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Top 5 Tips to Reduce Stress

Feeling frazzled after all the Christmas festivities? It’s unsurprising - January can be one of the most stressful times of the year says Judi James, a psychologist and expert in communications and body language. Between sales shopping and recovering from the excesses of the party season negative behaviours such as rising tension, stress levels and blood pressure can arise.

Whilst we may not be able to get rid of stress entirely we can learn how to combat it. Here are 5 top tips that you can apply to keep the stress at bay throughout 2018:

1. Keep Active

Scientists have found that partaking in regular exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

2. Nutrition

On stressful days, eat little and often. This will keep your metabolism ticking over all day and you will minimise peaks and troughs in energy levels. If you are feeling overly stressed, your digestive system is probably under a great deal of strain, therefore making changes to your diet could be key to feeling better physically and emotionally. Foods that can have negative effects on the body when under stress include: caffeine, foods high in fat and sugar and alcohol. Food that you should eat to relieve stress are: Fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and Calcium-rich foods.

3. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Over time, mindfulness brings about long-term changes in mood and levels of happiness and well being. Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but that it also positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability so that when they arise, they dissolve away again more easily.

4. Disconnect

According to some research, heavy use of computers and cell phones can be linked to increased stress, sleep disorders and even depressive symptoms. Other scientists have warned that the light from mobile devices tends to be from the part of the spectrum that can disrupt our body clocks. And some pundits wonder if technology is leaving us with shorter attention spans. If you hit a point where technology is really getting on top of you, get out of there. Leave your phone on the desk and get outside for a walk. It’s not long-term solution, but half an hour of fresh air helps you see things from a new perspective and makes you feel better.

5. Get Away from it all

If you can’t remove the stress, remove yourself. Numerous studies have shown that vacations – even just a day or two away from the normal routine – can produce reductions in stress. Plus, the stress relief lasts for longer than the vacation. Take a break and get away for a weekend of pampering. Book a night or two away and take advantage of not having to do anything. Order room service and an in-room massage. Lounge at the hotel pool, relax in the sauna or get a treatment at the spa. Indulge a little and pamper yourself, these quiet moments may give you a fresh perspective on your problems.

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