Get One programme, where for every paid subscription, Headspace will gift a membership to someone in need.

Every month we have 10 free 1 year Headspace subscriptions to give away. To apply, send us an email, write Headspace in the subject line, and tell us in a few sentences why you would like to join Headspace.

 

Ben's Stress

Ben Edusei is a 31 year old wellness practitioner from Wellington. He spoke to Men's Health about one of the most stressful times in his life, the physical symptoms that came with it, and how he eventually realised he was extremely stressed and managed to deal with it.

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USEFUL RESOURCES

Here are some useful brochures and resources that you can download for more information on reducing stress.

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