Contrary to popular opinion, research suggests that a little bit of stress every now and again can actually be good for you. However, take it too far and stress can become a living nightmare. With over half of Britons claiming that their sleep is affected by worry and stress, it is important to understand what causes stress, how to notice the symptoms and how to tackle it.
Things that play a part in causing us to stress
There are many things which can trigger our stress levels and quickly send them past simmering point. However, there are two main culprits: troublesome everyday situations such as money troubles, relationship conflicts and work problems and big life events such as a divorce, a death in the family or moving house.
The mental and physical symptoms of stress
When stressed, the brain sends signals to the adrenal glands, inducing the release of the three major stress hormones: adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol. Although, in the short term, these ‘fight or flight’ hormones can help us cope with stressful situations, too much can send our bodies out of kilter.
We all react to stress in different ways. Stress has the unfortunate ability to affect almost every part of our body in some way: it induces headaches, upset stomachs and muscular tension to name but a few. As if this wasn’t damaging enough, stress can also affect our mental health, altering our behavior and fluctuating our mood between irritable, angry, anxious, tired, depressed and withdrawn.
How to combat stress
Finding the source of our stress usually isn’t that difficult, but dealing with stress is another kettle of fish entirely. There are a few simple stress relief techniques which we can use to induce a restful night’s sleep. However, what works for one person may not have the same calming effect on you. Maybe one or more of our top 5 stress-relieving tips can help?
- Spend time with friends
Taking time away from your busy schedule to see friends is a great way to manage your stress. Friends not only provide you with a source to vent and resolve your stress-related issues, but they also help to keep your mind off things that are worrying you.
According to research, reading can help reduce stress levels. In fact, reading for just 6 minutes a day can drastically alleviate stress by up to 68 percent!
- Be positive
Positivity is key to living a stress-free lifestyle. Our favourite mantra is ‘I know who I am and I am enough’. Keep reciting this to yourself throughout the day and feel yourself radiate with positivity!
- Play sports/exercise
NHS GP, Dr Alan Cohen, states that “any type of exercise is useful, as long as it suits you and you do enough of it”. So, throw on a pair of trainers and get active! From yoga and walking, to HIIT circuits and long runs, any exercise you get can act as a stress reliever.
- Change your diet
Stress usually leads us to comfort eat or starve ourselves. Either way, stress is detrimental to our health. To beat stress, try a stress reduction diet or simply attempt to fit these top 10 foods for stress relief into your usual diet.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
Sleep is a perfect way to alleviate stress. Scientists have found that during our REM sleep cycle, the levels of stress hormone norepinephrine are reduced, helping us to wake up feeling less stressed and better able to cope with the day ahead. To find out how a memory foam mattress can further help to relieve stress and induce a good night’s sleep, check out our blog post: Reduce Stress with a Memory Foam Mattress.