Breathing And Relaxation Exercises
Many people find exercises that focus on breathing and muscle relaxation to be helpful in relieving stress. The playlist below will help you to understand how stress works and start feeling better. These exercises can be done anywhere and are designed to help you feel more relaxed in general, as well as helping you feel calmer if you are becoming stressed.
This playlist is free to download, and you can also stream it using the Soundcloud website or app. You can download and listen to individual tracks if there are particular exercises that work best for you. If you’re listening to it for the first time, it’s best to start from the beginning.
To access a BSL version of this playlist, .
Find out more by checking out these 10 stress busters.
Reasons Why You Could Be Stressed About Nothing
The first three points are likely causing you to feel overwhelmed at times . The latter two are the probable results and are signs that the demands on you outstrip your resources.
And, lets face it, on top of everything else that could befall you in life, youre probably now also have to cope with the fall-out from the pandemic. Covid lockdowns, quarantines and/or closures with all their financial, social consequences are, of course, super-stressful with an inevitable impact on our mental health.
Then there are the less obvious things that contribute to you feeling stressed for no reason.
Recognize When You Need More Help
If you are struggling to cope, or the symptoms of your stress or anxiety wont go away, it may be time to talk to a professional. Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety, and many people benefit from a combination of the two.
If you are in immediate distress or are thinking about hurting yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Read more about getting help.
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Understand The Roots Of Your Negativity And Take Action
What is it exactly that makes you feel negative? Whether its external or internal, there is always something you can do to improve your circumstances.
A friend of mine struggles with weight loss. She wouldnt call herself overweight, but she wants to shift a few pounds. However, she exercises only about once a month and indulges in sweets whenever shes had a bad day. She has a lot of bad days. Then she feels unhappy with her body, and that makes her day even worse. Her bad days? There wasnt a seat available on the train, she couldnt get tickets to her favorite bands concert, or there was a typhoonthings that she cant control, but she lets them control her.
Take back control of your narrative
Finding out what triggers your negativity or anxiety is the first step to destressing. When youre in a good mindset, things like not getting a seat on the train mean nothing. A question you need to ask yourself is did you have a bad day, or did you let one bad thing ruin your day?If you can answer that honestly, and keep reminding yourself that one event doesnt determine the course of your entire day , then you can begin to take control of your own negativity, and eventually turn it around.
Its time to change things for good
Finding out what triggers your negativity or anxiety is the first step to destressing.
Youre Having Trouble Concentrating
When youre too overwhelmed to focus on whats in front of you, it could be a sign youre overworked. Research has connected long-term exposure to excess amounts of cortisol to shrinking of the hippocampus, the brains memory center, says Tuit. Studies have shown that long-term stress stimulates growth of the proteins that might cause Alzheimers disease.
What to do: If you find that youre experiencing this during the workday, taking a few long inhales and exhales can help. Deep, even breathing not only affects whether or not our thoughts control us or we control them. It also affects the bodily sensations that are experienced when faced with a high-stress situation, says Tuit. This type of breathing can help control the heart rate and blood flow, as well as muscle tension, she says.
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Theres So Much To Do But You Have A Difficult Time Deciding How To Start
It can be hard to know where to start when youre to-do list seems like its a mile long. In fact, it can be so overwhelming that you end up doing nothing- because making a decision on what to do first is too overwhelming. This is called analysis paralysis.
What to do about it: One thing thats really helped me is overcoming the need to be perfect. If youre a perfectionist, it can be really hard to make decisions and take action because youre so afraid of getting it wrong or making mistakes. Here are 5 Ways to Overcome Perfectionism and Embrace your Imperfect Life.
Create A Spa In Your Bathroom
I dont care if your bathroom is falling apart with black sludge dripping from the ceiling .
You can still create a spa in your bathroom.
Fill up the tub, light some candles, and turn the lights off and just soak and sit.
Do a face mask, put in your favorite smell into a bath bomb, whatever you need to do.
Close the door behind you and pretend youve stepped into a spa at a fancy hotel and dont come out until youre feeling relaxed and ready to take on the world again.
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Is It Stress Or Anxiety
Life can be stressfulyou may feel stressed about performance at school, traumatic events , or a life change. Everyone feels stress from time to time.
What is stress? Stress is the physical or mental response to an external cause, such as having a lot of homework or having an illness. A stressor may be a one-time or short-term occurrence, or it can happen repeatedly over a long time.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is your body’s reaction to stress and can occur even if there is no current threat.
If that anxiety doesnt go away and begins to interfere with your life, it could affect your health. You could experience problems with sleeping, or with your immune, digestive, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems. You also may be at higher risk for developing a mental illness such as an anxiety disorder or depression. Read more about anxiety disorders.
So, how do you know when to seek help?
The Effects Of Chronic Stress
Your nervous system isnt very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If youre super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if youre facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.
If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in todays demanding world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:
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Spend The Whole Day Alone
If you get recharged by spending time alone, youre going to have to eventually just give yourself the space to recuperate and work through your stress alone.
Send the kids to their friends house for the day, kick the husband out to go play sports with his friends, whatever you need to do to get that one day of solitude.
And when you have it, plan for it.
Are you going to lounge around all day in your pajamas?
Are you going to get something done that has been stressing you for out forever?
Are you going to indulge in all of your favorite foods that your family isnt invited to share?Do what you need to do and enjoy the time spent alone.
What Makes Us Stressed
Many things that can lead to stress: bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job or unexpected money problems. Work-related stress can also have a negative impact on your mental health. People affected by work-related stress lose an average of 24 days of work due to ill health.
Even positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, gaining a job promotion or going on holiday can be sources of stress. If you feel stressed in these situations you may struggle to understand why or be unwilling to share your feelings with others.
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Your Sex Life Is Suffering
While you or your partner might not be aware of it, stress and tension are the leading causes of erectile dysfunction. A lot of men walk into my office and say they want Viagra, but oftentimes Ill tell them I dont think a pill will help their problem when I believe its stress thats causing the issue, says Dr. Colgan. Its a vicious cycle, aserectile dysfunction can also cause more stress for the person experiencing it. And since theyre stressed, sometimes guys will start drinking alcohol to reduce their inhibitions, but Ill remind them that this is a muscle relaxer, so it wont help them perform better in their sexual relations, he says.
What to do: Identify whats causing the problem.I tell patients, the body and mind are like significant others: When one doesnt feel well, the other sympathizes, says Dr. Colgan. If youre having a rocky relationship, increased financial stresses, or lost your job, its illogical to think that with all that worry and tension in your life, your body is going to stand by idly and not act differently.
Dr. Colgan also recommends talking with your partner to let them know whats going on in order to work through the problem. I tell them the answer isnt a pill. The solution is for you and your partner to communicate so you can help them understand that youre under a lot of stress and tension right now. If you can work to relieve that tension, your sex life should improve as well.
What Causes Stress In Our Lives
We live in an interesting, but also fast-paced world. There are lots of sources of stress, including:
- Homework and projects at school
- Family tension as you try to be more independent from your parents
- Pressure from friends to do risky things
- Tension with your boyfriend or girlfriend
- Difficult people in your life
- Upsetting news about disasters, war, or personal tragedy
- Media messages that lower your self-esteem
- Not getting enough sleep
- Chronic illness
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Managing Stress In Daily Life
Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.
There is little you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.
Studies have found that mindfulness courses, where participants are taught simple meditations across a series of weeks, can also help to reduce stress and improve mood.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
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Things To Do When Your Partner Is Stressed
- 5 minute read
Life is stressful. Work can be demanding, family life can be taxing, and so can our relationships, finances, and health-related struggles. Just turn on the news or open social media and your blood pressure is apt to rise. Really, there are so many things that can be triggers for stress, and we all experience our fair share of them on a daily basis.
Equally stressful is when we watch our partners suffer from heightened periods of stress. It can be upsetting to witness and can even create tension within our relationships. Perhaps the most difficult part is that we desperately want to help, but often feel bewildered about what the best approach might be.
There is no one-size-fits all method for what to do when your partner is stressed, but I caught up with a few Talkspace therapists who offer some practical, compassionate, no-nonsense tips for how to help.
Stop Overloading Your Schedule
When we are too busy, even if the schedule is filled with exciting things, we can feel more stressed, simply from a lack of downtime. If the schedule is cluttered with stressful or unnecessary activities, it becomes even more draining. Learning to say no to demands on your time and cutting out the things in your life that stress you are great strategies for cultivating inner peace.
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Listen To Calming Music
Music is a hugely popular thing to do when youre feeling stressed.
Choose some of your favorite, preferably calming music to switch on and get lost in.
Its one of the best things to do to relieve stress and get yourself feeling better.
In fact, make an entire playlist of stress-busting music filled with your favorite artists that you can put on in the car, while youre on your walk, or just to listen to before you wake up.
If youre looking for calming music in particular, there are plenty of playlists online of music to help you stop stressing out.
You Experience Tightness And Tension In Your Muscles
Anyone else have a really tight and stiff back? When we are stressed, we tend to become really rigid and uptight rather than flexible and fluid.
What to do about it: Give your body some TLC! I love a deep tissue massage or acupuncture. If those arent possible options for you, try some stretching, yoga, or exercises to loosen things up.
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Stress And Your Health
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.
Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health.
When To See Your Gp About Your Stress Levels
If you’ve tried self-help techniques and they aren’t working, you should go to see your GP. They may suggest other coping techniques for you to try or recommend some form of counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
If your stress is causing serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, you may need to take medication or further tests.
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Get Hold Of Your Emotions By Focusing On The Present
Properly focusing on the moment you are in can be accomplished in many different ways. Theres meditation, breathing techniques, focusing on sights, sounds, or other sensations. Whatever works best for you is what will help you to get out of your head. Pull back from whats bothering you, and focus your mind on the present.
My mindfulness trick is relatively simpleI can concentrate better when things smell good, so whenever I start to feel like things are getting out of control, I stop and put some lotion on. Its good for my skin and the scent and action itself brings me back to what Im doing at the present.
Meditation is a common way to address mindfulness as well. You can visit a temple for a quick yoga session with complete strangers or travel to Akita for a Buddhist meditation weekend retreat. Of course, you can also practice it on your own at home. The point is to change your environment for a moment and give it a genuine, honest tryin this way youll give yourself reasons to look at things from a better angle.
Ready to move on? Keep in mind that to destress and regain your confidence you first need to declutterand that involves every part of your life. Just keep going!