How to stress less and live more

how-to-stress-less-and-live-more Stress less and live more

No one ever plans on getting stressed.

It seems that stress is a big issue for us. Bigger than it’s ever been. Stressful and demanding jobs, constant pressure to do bigger and better things, hectic home lives and no time to slow down.

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. When you’re stressed, whether it be due to bad or good experiences, your muscles tense up, you breathe faster in an effort to distribute oxygen and blood quickly to your body core, your heart rate and blood sugar level increases.

We can’t eliminate stress from our lives completely, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Stress is what challenges and what helps us grow, but we all know a little bit too well that too much stress can wreck a havoc on our bodies and eventually cause a burnout. So, how about we try to stress less and live more?

BREATHE

We don’t all get stressed about the same things in our lives, that’s why there also isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all solution to dealing with stress. There’s only one thing that works for everyone and that’s breathing. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to our brains- this stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, also called a “rest and digest system” which promotes the sate of calmness. Think of it as lying on the couch, but for your mind- it’s a mentally active process that will leave you feeling calm and relaxed. You can find some awesome and easy to follow breathing exercises right here. Meditation is also a great way to relieve stress and sometimes I even do it in my car or at work when I feel stressed, using this Backpack Meditation.

KNOW HOW TO TAKE A BREAK

This is something that I’m definitely guilty of and something that I’m constantly trying to work on: knowing when to take a break and calming myself down. It doesn’t matter how much you’re enjoying your work (like I do!) when you’re trying to do 10 things at once, constantly working and not getting much rest, eventually you’ll start spreading yourself thin. Even when I’m not feeling well, I just can’t stand to sit on the couch and do nothing. That’s when I need to remind myself that self-care is something that’s really important, especially during the time of stress. I love turning off my phone, grabbing a book, burning my favorite candle and  taking time to calm myself down. Especially if you don’t do it too often, you need to find that time just for yourself, when you can relax a little and take a break- even if it’s just for 10 minutes. You can take a nap, have a bath, prepare an epic meal for one, read a book- whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Don’t think of it as being unproductive, selfish or lazy- think of it as a necessity.

GET ACTIVE

Yeah, yeah, yeah, how many times can I mention just how good little physical activity is good for ya? This is actually proven by research; exercise lifts your mood and reduces the effects of stress in the body. When you feel stressed, the best place to get some exercise is outdoors- get a good dose of the fresh air and get your body moving. Even if it’s just a brisk walk. Whenever I’m stressed, I personally love going for high-intensity interval training. When I push myself while doing that one more burpee or one more pushup- that’s when I literally feel the stress leave my body. I sort of take it all out on that workout; sometimes that feeling of relief is so strong, that I involuntarily shed a few tears. By the time I’m done, I always feel 10x better.

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

Sometimes we get upset about really small things- someone cuts you off on a highway, you had a small argument with someone at work. Once those things happen, they’re just a thought in your head and you can either choose to let it go, or you can dwell on it and overthink it which eventually leads to you feeling anxious and stressed. Let that shit go. This is what really made a biggest difference in my life and even though there are times when I get stressed about “little” things, I noticed that even if I do get upset about something small, I just let it go after a few minutes and never let it ruin my day. When you start feeling getting upset about something small- step away from the situation for a few seconds, close your eyes and take a deep breath and ask yourself “am I really going to let this affect my mood?“.

CUDDLE

It’s science, guys- cuddling is proven to instantly boost your mood. When you’re stressed, your cortisol levels spike- this can weaken your immune system and increase blood pressure. When we cuddle  (or have other skin-to-skin contact, like holding hands) our brains release oxytocin- also known as the love hormone, that creates sense of trust, well-being and can reduce blood pressure, stress and anxiety. Oxytocin also counters the effects of cortisol (also known as the primary stress hormone). Not that you need an excuse for a good cuddle session, but more oxytocin you release,  less stressed you’ll feel.

Breathe. Know how to take a break. Get active. Don’t sweat the small stuff and most importantly, know how to slow down. Everything else will catch up to you, but only if you let yourself slow down.

What helps you deal with stress?

how-to-stress-less-and-live-more-blog


This is a revised post that I originally published last year.

  • Being active definitely helps me relieve stress. Great post!

    xo, Liz
    http://lipstickandconfetti.com

  • Lots of really useful tips in this post Paula – my favourite way to stress less is by keeping as organised as possible and writing lots of lists to stay on track :)
    – Ambar x
    http://www.herlittleloves.co.uk

  • Daisy Renoj

    Reading a good book or working out always helps me relieve stress. Loved your last tip!

  • Great tips, I love going for a walk to stop stressing out!

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

  • Great advice! Being active helps me so much in general!

    Abigail Alice x

  • This was such a beautiful post. Thank you Paula :)
    Yoga helps me find peace and to notice all the sensations of my body!
    xx
    http://mariannelle.com

  • Great tips and wonderful post!!

    http://www.sugarpopfashion.com

  • I always love your posts with these tips! I definitely always have a ton of things I’m juggling…I love your tip about turning off your phone, even just for a little bit to read, etc. I NEED to do that! Great post Paula, I hope you’re doing well! XO -Kim
    http://www.thethirtysomethinglife.com

  • Thank you for these tips, Paula. The last one is something people seem to miss, there’s a reason contact – with human or animal – is important, I find science of our body to be fascinating thing, it’s as if they made so we can find solace by interacting with other’s, even without words.

    Selene Addicted

    • It’s definitely amazing. Whenever I’m having an off day all it takes is a warm hug from someone I love ( be it my husband or my dog haha ) and I immediately feel better.

  • Fabulous post as always, just reading this makes me feel a little bit more relaxed. Before going on my summer trip to Dublin, I was feeling so stressed out in London. But after the break away I feel like I came back with a much more clear head x

    Beauty with charm

  • I always have to remind myself to not sweat the small stuff! With my type A personality it’s hard for me to let go of controlling everything. When something small doesn’t go as planned, it can take a huge toll on my mood. It’s good to remember to be flexible.

    http://www.thebeautydojo.com

    • I love having control over everything at all times, so I can definitely relate! It definitely takes practice, to learn how to let go of it.

  • I’m so lazy at working out, but every time I do, I instantly feel less stressed. I wish I’ll have the motivation to do it regularly because of all the good benefits it has for my health. X
    http://www.azedelle.com

    • When I don’t feel like doing it, I literally force myself to workout haha. I try not to think about it too much, just do it.

  • How to live more. I love that. I really need to learn how to A) take a break and B) not fuss over trivial things.

  • I’ve been stressing so much lately, I literally had to write myself a ‘how to take a step back’ guide to feel accountable for sticking to it… Eh. When blogging turns into therapy, it must not be that great, huh?

    • Learning how to take a step back once in a while is definitely important. Even if it means writing yourself a little guide haha :)

  • Loved all of this! Even though it’s quite obvious what we need to do to de-stress and relax we always end up forgetting or getting lost in the rush of our day to day life. It’s nice reading this and re-reminding myself.

    http://abigailloriann.blogspot.co.uk/

  • I loved reading this! Since I have some important exams coming soon I have been a bit stressed so these tips will definitely come in handy.

    Sarah | What Sarah Writes

  • Couldn’t agree more with these tips! Fitness always helps me de-stress!

  • I get stressed so easily, even over little things. But I agree that all the ‘small stuff’ should be forgotten as soon as possible, there’s enough important things to stress about in our life :) x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

    • It’s funny but sometimes it is those little things that makes us crazy (even crazier than some bigger problems haha). It’s not always easy to learn how to let go, but focusing on my breathing is something that really helps me. Just have to remember to do it haha ;) (focusing on it, not breathing obviously- that one might be a little difficult to forget to do haha )

  • I love to meditate when I’m stressed. I’ve tried a couple different apps but I love Stop Breathe & Think because it lets you put in how you’re feeling and caters a couple different sessions toward that. It’s so amazing how much that helps! I also love to knit, which can also be stressful sometimes lol But it’s mostly relaxing!

    Katie
    OverTheMoony.com

    • Will have to check that one out Katie! Oh, it’s been years since I’ve knitted, have to get back to it! I wonder if I even remember how to do it anymore haha ;)

  • What great tips! Thank you for sharing. I agree, stress can be a good thing if we know how to manage it. I love relaxation-breathing techniques for when I feel overwhelmed. I am definitely going to try more cuddles though! xx

  • Sanchari Das

    Wonderful tips .Stress is difficult to manage ..

  • Great Ideas! I definitely could use some de-stressing! Hahaha

  • Wanderlust Girl (kyia belle)

    I never thought I was stressing as much, until I read this post. I feel like my blood rushes through my brain, making impulse decisions, and my lungs can’t take much air. I think I try to keep that feeling at minimum, but when you don’t know it’s happening… Yeah. You understand. I’ve decided that at the beginning of the new school year, that I am going to work on self care, without falling into that introvert hole. Thank you Paula, for inspiring me again :) x

    Kyia at WANDERLUSTGIRL// lifestyle & beauty
    Let’s be BLOGLOVIN friends!

    • I know the feeling Kyia! When sometimes I feel the stress taking over and see my body react, I try to recognize that and focus on my breathing. It’s not always easy and it does take some practice. Thank you so much lovely!

  • You’re very right about this issue. I believe we don’t need to get stressed any phase of our lives, all of good ideas come up when we just take a breathe and clearly see. I’m thinking to start skating, so that I can get active which will also affect my blood flow and help me get rid of stress.
    Kisses,
    Nazlıgül | on my own way
    Latest POST: Hair Care for This Summer: Biopoint Beauty Elixir
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  • Stress can be so hard to deal with especially when you’re so overwhelmed. I really want to take up more active activities like yoga or kickboxing to release some stress.

    Great post!
    Thanks!
    Tiffany-
    http://Simplybeinggreat.net