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10 Real ways to reduce stress

There are so many lists out there about how to be more zen, reduce stress, find happiness, (this is a very long list so I’m going to stop here and let you fill in the rest). Most of them are good and often funny but are sometimes a little unattainable in the real world. I have a full and very busy life so advice like;

  • “Just let go of your need to control” (then how on earth will all the idiots around me know what to do?). Or

  • “Just let go of needing to be perfect” (yeah, but if my desk isn’t lined up perfectly or my make-up done exactly right the world will end?). Or

  • “Let go of the need to be right.” (See above – the control comment). Or

  • “You don’t need everyone to like you.” (Yeah, but I need some people to like me, right?)

I found that reducing stress and discovering inner peace and reconnecting with my spirit (remember I’m still working on this myself), was most successfully achieved by incorporating small manageable changes into my life. So here’s my little, easy to follow list. Give it a go, it just might help .

1 -Find time to be quiet and alone. Even if it means pretending to be on the loo! If you’re always surrounded by people and noise you often can’t hear yourself speak or think, let alone anyone else.

2 - Focus on getting enough good quality sleep. There are many relaxation techniques I could list here, but to be brief – meditation is great, sleep apps, chilled music and warm baths, to name a few. The key here is to get good quality sleep so you feel rested. It’s hard to achieve anything when you are tired. Stress often causes tiredness and vice versa. I use visualisation and picture annoying situations and people floating away on big black clouds and leaving clear skies behind. This technique works really well for me, give it a try.

3 - Work on your breathing. This sounds a bit crazy, but you’d be amazed how breathing correctly can improve all aspects of your life. When you breathe properly you slow your heart rate, your brain gets sufficiently oxygenated and so too does your blood and all your organs, that’s got to be huge plus, right? I have a simple technique which I used to help the children I taught when they were stressing about tests. It’s called square breathing: so breathe in for 3, hold for 3, out for 3, hold for 3, repeat. Try it regularly for a week and see if you notice improvements in your health and stress levels. Focussing on your breathing brings you back into the here and now, to mindfulness; it is a direct path to calmness.

4 - Have more sex. Yes indeed, it’s an all round winner! The Ankh symbol is key for harnessing the energies of orgasm. A good session will help you sleep better and feel more relaxed. There are techniques I use (Ancient Egyptian techniques), that harness the energies of orgasm and channel them back into your body. I plan on doing a whole blog on sex and spirituality later on so stay tuned. It’s best in a trusting relationship, but on your own is fine too , whatever works for you!

5 - Like yourself. This sounds very simple, but we all are far too critical of ourselves. Let’s face it, no one really thinks about you as much as you imagine they do, so chill out, love your body, it’s the only one you have. Love your smile, your age, your hair. Love yourself warts and all. So much of our stress stems from not liking ourselves and pitting ourselves against unrealistic paragons. The best facelift you can give yourself is to smile. Try it for a week. Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself how lovely you are and that you are your most favourite person. It won’t come naturally at first, but persevere, it’s worth it. Beauty comes from within. The picture below is taken from a study by 18 yr old student Shea Glover. She filmed people before and after telling them they are beautiful...

18 yr old student Shea Glover films people before and after telling them they are beautiful

6 - Every cloud really does have a silver lining. Learn to look on the bright side of things. Again it sounds simple but let me give you an example. Last November my leg was crushed by a 45+kg dog! I was walking my two large dogs, stopped to pick up the poop, and was crashed into by a large golden retriever. My right leg was slammed to the left, my femur crushed the top of my tibia, causing vertical fractures. Within a few seconds I went from being healthy (I’d done 50 mins of pilates that morning before going off to walk my dogs), to being rescued by paramedics from the park, 8 days in hospital, metal plates, pins and bone grafts and I couldn’t walk. I was in a wheelchair and full leg cast all over Xmas and am still on crutches as I sit here typing this blog . Don’t get me wrong, I had my dark days over the last 6 months, but bright side; my hubby, who had not cooked a meal in 20 years, can now create delicious roast dinners. My 3 daughters all learnt to cook very well, learning all my secret recipes (I have 4 daughters, but the eldest was already an excellent cook). Everyone pulled together to help out, and this alone was priceless. My 84 year old neighbour popped over and made me a cup of tea every day! There is a whole long list of things I could add here, but you get the gist – bright side!

7 - Spend more time outside. In the garden, in the park, on the beach, or if you’re chained to your desk, just try to sit by a sunny open window. Just being outside, (breathing the fresh air) and walking or just sitting is so good for lifting your mood and helping you to relax. We have become human beings that spend far too much time indoors on electrical gadgets – much like me now! Go outside, play, walk, dance or simply sit under a tree and feel your energies as they are recharged by the tree energies.

8 - Make time for Earthing at least a few times a week. It is so simple and yet so incredibly beneficial. Earthing is walking barefoot upon the Earth, sand, soil, grass, anywhere that is natural. The shortest explanation here is to say that we all contain energy, and sometimes negative energy builds within us. Reconnecting with Mother Earth in this simple way lets us release this negativity into the Earth, whilst allowing us to absorb the good healthy energies of the planet. Sounds crazy? Try it, feel the benefits for yourself.

9 - Focus on becoming a good listener. Did you know that LISTEN & SILENT contain the same letters? So much stress and stressful situations are born from misunderstanding. I’ve trained myself to listen, without defending. That’s listening without planning your response. It’s a cool skill to develop. When you do this you get so much information from body language, tension in voice, rapid breathing and so on. Sometimes in this busy world we live in, we just need to stop and hear what someone has to say.

10 - Buy a salt lamp and use it. I live by the seaside and when we first moved here we noticed after our walks on the beach, how tired and hungry we were and how well we slept. A lot of this is because of the great sea air and all the negative ions that improve our health and increase the absorption of oxygen into our bodies. If you can’t walk by the sea everyday then buy salt lamps (we have them and we live by the sea, win/win ). Many people pooh-pooh the salt lamp and say its not scientifically proven etc. My hubby used to be terribly allergic to our enormous dog Riley, who sleeps in our bedroom, (on the floor). Ever since we started using a salt lamp in our bedroom at night he gets no allergic symptoms whatsoever. Try it, it might just work to lift your health and improve your mood.

11 - Eleven? I hear you say, but the title says 10. Well, I’ve listed 10 real and practical ways to relieve stress, and begin reconnecting with yourself and your spirit. This last one is about your spirit and the universe. If you are searching for a higher purpose in life, a more spiritual connection with the being you might call your God or Goddess, then begin quite simply by trying all of the above and whilst you’re doing them, open your heart and mind and ask for guidance. To connect with your divine being within and beyond yourself, in your quiet moments, just ask. Then open your eyes and ears and mind and watch for the signs as they manifest in your life.

For my part, on my personal journey, there are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason, exactly when it is meant to happen. Yes, even when the proverbial shit hits the fan, stop and take stock, you can guarantee it is happening for a reason, moving you on from a work place you are done with but would never leave until you are pushed, or moving you out of a relationship, friendship or situation because it is time to move on.

Everything that I am now has been the culmination of all the things, both good and bad, that have gone before. Boyfriends, husbands, friends, jobs etc have all shaped me in one way or another into being who I am today. I live by the old adage: People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

I am by no means perfect, but I do look in the mirror everyday and I do love the person I see there . I hope you can reach that point too, (if you haven’t already).

Remember, there is no one path, there are as many paths as there are people. Walk your path with joy!

Thanks for the time you took to read my ramblings.

Peace & light to you ૐ )0(

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