10 top ways to reduce stress

1. Exercise – this is one of the most important way to combat stress. There are many more benefits to those who exercise regularly, compared to those who don’t exercise at all. Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol which actually improves your mood. It also improves your sleep.

2. Reduce your caffeine intake – caffeine has proven over and over that it causes a lot of anxiety and depression in people and so cutting it down or out of your life all together is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety.

3. Write it down – write down all the things that stress you out as this could help you to realise what are the main things and then how to approach them. Using a stress trigger with a scale can help you to understand what the triggers are and then you will learn how to better deal with them

4. Get more sleep – much of your lack of sleep comes from being tired and not being able to sleep. You stress about what is going on in your life when you lay in bed and then the next thing you know you are stressing because you cant sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is tranquil before you go to sleep. Make sure there are no distractions around the room, such as phones or work documents. Avoid caffeine late in the day and avoid alcohol. Before bed, instead of watching tele, trying a warm bath, a hot chocolate or reading a book and you will begin to relax and tire.

5. Try relaxation techniques – practicing meditation, yoga and self-hypnosis can be an easy way to teach yourself to be mindful and aware.

6. Learn to say no – most people feel stressed because they have too much on their plate. With work, families and social obligation, there is too much additional responsibility and so saying no is a good way to put yourself first and have time to yourself to do whatever will reduce your stress levels. It may also help with your self-confidence.

7. Manage your time – accept that you cannot do everything at once and learn to prioritise your tasks. Breaking your time down into more manageable tasks spread out over a longer time frame will help you to not feel so stressed as if you have to do everything all at once.

8. Spend time your pet – being around animals has proven to have positive effects on people and improve your mood. It helps release oxytocin which is a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood. Having a pet may actually help relieve stress by giving you a reason to keep active and to have a companion.

9. Cuddle – not only cuddling but kissing and sex all relieves stress. Having positive physical contact with someone causes oxytocin to be released which reduces the cortisol level and help lower blood pressure and heart rate.

10. Listening to music – this is another way to lower cortisol levels as listening to music is very relaxing, aiding to lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as stress hormones. While classical, Celtic and native American is supposed to have the greatest effect on calming you, the music that you enjoy listening to and relaxing to is what will have the best effect.

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