Top 5 Tips for Reducing Stress in 2014

Need to relax?

Need to relax?

Stress is on the rise, more people each year are reporting stress as being a problem in their life: effecting their work, home life and health. After years of depression, stress and barely keeping my head above water with our modern, frantic pace of life, I finally broke down, and after a couple of months off work with stress I finally quit. It was time to get out, heal myself and get some perspective.

So that’s what I did, I checked out of society, and in 2010 I moved to rural Sardinia with my retired partner and took some time to heal. It was pretty drastic and most people can’t or don’t want to go quite that far! Well, rather than suggesting you quit your job, abandon society and move to a foreign country, I would instead like to share some of the simple things you can do to manage your own stress, some of the practices that have really helped me to learn how to deal with stress, get a different perspective on life and feel healthier, happier & more positive.

Now the holidays are over, the credit card bill is in, the weather is likely getting you down and you’ve probably given up on most of those New Year resolutions; your stress levels are already likely to be rising in 2014, here are 5 things worth trying out for yourself:

1. Take a deep breath

Our breathing is possibly the cheapest, easiest and most effective way of controlling our central nervous system and getting our body to calm down. By learning very simple breathing exercises we can tell our bodies to chill out, relax and calm down! Breathing more deeply and extending our exhalation (out breath) makes our body stop producing those nasty, unhealthy stress hormones and start producing those nice relaxing hormones instead. Ok, so that’s a bit of a super-simplified explanation of the sympathetic (fight, flight response) and parasympathetic (relaxed) nervous system, but you get the idea!

There is a free audio practice available to try on my website.*

2. Count to 10

It’s a another of those cliché’s, but giving yourself time to pause, reflect and acknowledge what is going on before reacting, can make all the difference. Learning how to observe how you are reacting, both

  • emotionally; how you are feeling and why, and
  • physically; how this reaction or emotion feels in the body, can give you some perspective and allow you to make more positive, calmer choices when you respond to stress. By learning to recognise why we respond in certain ways, by learning our own behaviour patterns, we can choose a different path and learn to respond in a way that is more beneficial to us emotionally and physically.

3. Eat away your stress

So I’m not suggesting we get out the ice cream and chocolate and start bingeing here; I’m talking about making healthy choices about what we eat to manage our stress! Certain foods can help us to be less stressed and promote a sense of calm.

  • Foods high in Magnesium, like Spinach & Quinoa promote a sense of calm.
  • Foods high in Omega 3, like walnuts, nourish the brain helping you think more clearly, and reduce stress hormones.
  • Foods containing tryptophan, like sunflower seeds, soy & spirulina, cause the production of serotonin; that feel good hormone.
  • Foods containing vitamin C, like kiwi, kale and guava, reduce stress levels and boost your immune system.

And guess what, certain foods can actually cause that nasty stress hormone, Cortisol, levels to rise, and guess what they are: yup, anything packed with fat, sugar or salt; so avoid cakes, chips and crisps!

4. Sleep more

Get a good nights sleep.

Try to get more sleep, go to bed a bit earlier than usual. It’s another one of those vicious circles, you’re stressed out, can’t get to sleep so you sleep less. And in turn, less sleep lowers your immunity, makes you irritable and reduces your ability to cope causing you more angst and anxiety. So how do you break this cycle?

Here are a few tips to get more sleep:

Switch off the TV & computer at least half an hour before you go to bed: use this time to have a relaxing bath or listen to some calming music.
Do some very gentle yoga or Tai Chi to help calm your body and mind.
Listen to a guided body relaxation.
Do some long, slow, deep breathing and become completely involved in the process of breathing, how it feels, the movements of the body, the flow of air at the lips, nostrils of the back of the throat. You can also count your breaths, counting backwards from 100 to 0 each time you inhale and exhale.

5. Learn some stress management tools

Finally, make some time to learn some tools that will help you to reduce your stress levels and help you to deal with any issues in your work or home life. Mindfulness based stress management techniques have been shown to reduce stress levels and to help us to be more peaceful and happy within ourselves, despite an increasingly overwhelming and demanding world.
Incoming search terms:

There are lots of really simple and very effective tools out there we can use to help ourselves, these are just 5 that I have found useful in my own life.

Stay happy, healthy and remember to enjoy life in 2014!

OM TIMES: Top 5 Tips for Reducing Stress in 2014
by Alexandra Redmond
omtimes.com/2014/01/top-…-stress-2014/

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About the Author

Alex has been practising yoga & meditation for over 15 years and started teaching 5 years ago. She has recently launched Stress Management for a Modern World, an online mindfulness based stress management course.

Alex is from the Isle of Wight, UK, and moved in 2010 to live in Ogliastra, Sardinia for a simpler and quieter life. You can find out more at her website here. meditationcourse.yogainsardinia.com/about-me/ She is also on Twitter, Google+ & Facebook.

* free download Breath Relaxation Practice
meditationcourse.yogainsardinia.com/downloads/breath-relaxation-practice/

A Morning Walk in Ogliastra

I live a truly blessed life, being able to take a leisurely walk with our 2 labs on a beautiful sunny January morning in our corner of paradise which is Ogliastra, Sardinia. I hope you enjoy my little photo post of our walk, and next time you need to get away from it all for a break, consider Ogliastra, it’s a truly special place!

Looking out over the valley, blue skies, gorgeous views...

Looking out over the valley, blue skies, gorgeous views.

Corbezzolo Tree, otherwise known as the Strawberry Tree.

Corbezzolo Tree, otherwise known as the Strawberry Tree.

Corbezzolo Blossom & Berries

Corbezzolo Blossom & Berries

Wild yellow flowers with impressive Tacchi in the background

Wild yellow flowers with impressive Tacchi in the background

Tacchi d'Ogliastra with bee buzzing around yellow wild flower.

Tacchi d’Ogliastra with bee buzzing around yellow wild flower.

Prickly pears lining the country road.

Prickly pears lining the country road.

Abandoned House nestled in the hillside.

Abandoned House nestled in the hillside.

Oh look, a gently flowing river...

Oh look, a gently flowing river…

Look, it's water, we love water, yay!

Look, it’s water, we love water, yay!

Oh, yeah, that feels good on the paws!

Oh, yeah, that feels good on the paws!

Ok, Ok, we're coming.

Ok, Ok, we’re coming.

Water rushing over the ford.

Water rushing over the ford.

Puddles for puppies to play in, orange trees lining the path wall.

Puddles for puppies to play in, orange trees lining the path wall.

Another pretty waterfall along the way.

Another pretty waterfall along the way.

Hello Shiva

Hello Shiva

Hello Kuma

Hello Kuma

Girls just want to have fun...

Girls just want to have fun…

A shack for the shepherds I think, check out the car cut in half.

A shack for the shepherds I think, check out the car cut in half.

A little reminder that personal loss & grief are all part of life's rich tapestry as I pass a memorial at the side of the track.

A little reminder that personal loss & grief are all part of life’s rich tapestry as I pass a memorial at the side of the track.

And we go through the woods, this is near the end of the walk and the place the girls go mad chasing each other and playing hide and seek around benched and boulders!

And we go through the woods, this is near the end of the walk and the place the girls go mad chasing each other and playing hide and seek around benches and boulders!

Chase me, chase me!

Chase me, chase me!

The woodland covered in diverse funghi, that's it, back home now for a cuppa and some lunch!

The woodland covered in diverse funghi, that’s it, back home now for a cuppa and some lunch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Tips for Coping with Stress

Need to relax?

Need to relax?

Stress is on the rise, more people each year are reporting stress as being a problem in their life: effecting their work, home life and health. After years of depression, stress and barely keeping my head above water with our modern, frantic pace of life, I finally broke down, and after a couple of months off work with stress I finally quit. It was time to get out, heal myself and get some perspective.

So that’s what I did, I checked out of society, and in 2010 I moved to rural Sardinia with my retired partner and took some time to heal. It was pretty drastic and most people can’t or don’t want to go quite that far! So, rather than suggesting you quit your job, abandon society and move to a foreign country, I would instead like to share some of the simple things you can do to manage your own stress, some of the practices that have really helped me to learn how to deal with stress, get a different perspective on life and feel healthier, happier & more positive.

Here a 5 things worth trying out for yourself:

1. Take a deep breath

Our breathing is possibly the cheapest, easiest and most effective way of controlling our central nervous system and getting our body to calm down. By learning very simple breathing exercises we can tell our bodies to chill out, relax and calm down! Breathing more deeply and extending our exhalation (out breath) makes our body stop producing those nasty, unhealthy stress hormones and start producing those nice relaxing hormones instead. Ok, so that’s a bit of a super simplified explanation of the sympathetic (fight, flight response) and parasympathetic (relaxed) nervous system, but you get the idea! There is a guided breathing practice here which you can try out for free.

2. Count to 10

It’s a another of those cliché’s, but giving yourself time to pause, reflect and acknowledge what is going on before reacting, can make all the difference. Learning how to observe how you are reacting, both

  • emotionally; how you are feeling and why, and
  • physically; how this reaction or emotion feels in the body,

can give you some perspective and allow you to make more positive, calmer choices when you respond to stress. By learning to recognise why we respond in certain ways, by learning our own behaviour patterns, we can choose a different path and learn to respond in a way that is more beneficial to us emotionally and physically.

3. Eat away your stress

So I’m not suggesting we get out the ice cream and chocolate and start binging here; I’m talking about making healthy choices about what we eat to manage our stress! Certain foods can help us to be less stressed and promote a sense of calm.

  • Foods high in Magnesium, like Spinach & Quinoa promote a sense of calm.
  • Foods high in Omega 3, like walnuts, nourish the brain helping you think more clearly, and reduce stress hormones.
  • Foods containing tryptophan, like sunflower seeds, soy & spirulina, cause the production of serotonin; that feel good hormone.
  • Foods containing vitamin C, like kiwi, kale and guava, reduce stress levels and boost your immune system.

And guess what, certain foods can actually cause that nasty stress hormone, Cortisol, levels to rise, and guess what they are: yup, anything packed with fat, sugar or salt; so avoid cakes, chips and crisps!

4. Sleep more

Get a good nights sleep.

Get a good nights sleep.

Try to get more sleep, go to bed a bit earlier than usual. It’s another one of those vicious circles, you’re stressed out, can’t get to sleep so you sleep less. And in turn, less sleep lowers your immunity, makes you irritable and reduces your ability to cope causing you more angst and anxiety. So how do you break this cycle?

Here are a few tips to get more sleep:

  • Switch off the TV & computer at least half an hour before you go to bed: use this time to have a relaxing bath or listen to some calming music.
  • Do some very gentle yoga or Tai Chi to help calm your body and mind.
  • Listen to a guided body relaxation, there is one included in my online Stress Management course
  • Do some long, slow, deep breathing and become completely involved in the process of breathing, how it feels, the movements of the body, the flow of air at the lips, nostrils of the back of the throat. You can also count your breaths, counting backwards from 100 to 0 each time you inhale and exhale.

5. Learn some stress management tools

Finally, make some time to learn some tools that will help you to reduce your stress levels and help you to deal with any issues in your work or home life. Mindfulness based stress reductions techniques have been shown to reduce stress levels and to help us to be more peaceful and happy within ourselves, despite an increasingly overwhelming and demanding world.

There are lots of really simple and very effective tools out there we can use to help ourselves, these are just 5 that I have found useful in my own life. I hope you can take some time to check out more information about my new Stress Management Course, it lasts for 8 weeks, but only requires about a half an hour of your time each day, so it really doesn’t need a massive commitment of your time.

Stay happy, healthy and remember to enjoy life!

Stress Management for a Modern World


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I am thrilled to be releasing a new 8 week on-line programme Stress Management for a Modern World. It is launching on the 20th January 2014 to coincide with Blue Monday, thought to be the most depressing day of the year. There will be another course also staring on the 18thMarch 2014.

With stress levels on the rise every year and costs to industry and health services mounting up, and as someone with personal experience of how stress can cripple your work and personal life, I am sharing the tools I have used to feel better, get a perspective and live a more positive life.

Let's get Stress Out in 2014!

Let’s get Stress Out in 2014!

You can register on-line for the course, and there are also free places available to people who cannot afford to pay the full subscription (usual price is 150 euros).  My goal is to provide as many people as possible with the tools to manage their stress and improve their lives and in the process also to be healthier and happier.

You can listen to a sample Guided Breathing Practice from the course here:

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