April is Stress Awareness Month, an initiative that aims to raise awareness about the 'modern day stress epidemic', as the more we learn about the causes of stress the more we have the power to make changes. All of us are guilty of cramming too much into our day, and life in London without a doubt constitutes living in the fast lane. With this in mind we have collated our top five DIY stress techniques to kickstart the month as we mean to go on:
Go On A Noise Diet:
It comes as no surprise that several studies have found that loud noise and distracting sounds have the ability to stimulate the release of the body's stress hormones. Life in the capital engulfs us in the sounds of the city, however the option of a quieter environment is not one that is immediately available. So, the next best thing is the Noise Diet - this could quiet simply involve finding a quiet place at home, or in the garden, alternatively it may be worth investing in a pair of noise cancelling headphones.
Live And Let Laugh:
It turns out laughing is one of the best stress busters around and it's completely free of charge! Laughing increases the intake of oxygen, stimulates the heart and lungs and increases the level of endorphins. A really good laugh cools down your stress response, so your outlook on things that were previously stressing you out can tremendously improve even after you've stopped laughing.
Whilst the act of cleaning your home does not immediately spring to mind as an effective release of tension, it is in fact a stress buster in disguise. This household chore not only keeps you busy and active, but it also gives your a mind the much needed time out from things that are causing stress. Cleaning also doubles up as a form of physical activity which pumps some of those all important endorphins into your system. And to finish it off, this DIY stress buster results in a clean and clutter free home!
Breakfast of Champions:
Or more specifically, a glass or orange juice and a bowl of oatmeal. Orange Juice is bursting with Vitamin C which has cortisol lowering properties. Oatmeal is full of potassium and magnesium both of which have been proven to lower blood pressures and results in an increased feeling of relaxation. Furthermore, eating oatmeal on a regular basis has can boost serotonin levels - our natural happy drug!
When we're stressed, our breathing gets fast and shallow, a pattern that when prolonged tends to cause an increase in anxiety. By learning to control our breathing pattern by focusing on taking deeper and slower breaths, our stress levels are reduced instantly. This results in an instant reduction of anxiety, but also a relaxed response. Meditation is a great practice by which we can learn learn more about our breathing patterns.