Fit for the Future - Wellbeing at Ashford and Saint Peter's Hospitals

5 Tips for Stress Relief

Stressful events can happen to anyone so we all need to learn how to manage stress.

The modern pace of life means that many people suffer to some degree with this problem.

As with many things, taking a proactive approach can be beneficial, so here are 5 quick tips to help manage stressful moments and feel more relaxed:

 

1. Breathing

Something as simple as breathing can help focus your concentration and rapidly soothe your frayed nerves. Try this simple exercise:

  • Using the thumb and forefinger from your left hand, gently apply pressure to your nose just above your nostrils.
  • Breathe in slowly counting to five.
  • Hold your breath for a further count of five.
  • Breathe out to a count of eight.
  • As you exhale imagine that you are breathing out the tension inside your body.
  • Repeat four or five times.

 

2. Roll Away the Tension

This exercise helps relieve tension in your jaw, neck and shoulders and is best carried out sitting at your desk, sitting cross-legged, or kneeling on the floor.

  • Move your head slowly in an exaggerated circle in a clockwise direction
  • Carry out two further clockwise rotations.
  • Reverse direction and carry out three anti-clockwise rotations.

 

3. Avoid Using Caffeine, Cigarettes and Alcohol as Coping Mechanisms

The most unhelpful thing you can do to combat stress is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking.

Whilst you might think that coffee, tea, cigarettes or alcohol are helping you cope, the reverse is actually true. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants which add to your body's stress responses and alcohol is a depressant.

 

4. Laughter is the Best Medicine

Laughter is very beneficial for you and it starts to act immediately. When you laugh you don't just feel better, your body reacts positively too. Laughing increases your intake of air, increases the release of endorphins from your brain, and stimulates your heart lungs and muscles. This increases your circulation and relaxes your muscles, easing your tension away.

 

5. Acupressure

Acupressure is a blend of "acupuncture" and "pressure" and can be a great way to treat stress.

To carry out acupressure, you must press firmly on the acupressure point for a minimum of 20 to 30 seconds to a maximum of two minutes and, whilst applying the pressure, you breathe slowly and deeply. Don't use acupressure if the pressure point is over any weakness in the skin, such as a bruise or cut, and stop immediately if you experience pain, numbness or tingling.

 

Below are two acupressure points that can be used to help soothe stress and anxiety:

  • Beneath the Eyebrows - You have two pressure points just below your eyebrows. Place both your thumbs under your eyebrows about a finger's width in from where your eyebrows begin and then apply firm upwards pressure.
  • The "Third Eye" or Worry Spot - Your worry spot can be found in the middle of your forehead and is over the part of your brain which is responsible for evaluating incoming stimuli, to determine whether or not you should worry about them. By applying pressure or gently massaging this spot, it can help relieve tension and ease worries.