14 Ways to Beat Stress and Feel Happier
Many people believe the purpose of life is to seek happiness, and the good news is apparently we can train our minds to do this. 90% of happiness is said to come from within, yet many people tend to attribute material possessions or other factors to happiness. (Source) We tend to think achieving or doing something will make us happy, or we’ll let ourselves be happy ‘tomorrow’, then when we get there we raise our standards and we’re rarely satisfied. There is no better time to try and manage our internal states and try to control our thoughts.
In a world that seems to be getting increasingly fast-paced, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or stressed. This can have a negative impact on our bodies, stress is inflammatory and produces the hormone cortisol. It’s bad for the immune system, and it’s said to be a big factor in the cancer puzzle.
If we think about our daily ‘To do’ lists, I’m sure most of us wouldn’t schedule time out for ourselves or make ourselves a priority. Having a bit of downtime can be hugely beneficial, our mind-body connection is so strong that our mental state does impact us physically. Often we can be our own worst critics and I’ve recently been trying to speak to myself like I would a best friend. If you were ever on a date with the voice in your head, would you be happy? The mind is so powerful we only have to think about placebos as an example. So, knowing the impact our thoughts can have on our bodies and stress can have on our overall wellbeing, here are some of the steps we can take to manage our thoughts, celebrate life, and in doing so be healthier:
- Learning to say ‘No’ can be empowering, try pleasing yourself before pleasing other people. Often we say no and make some excuse to re-arrange doing something at a later date. It then comes around and we still don’t want to do it, try it…’No’.
- Take time out for an Epsom Salt bath, soaking for 20 minutes in a warm bath can instantly help you de-stress and balance your magnesium levels. Magnesium is essential for helping keep our serotonin (mood) levels in check.
- Try starting each day by being grateful for anything good in your life before beginning your daily routine. Just a few moments of reflection time can set your day on a positive note.
- Start a gratitude journal and pick a time during the day that works for you to write down three things you are grateful for. This can be people, events, food, activities…whatever makes you happy. By looking for the positive in the day instead of the negative, we start to re-wire our brains and look for the good in situations. Writing down positive experiences means we re-live them. Of course there are many bad things that can happen but there are also some great things to write down. By starting to do this you can look back and reflect on different times and how far you’ve come. Gratefulness links to happiness, and it’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.
- Look into Mindfulness, when our brains are working in ‘default mode’ we can try to multitask and this can make us feel more stressed. By learning to be present and focusing on one thing at a time we will feel better for it. Turning off our phones and computers at some point each day and unwinding can be key.
- Smile at yourself in the mirror.
- Negative thoughts can create a negative environment in our cellular systems. Surround yourself with positive people, laugh often, sing, give and get hugs, find things that make you happy and do them regularly. Look at your daily schedule and schedule time for the things you enjoy. Often we do things because we think we should, not because we want to.
- Make time for close friendships, personal relationships and family. The world’s longest living populations put their long lifespans down to a strong sense of community.
- Learn to let go and forgive, yourself and others. Try to move on, life really is short and your energy is needed elsewhere.
- Spend time doing something of real value, maybe something charitable. Giving is good for us and gives us a sense of purpose.
- Pay attention to your thoughts and work out what causes you stress, get rid of these things. Try to speak to yourself more kindly, imagine if other people could hear your internal voice sometimes.
- Keep moving by doing any exercise you enjoy, get your blood pumping.
- Taking some time to be still each day can really help to de-stress and unwind. If you fancy trying meditation a great beginners App we really recommend is Headspace- you can do a 10-day-free-trial Headspace.
- Get outside, breathe and enjoy some time with nature. It is grounding and peaceful, while the world seems like it’s moving quickly, trees stay rooted in the same spot for hundreds of years.
Personal Care Manager
Sophie knows first hand the difficulties people face when they get a cancer diagnosis. As a trained journalist, after a lymphoma diagnosis at the age of 23 her research head went into overdrive. During an intensive six months of chemo she found having a focus and creating a multi-stage recovery plan gave her a real sense of determination. Realising there are big gaps in practical support in primary care and knowing there are things we can do to prevent and recover from cancer, she wants to share everything she’s learnt. Her belief is that in many cases cancer happens as a multi-stage process and to recover we need to be focusing on a number of different areas. While each individual is different, these include: diet, exercises, detoxification and cultivating a healthy mental attitude. She strongly believes we are three parts in synergy mind, body and spirit. An integrative cancer care approach combining conventional and other holistic treatments is important. Sophie hopes sharing information and having a conversation will empower people to take an active role in their health.
*The views shared in this post are not necessarily shared by the Victoria’s Promise Charity and our the independent writing’s of the author.