While our bodies have the ability to naturally calm us down in stressful situations, often we can push ourselves too far. When we run our bodies at too high of a speed, we can lose that calming ability.
Chronic stress and feeling constantly alert can make us feel as though we have lost the ability to relax. Without this ability, feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, sleeping problems and fluctuating weight can develop.
It is important to take time for yourself, whether you schedule an hour every morning, evening or one day a week.
The following are some of our favourite ways to de-stress and stay happy:
1. Drink green tea
Drinking green tea has been found to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. Green tea is also a great alternative to a more stimulating caffeine source, such as coffee.
2. Eat soothing foods
Eating foods rich in vitamin B6 and the amino acid, glutamine helps our body produce the main self-soothing neurotransmitter, gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). Foods with good levels of this include chicken, fish, milk, eggs, spinach, beans, beetroot and parsley.
Sit comfortably in a quiet room, breathe in deeply and focus on the exhalation. Let the breath out slowly and make it flow. To enhance the soothing effects of deep breathing, make an “ah” sound as you exhale.
4. Touch your lips and soften your face
If you’re a yoga fan, you may have heard the phrase, “Soften your eyes, face and jaw”. While this appears to be a complicated direction if overthought, we actually do this naturally as a self-soothing technique when feeling stressed.
When under stress, we may feel tension behind the eyes and we can directly access this nerve via the tongue, ear lobe and surface of the lips. Touching the lips, breathing aloud and rubbing our ears are natural stress relievers we can do every day.
5. Daily self-massage
Did you know that washing your hands with warm water, rubbing your tummy or putting a hand to your chest technically counts as a short method of self-massage? The sensation of touch can make us feel calm quickly as it links with our natural need for touch and warmth.
6. Ask for a hug
A simple stress reliever, asking for a hug or giving one to yourself can offer the chance for the body to “let go”. As mentioned above, close human contact is a natural need and one of the key ways to recover from crisis.