Written By: Patrick Brown
So, stress can prevent us from sleeping, and not enough sleep can provoke more stress. As we said in our last post, it’s like the proverbial chicken-and-egg. But there are ways to reduce our stress levels and be the best “we” we can be. It’s all about finding that elusive concept, balance – and working in a few other tricks along the way.
Here are a few favourite tips from the staff of our personal injury law firm:
Most of us know how or what to do – lots of fruits, fibre, water, veg – but we don’t make the time for it. We really must, because healthy eating has an undeniably uplifting effect on our mood and sense of wellbeing. The nutrition, recipe and lifestyle guides online are a great resource. (The place for a lot of us to start is just reducing our sugar and caffeine intake.)
It’s not just a suspicion, it’s science: Exercise makes us feel better. When we hit a certain level, it releases endorphins, our “peppy” neuropeptides. But just moving around – a walk, a hike in nature – makes us feel better about ourselves – and that’s critical. Get up and move to shake those blues.
We do it instinctively, yes, but to alleviate stress, breathe with intention. You can find all sorts of breathing exercises and tutorials online, but it can start with just taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly and mindfully. Do this deeply, from your diaphragm. It might take some practice, but breathing deeply during stress brings instant benefits.
Meditate or make “quiet time.”
You don’t have to take yoga or join meditation groups (both wonderful ways to reduce stress, though). You can become proficient at this mind-body practice by trying to meditate in a quiet place for a few minutes each day. Having a personal, positive mantra can be even more uplifting. Consider “I love myself,” “All is well,” or “I embrace life.”
Talk to someone.
When we’re stressed, it’s often because we’re busy and not making enough time for ourselves. Our social life can be the first to suffer. Force yourself to pick up the phone and make arrangements to go meet a friend. Sharing your stressors with an understanding ear can help you put them into context.
Listen to music.
The experts recommend classical, of course, as it’s so soothing, but our office recommends whatever music makes you feel good. Music transports us from whatever our current reality may be. Pick a favourite from the soundtrack of your life and revel in it.
It’s hard to avoid the cliché “Laughter is the best medicine,” because when it comes to all sorts of ailments, and stress in particular, it’s true. Nothing makes us feel better than a good belly laugh; nothing lifts anyone’s spirits more than laughing with family or friends. Try to find the humour in any situation.
Oh, yes. Definitely get more sleep.