4 natural ways to reduce stress

Stress comes and goes, and can be caused by many of life's daily events. Reduce your stress naturally by making some of these changes.

4 natural ways to reduce stress

1. Keep it interesting

Lethargy is bad for your mental health and it can also have an adverse impact on your physical health. Set yourself the challenge of learning something new on a regular basis. Nothing gives a greater mental charge than mastering an unfamiliar skill.

  • Stretch yourself in some way every day. Try a new activity or visit somewhere you haven't been before. Even finding ways to improve and streamline everyday tasks can be a satisfying challenge.
  • Go to evening classes. Learn a new language, learn to paint or take better photographs, join a choir or take dancing lessons.
  • Don't be a couch potato. Television can be a fascinating adjunct to real life, but it shouldn't take its place. If you watch too much television, try to be more selective and cut back on viewing. Use the time you save to do something different and more stimulating.

2. Make someone's day

Write a thank-you note, pay a genuine compliment or smile at a neighbour.

3. Mind over matter

It's now recognized in both mainstream and alternative medicine that mind and body each have an effect on the other. That's why meditation and positive thinking can enhance physical well-being and why relaxation and massage can calm the mind. The techniques below are all things you can do for yourself.

4. Good thinking

  • Focus on the good things in life. On bad days, this may be a challenge, but keep looking. Sources of joy may come from something as simple as your cat's antics, the first tomatoes of the season from your own vegetable garden or a wonderful book you've just read.
  • Keep a gratitude journal if it helps you identify and be reminded of the positive things in your life. Choose a beautiful book that's a pleasure to use, and try to write down three things every day for which you are grateful.
  • Try listening to New Age or baroque music. These types of music have been found to induce alpha brainwaves, which in turn instil deep physical and mental relaxation.
  • Make a point of focusing on the positive things you desire rather than the negative things you don't want. In time, you'll find that your thinking shifts effortlessly from negative to positive.
  • If a plan goes wrong, don't get angry; instead, think of it as an opportunity to try something different. It could even be something that you've been wanting to do for a long time!
  • Choose to remain calm. It's much kinder to your mind and body. Your reaction to annoying or traumatic events, people and circumstances outside your control determines whether they will be stressful or not.
  • Learn to deflect 'worry' thoughts. It takes practice, but there are techniques to help. By replacing gloomy beliefs with life-affirming ones, you'll break the cycle of stress that accompanies negativity.
  • Let go of all or nothing thinking. No one is perfect.
  • To help you relax, listen to meditation music and guided-meditation recordings. These are particularly useful at the end of the day to help prepare you for a good night's sleep.
  • Take advantage of beautiful days and meditate in the open air.

Sometimes, stress relief is about taking the time to assess your feelings and doing something that helps calm you. With these tips, you will have something to fall back on to help you in times of stress.

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