If you have a lot on your mind, doing something as simple as taking a walk outside can help reduce stress. When you exercise, your body releases feel-good neurotransmitters known as endorphins. They act as natural painkillers as well and help improve your ability to sleep.Exercising also releases catecholamines that induce a fight or flight response that helps your protect your body from the effects of stress. You can control your stress with exercise by keeping your mind off bad habits such as smoking if you want to quit or control your appetite.
5 ways to reduce stress right now
It’s a cliché for a reason: exercise really does prompt your body to release feel-good hormones like endorphins, which can help you to feel less stressed. Stress can also make you subconsciously tense your muscles, which exercise might help to release.It doesn’t have to be a full workout: walk around the block, do 20 jumping jacks, go for a quick run or find a 10 minute yoga flow on YouTube to follow.
Stress can kick in when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks that need to be done or deadlines that must be met. Writing a to-do list or time management strategy can help you focus on seeing each task through to completion.Sit down and write out everything you need to get done and each step you’ll need to take to complete each task. Prioritise what must be done first and identify what can be left to a later time or what you might be able to assign to someone else. Be realistic about how much time it will take you to complete each task and build space into your schedule to reward yourself for getting the job done.
Stress and anxiety can affect how you breathe, which has flow-on effects on how your body and mind feels. Taking a few deep breaths can help slow your breathing and heart rate, relax your muscles and calm your mind.Follow Anxiety Australia’s guide to slowing down anxious breathing, or head to xhalr.com, which has a visual breathing tool to help you easily calm your breath.
4. Take a time out
You’re not a toddler, but that doesn’t mean a time out doesn’t apply when you’re stressed.Just like in children, stress can affect our emotions and how we behave, as well as our physical and mental health. Stress might make you become irritable or short tempered, easily upset or agitated.When you start noticing that stress is affecting how you feel or behave, it might be time to step away and spend a few minutes just focusing on yourself. Do something you enjoy like reading a book or listening to music, or find a trusted friend or colleague that you can talk to about how you’re feeling.Time outs don’t have to just be reactive: proactively build some ‘you time’ into your schedule each week, allowing yourself to do something enjoyable whilst looking after your health.
If you haven’t tried mindfulness, meditation or relaxation exercises yet, there’s no better time to start. Scientifically proven to help decrease and manage stress, and promote mental wellbeing, these tools are useful for when you’re experiencing stress and as prevention tools in times when you’re feeling well.