Advice on relieving stress

Posted in: Wellbeing Last updated: 17 Aug 2015

Everyone experiences periods of stress from time to time, but fortunately there are plenty of ways to tackle the symptoms of stress – whether it's spending time doing something you love, or simply having a relaxed bedtime routine, we'll explore some of the straightforward steps you can take to help achieve a calm state of mind.

Regularly spending time with your family and doing something enjoyable together can be a fantastic stress-buster. Although family outings are a great way to spend quality time with your children, there's no need to venture far to have fun and appreciate each other's company. You could simply have a long lunch, watch a film or go for a walk together.

Talking about what's making you feel stressed with a member of your family, a close friend or a colleague at work can help you to find a solution to the issue. Choosing to adopt a positive attitude to stress may also help to reduce negative thoughts and gain perspective. In the words of philosopher William James, "the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."

"Sometimes the best antidote to a stressful situation is to spend time doing something that makes you happy, and benefits others."

Sometimes the best antidote to a stressful situation is to spend time doing something that makes you happy, and benefits others. Ever tried volunteering? There's bound to be a local community group or charity looking for support – and participating in a good cause may well help push your stresses to one side and shift your focus to helping those in need.

Have you ever considered how your diet can affect how stressed you feel? As a stimulant, caffeine raises your heart rate and can lead to increased levels of anxiety. According to a report by the Stress Management Society [1], "Caffeine also has negative side effects on the brain and nervous system if taken in vast quantities". Try swapping to caffeine-free teas and soft drinks, or choose fruit instead of chocolate.

As well as improving your fitness levels, according to the American Psychological Association [2] "exercise may improve mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress". You could join a sports club or simply take some time out to go for a speed walk to help clear your mind. Alternatively, gym memberships are often competitively priced and with "6, 312 fitness facilities in the UK", according to the Leisure Database Company [3], it's easier than ever before to access gym equipment and exercise classes.

Sometimes all it takes is a change in your bedtime routine to ease life's pressures. Set aside at least half an hour before you go to bed to have a warm bath or some quiet time spent reading a book. Switching off your laptop, TV and mobile phone before you go to bed is likely to encourage a more relaxed state of mind, and help promote a good night's sleep.

These are just some of the ways you can help relieve stress, but for more information and support check www.nhs.uk.

[1] Stress Management Society “Combating Stress with a Balanced
Nutritional Diet – e-book” [Online] Available from http://www.stress.org.uk/files/combat-nutritional-stress.pdf
[2] American Psychological Association “Exercise Fuels The Brain’s Stress Buffers - Website” [Online] Available from http://www.apa.org
[3] Leisure Database Company – “2015 State of the UK Fitness Industry – Report” [Online] Available from http://www.leisuredb.com

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial adviser about your own circumstances.