the S word: navigating stress and the effect it has on our lives.
‘Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.’ - Jane Wagner
There is a global feeling of uncertainty that has caused some of us to feel lost and confused. This feeling can lead to high stress levels, felt by many individuals regularly.
Research conducted by Forth found more than a third of the British population experience stress at least once a week. In 2020 alone, eight in ten adults endured stress as a result of the pandemic, according to the Mental Health Foundation.
what is stress?
As specified by Dr. William Shiel Jr., ‘[i]n a medical or biological context, stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.’
reducing your stress.
1. avoid multitasking.
Multitasking can be overwhelming at times. A helpful trick if you struggle with staying on top of deadlines and tasks then make a list of your priorities and commit to those first.
When I make this list, I organise my responsibilities from most to least important to indicate which need more time devoted to them but you can find what works best for you.
For more on this topic, read our blog on ‘different ways to manage your time effectively’.
Try spending some time exercising everyday and giving yourself the chance to do something that you enjoy, whether that is dancing around your room or walking around your neighbourhood. “Exercise should be something you enjoy; otherwise, it will be hard to find the motivation to do it regularly.” - Dr. Alan Cohen
My suggestion would be to do this in the morning after getting out of bed as that is when our bodies crave movement the most. If you don’t know what your body wants, experiment! When you find what works for you, increase the time that you spend doing it.
After finishing your exercise, you could spend five minutes meditating to clear your head. There are loads of great meditation YouTube accounts or apps such as Headspace to help and guide you.
3. crystals, incense and candles.
Some people believe that crystals have the ability to power the body and your surrounding environment with positive and healing energy. In some cases, they can absorb negative energy from your body.
Some crystals that can help with stress are: Clear or Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Blue Lace Agate, Black Tourmaline and Blue Calcite.
Incense has been part of spiritual and religious rituals in different cultures throughout the centuries from Ancient Egypt to Greece and it is believed to clear negative energy and help reduce stress and anxiety. Incense comes in different forms, such as sticks, cones, powders and coils. The best sticks to feel more calm and reduce stress are: lavender, lemon grass, frangipani, sandalwood, vanilla and vintage rose.
Many researchers claim that burning candles can be extremely beneficial. According to Dr. Annie Negrin, simply gazing at a candle flame can bring your brain to the alpha brainwave state which can increase creativity and relaxation.
There is no need for the candle to be fragranced but if preferred, choose one of the incense fragrances mentioned above.
Taking a couple deep breaths and releasing the tension from your brain and your upper body is the most important thing out of this whole list! If you can’t do anything out of the aforementioned, don’t worry, just breathe.
These are some of the ways that I have dealt with stress in my life and that made me more aware of my body and mind. Understanding and navigating our stress is unique to each of us so find what works best for you.