National Stress Awareness Day is on the first Wednesday in November each year in the UK. It's aimed at helping us become aware of where we might be under too much stress for optimum health and wellbeing, and encourages us to explore coping mechanisms and find healthier responses to life's challenges.
In a previous blog post we looked at what stress is and how it manifests in our lives, so today I'm going to assume that if you're reading this you're already aware that you'd like to get a better handle on your stress levels and are ready for some practical solutions. Since one of the hallmarks of stress is feeling overwhelmed, I thought it would be useful to match up some of the key areas that can lead to stress with some of the most helpful hypnotherapy sessions we currently offer. You don't have to go searching around, as they're all linked here and are tailored to address exactly the issues you might be facing.
Please don't pile these suggestions up on top of your to-do list so that it just becomes even more terrifying to look at! Rather...read with an eye on what you might already be doing that you could just improve on a little. Or look to see where you can identify some gaps in what you're doing that you could fill. Nothing big and drastic (unless that feels invigorating and exciting) just some small, simple changes that might make a big difference over time.
Stress Management Techniques
Exercise Regularly: Physical activity boosts endorphin levels, which in turn can alleviate stress. Experts from Harvard Health go as far as saying that if exercise were available as a pill, everyone would be taking it due to its effectiveness in defusing stress by burning off stress hormones . If you are looking for a fast way to lower your cortisol levels and just feel BETTER, increase the amount of exercise you do. And if you're finding it hard to exercise, problem solve it. There are a ton of ways to exercise...what is ONE way that might work for you? For example:
Problem - I find it hard to drag myself out of the house during winter...I prefer hibernating to just about anything else.
Solution - I found a second hand rebounder trampoline so I can hibernate AND exercise cheaply. (And my kid can literally bounce off the walls during those long, dark winter afternoons...bonus)Problem - you have an injury or physical limitation that makes exercise painful.
Solution - research some forms of movement that you CAN do. Maybe water aerobics, Tai Chi or restorative yoga would be gentle enough.
You see what I mean? It can be a challenge to find a way to move our bodies that feels good to us, but it's really worth working at it until we do. Our Motivation to Exercise session can give you a boost in the right direction, so definitely give it a try if exercise has been a bit of a challenge for you.
Afternoon tea at my house
Maintain a Balanced Diet: Eating a nutritious diet can support brain function and mood regulation. A 2021 study published in Clinical Nutrition from Edith Cowan University in Australia found that individuals who ate at least 470 grams of fruit and vegetables daily had 10% lower stress levels compared to those who consumed less . Nearly everyone's diet can be improved. I don't mean by dieting...I mean eating as much nutrition-rich food as we can, and decreasing the food we know is not great for us, like saturated fats, sugars and red meat. Stress puts demands on our bodies and unless we have good stores of what we need we can soon feel depleted and exhausted. Our session on making Healthy Choices can help if you're finding it hard to make these changes and need some guidance on embarking on a healthier dietary journey.
It's broccoli dude
Get Enough Sleep: Quality sleep is crucial for overall well-being and stress management. If you struggle with falling asleep, or waking up in the night and not being able to get back to sleep, get curious. Do you need blackout curtains? No caffeine after a certain time? Blue light blocking glasses in the evening so your circadian rhythm can do it's thing? Do you need to jump on a mini trampoline wearing orange glasses while you watch TV? Experiment and see what helps and what hinders a good night of rest for you. Check out this Melt to Sleep Hypnotherapy Package if you need additional support.
And if you're a menopausal woman and are finding that hormonal shifts mean you are now awake when you should be asleep, it might be worth exploring some ways to balance your hormones. Our Menopause Management bundle could be a huge help.
Practice Relaxation Techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation can help relax the body, ease tension, and reduce stress. The Cleveland Clinic recommends laughter, mindfulness, meditation, massage, and deep breathing exercises as relaxation techniques to reduce stress hormone levels and promote calmness .Here are Clear Minds have a variety of hypnotherapy sessions available to help with this, from the Breathwork series by Sophie, to the the appropriately named 'Deep Relaxation Hypnotherapy - Calm and Positive'.
Of course, this isn't the end of the things you can do to help your stress levels, and I maybe haven't even touched on the thing that you are struggling with, but paying attention to any ONE of these areas will improve your overall ability to cope with whatever stress life is putting you under. If you work on two or more you will be giving yourself a good chance to thrive instead of just survive.
We'd love to hear from you! Please share your experiences in the comments below, and let us know which of our hypnotherapy sessions have helped you the most with your stress levels. Your feedback is invaluable and could guide others on a similar journey towards better stress management. Looking forward to hearing your stories!
- Radavelli-Bagatini S, Blekkenhorst LC, Sim M, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake is inversely associated with perceived stress across the adult lifespan. Clinical Nutrition. 2021;40(5):2860-2867.