Not all pressure is bad and a little bit of pressure can actually lead to increased productivity and performance. Anyone left that 5 page paper until the last minute? Excessive pressure though could lead to stress.
When we are stressed, or experience stress there are changes in the brain and in the whole body. We experience the ‘stress response’ or ‘fight-flight’ response. When we are in danger or feel threatened our body gets ready and geared up to face up to it in the best possible way to survive. Our heart rate increases, muscles become tense, stress hormones are released and flood into the nervous system, fats and sugars release to create instant energy, the digestive system shuts down to save energy and the area of the brain which is used for clear decision making shuts down.
These are all incredibly useful responses, however it is not something we want to experience on a daily basis. A combination of daily tasks, stress and no rest make the body unbalanced more frequently than it should be or can handle.
Rest is so important in order to regain it’s equilibrium. When we rest, we enter the parasympathetic nervous state and it is here that our body restores and re-balances. Lack of rest causes the body to become fatigued, and stressed and can manifest to illness, whether that be mental or physical.
Here are our tips on how you can help manage your stress:
- Recognize what is causing your stress and take action. We are creature of habit, and will continue in a cycle just because it's what we know. Unless you take a close look at what is going on around you, you may not actually notice that it’s something only small that needs to change.
- Being Positive is important! Write down all the negative thoughts that come into your head throughout the day. Once you have them, rewrite them into positive thoughts and repeat them to yourself throughout the day. Eventually you'll retrain yourself into thinking positively.
- Perspective. Talk to friends or colleagues to get a new perspective on a situation. The way you look at things can really have a huge effect on your stress levels and things might not be as bad as you thought.
- Stay active. Be healthy and do exercise regularly to release endorphins (the feel good hormones). Have you ever felt bad after exercising?? By eating a health diet, reducing alcohol, and regular exercise we are giving the mind and body the support it needs to cope with pressures.
- Relax, slow down, unwind. We really need the body to enter that ‘rest and digest’ stage more often than when we go to sleep. Introduce slower paced activities into your lifestyle. Some examples are yoga, meditation, taking a bath, walks, reading a book or just doing some deep breathing exercises.
- Speak up. Seak to a friend, a loved one, or maybe you want to speak to a complete stranger such as a life coach. Connecting with others has a real positive effect and helps us to see situations in a new light and approach them differently.
- Manage your time. Many of us worry that we don’t have enough time to get things done, but what we actually end up doing is spending more time worrying about time, then using time. Note how your time is split between work, home and pleasure. Highlight the times or places that you waste time and think what you could do differently to manage that time, using it more wisely, making life less stressful and having more time to do the things you want to do.
- Do more for you. You are number 1 and if you don’t take care of yourself first, you cannot be there to support others. Make sure that you take time out to do the things you love. Treat yourself to a day where you do something you want to do. That could be a yoga class, going to the movies, a trip, whatever it is .. make sure you are giving yourself love!!