Star’s Lifestyle Tips - 9 Free Ways to Reduce Daily Stress

March 20, 2019. A little bit of nervous tension every day is normal. It keeps us active, focussed and meeting our needs as well as the needs for those in our care. But if nervous tension becomes stress that is always present and your body does not get a chance to switch off, it will have a physical, emotional, and mental impact.

Life was not meant to be a no-stress, no-worry existence. No matter where you live, there are decisions to be made about work, food, money, health and love – all basic human needs that we make decisions about every day.

However, in Western society where our basic survival needs are mostly met for food, water and shelter, we seem to have allowed stress a very long rope and it is often a precursor to anxiety and depression if not hauled back into line.

When we are stressed, our brain goes into “flight or fright” mode, causing the hypothalamus to send signals to our adrenals to say “release cortisol”, the stress hormone. Cortisol has an important role to keep you out of trouble by making your heart and breath quicken, and your muscles tense up ready to spring into action. Very important for when you are facing a physical threat, but not so good when you are sitting in a business team meeting expecting to come up with creative solutions!

Let’s have a look at some of the simpler ways to reduce stress that you can start doing right now. No drugs, vitamins and remedies here, just simple ways to reduce stress in your life that are free!

1. Be on time for appointments

Be on time for your meetings and appointments. Leave yourself plenty of time to get ready and out the door and this goes for both work and personal appointments. By sticking to your agreed schedule, it will make you to plan ahead better, minimising any unnecessary stress.

2. Go for a walk

If you are feeling overwhelmed with a big project, a relationship issue, and don’t know what to do next, a good brisk walk for about 20 minutes will ease the stress and calm you down. It is the simplest and least expensive things you can do that is always at your disposal, no matter where you are.

3. Keep a sense of humour everyday – find the funny

Laughing has to be one of the best remedies for stress and worry. Find the funny when you can throughout a normal day. Those moments are there waiting to be recognised. Simply knowing your sense of humour is intact will release stress, a good laugh at ourselves for our foibles and worries will put things into better perspective.

4. Don’t overcommit, learn to say no

Believe it or not, and this might burst your bubble, but you are not needed everywhere. You can say no more often and not overcommit to either work projects or social engagements. People overcommit because they are afraid they may hurt the other persons feelings if they say no, or their work colleagues might think they are being lazy, or that they might miss out on something important. But better to do less and better than to try and stretch yourself too much and fail.

5. Reduce your sugar intake

Too many refined sugars in sweets and cakes create ups and downs in your blood sugar levels, irritating your digestive system and having a bad effect on your mood, and may even be the main culprit on feelings of depression. Sugar can have a negative impact not only on your digestive system, but on your nervous system and reproductive system as well. Start cutting down on refined, processed sugar today – drink water instead of juice, and a piece of fruit instead of a cake.

6. Breathe

When we are stressed, our breathing becomes shallow. This means we are stopping our lungs from inhaling a good amount of oxygen and releasing the appropriate amount of carbon dioxide. So the balance is disrupted and our body perceives it is in a constant state of stress. Engage in the simple and free exercise of simply breathing right down into your belly, and you will notice that feelings of stress will diminish.

7. Get a good amount of sleep

One of the best ways to relieve stress is to get a good nights sleep every night. Create a bed time routine and start winding down an hour before you get to bed. This means no external stimuli like phones and social media. Replace this with a cup of herbal tea, relaxing music, reading a book or maybe even a show on TV that is light hearted and helps you relax. A decent night’s sleep helps the body repair and refresh. You might be able to go without enough sleep for a short while but eventually it catches up and your body will give you some sure warning signs that it needs a regular sleep pattern.

8. Respond instead of react

There are negative events, people and situations that have an effect on us, causing us to react in certain ways. We may lose our temper, start crying or light a cigarette to suppress feelings. In those few moments after one of these events occurs, take a few moments to breathe and practice responding rather than reacting. The more you practise this the better you will get. It’s a subtle difference of a few micro seconds but could make a big difference between generating stress in your body and mind or not.

9. Put on relaxing music

Music has the ability to alter a mood and atmosphere in moments. It is one of the most powerful mediums for healing and change. There have been numerous studies done about the benefits of music on the mind and body especially classical music. It has the ability to access parts of your brain provoking responses that change your emotional and mental status.

Take time out at your local Star Laundromat – free WiFi and charging stations

With many locations around Adelaide and Sydney, our laundromats have free WiFi and charging stations. Take time out, put on your load of washing and listen to your favourite Spotify playlists, read a paperback novel, and just sit quietly while the laundry gets done. Stress-free washing and drying in state-of-the-art machines!

Photo by Mark Daynes