Stress less: what a wonderful idea but how do you do it?

To stress less in our work places, families and social lives sounds difficult, but is it really that hard?

Lowering our adrenalin rush, reducing our busyness, working from a place of less stress, being more in the moment, more with people and enjoying life from a peaceful place can be achievable, sometimes with just a few small changes

Different people achieve these goals using different methods.

Some take a physical approach; they exercise, stretch, take slow breaths when a stressful situation occurs, relax with a favourite warm beverage, or use calming herbs to help. Diet too, is important for getting good fuel into your body.

Others take the approach that stress is all in their heads and they change their thinking or approach to life to reduce stress. If the harsh words of elderly parents are seen as criticism it is stressful, but if the words are seen as the expression of elderly lives with little power left it is unpleasant, but no longer stressful. Writing a journal has been shown to have positive benefits in helping people address their thinking or their approach to stressful situations.

Still others work on an emotional level; expressing and letting the emotions go and work at healing the deep hurts often with the help of a professional. Laughing, having fun, and doing some enjoyable activities are also helpful tools in healing the emotions and shifting our focus.

A spiritual approach is the essence of stress management for many people. This can include meditating, praying and being with God, experiencing nature, listening to music, and getting in touch with the deeper part of what makes us human.

It seems to me that we need to constantly be working on all four areas, physical, thought processes, emotional, and spiritual dimensions for us to stress less and achieve a more peaceful life. Individually all have a role in helping us to stress less and in combination they can have a profound effect.

A counsellor is also a great resource to help you work on these areas. As an objective listener they can help you define and realise your goals around living with less stress and they can help with the hurts and past events which often keep us stuck in our stressful ways.

Whatever you think could work for you, resolve to try something new to reduce your experience of stress. So much of life can be enjoyed more fully when we put a little time and effort into nurturing our mental health; and as you can see, it often takes very little to make a big difference.

Ruth Walker