April is National Stress Awareness Month – and in our modern world, surrounded by notifications, alerts, reminders and alarms, it’s hardly surprising that we’re all feeling a bit stressed out. After some bleak winter months, April is the true start of Spring, when days get a little lighter and we all feel a little brighter, so National Stress Awareness Month couldn’t come at a better time. If you’re suffering from stress and can’t seem to stop worrying, here are a few of our top stress tips to help put your mind at ease.
Four top stress busting tips for Stress Awareness Month:
Stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body – so it’s vital to find a way to cope when it all gets a bit much. We’re here to help, with some top stress tips to help you let go of internal tension. Here are some of our top things to help with stress.
Try the 54321 technique
Sometimes you need things to help with stress in the short term – if you’re having one of those days where you feel like you might cry, or scream, or do some kind of nightmare cry-scream combo, then stress tips that involve immediate action like the 54321 technique might help.
This method for dealing with anxiety is great for stress busting, as recommended by the Independent. It’s simple – if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to stop and look around you. Then, count:
- Five things you can see
- Four things you can hear
- Three things you can feel (like the temperature of the room, or your feet in your shoes)
- Two things you can smell
- One thing you can taste (even if it’s just your tongue)
This stress-busting exercise shifts your focus away from the thing that’s making you feel stressed to your surroundings instead. We’re not going to get too fluffy on you about ‘living in the moment’, but this stress tip can be really helpful for interrupting stressful thoughts and helping you to feel grounded, which can help you to stop worrying.
Breathing is a bit of a no-brainer. Literally, since your brain does it for you without you having to think about it. But if you’re feeling really stressed out, focusing on your breathing is really powerful for stress busting. Even the NHS recommends breathing exercises to help with stress. (And there are some serious scientific studies to back this up.) During National Stress Awareness Month, if you feel yourself getting flustered or stressed, try a breathing exercise to calm down your thoughts and help give you a moment of peace and calm. A technique like square breathing might help:
- Breathe in deeply through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold that breath for 4 seconds
- Exhale out through your mouth for 4 seconds
- Rest for 4 seconds… and then repeat the steps again.
Here’s a handy little graphic from thortful to help you remember how to do square breathing:
Have a cup of tea
Yes, really. It’s a very British solution to a crisis, but there’s actual science to back up the idea that having a cup of tea can help with stress. Scientists at University College London found that people who drank black tea were able to de-stress more quickly when compared to people who drank a fake tea substitute – and tea drinkers had lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, when they were exposed to a stressful situation.
Not to mention, taking time away from a stressful situation and taking a moment to relax with a cup of tea is always a good idea. So yes, when your mum always used to say ‘put the kettle on, a cuppa will make it all seem better’ she might actually have been onto something.
Image source: Pexels
Focus on the positive
This one might sound deeply, deeply patronising if you’re stressed out of your mind over something you can’t control. But trying to be more ‘glass half full’ can really help you to stop worrying, or at least help you to get your frazzled brain back under control by thinking about the good rather than the bad. But saying ‘just think positive!’ isn’t very helpful – instead, here are some helpful stress busting tips for focusing on the positive that are a bit more practical during National Stress Awareness Month.
- At the end of the day, write down a list of everything that went well that day. Even if it’s only one or two things, after a week you might be surprised how many good things happened that you’d otherwise have forgotten about in the haze of stress!
- Practice some gratitude – think of people or moments that bring you happiness. If a co-worker helped with a project at work that’s stressing you out, take a moment to be quietly grateful for their support. If you’ve got a friend who’s going through a tough or stressful time, our Send a Smile cards are perfect for sending a lovely little note of positivity.
- Start your day off with a positive moment – practice some positive affirmations, listen to an upbeat song, or share the good vibes by complimenting someone else.
It’s worth mentioning that while these stress busting tips can help if you’re having a stressful day or going through a tough time, continuous stress can really have an impact on your mental health. If you’re suffering from serious stress that’s affecting your health and wellbeing, check out resources from the NHS or from Mind.
Hopefully, some of these simple stress busting tips will help you to relax a little during National Stress Awareness Month. If you’re looking for some more guides to relieving little worries and stresses, try our guide on how to make the most of working from home, or our list of 39 small joys in life to be grateful for. And for more lifestyle guides and tips, check out the thortful blog.