Stress is an inevitable part of our modern lives and whilst short-term stress is a normal physiological function, long-term, chronic stress can have a huge impact on both our physical and mental health; from impairing our immune system to exacerbating poor mental health and increasing our blood pressure.
The Origins of Stress
If we rewind 2 million years, our stress response evolved to keep us safe. For example, if we were to be attacked by a wild animal, our sensors would react to make us flee away from the source of danger. Nowadays our sources of stress tend to come in the form of emails, office jobs, financial challenges, and relationship worries.
How to Manage Stress?
The good news is there are lots of quick, easy stress management tools from mindfulness practices to yoga flows, exercise classes, morning routines, and a healthy diet.
1. Prioritise exercise
Even short bursts of exercise can help relieve stress, lowering levels of your stress hormone cortisol and releasing endorphins, which act as mood boosters, reducing stress and lifting your overall sense of well-being.
Quick & feel-good classes
2. Look at Your Diet
Loading your body up with a whole host of different nutrients can help lower the impact of stress on your body. Ensuring each meal is rich in protein, healthy fats, and wholegrains helps to balance your blood sugar and stabilise your mood. Loading up on tryptophan-rich foods (think nuts and seeds) helps to increase serotonin (happy hormone) production. Upping your omega-3, antioxidant, magnesium, and B vitamin intake all helps to regulate your stress and boost your mood too.
3. Try a Morning Routine
Making time for a positive, productive routine first thing helps set a positive tone for the rest of the day, making it easier to implement healthy habits (habit stacking). Including gratitude, breathwork or meditation, and gentle exercise all lower stress hormones and kick off a feel-good cycle.
4. Start a Mindfulness, Meditation or Breathwork Practice
Practising mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress levels, as slowing down and focusing your attention on the present moment helps down-regulate the fight or flight state associated with feelings of stress and activate the parasympathetic nervous system; the rest and digest state. If you need a helping hand this week to de-stress or simply need a few minutes of peace each day, here are our favourite mindfulness practices to do.