Natural Stress Relief Techniques for a Complicated Life

natural stress relief

Natural Stress Relief Techniques for a Complicated Life

As a practicing pharmacist I am increasingly concerned at the number of people who resort to popping pills to deal with stress rather than consider natural stress relief techniques.

I’ve been someone who has struggled with stress in the past so I know what it’s like to feel under pressure and anxious about what the future might bring.

In daily life, many people find themselves rushing to fit everything in. For example, they hop out of bed. They go to work. And before you know it, it’s time to put the kids to sleep and start the process all over again. If this sounds like you, you know the feeling all too well. You’re stressed. You don’t have time to sit down. You can’t take anymore.

Finding ways to relieve this kind of stress works to calm you and make you feel more relaxed about life. There are a number of natural stress relief techniques that can help you do this. These are wide and varied. And best of all, most of these methods can be found right at your fingertips.

When you’re stressed, you may be tempted to drink or engage in activities that are detrimental to your health. However, finding ways to combat stress can help ease the pressure you may be feeling. The first step to relieving your stress is to learn what causes it before it starts.

Take time to think about the reasons you are feeling stressed and make a note of them. Addressing these issues is a matter for another article I am planning to share with you.

For now, let’s look at some simple but very effective natural stress relief techniques:

Meditation

Are you constantly racing against the clock? Do you need just a few spare moments to relax and unwind?

If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, you may want to consider meditation. Studies show that meditation quiets the brain and gets you more in tune with your thoughts. At the same time, you get a brief reprieve from whatever is stressing you. The nice thing about meditation is that it doesn’t cost anything, and it doesn’t involve putting harmful substances in your body. Many doctors prescribe medication for stress, and it doesn’t help.

Meditation as a natural stress relief technique comes with a number of benefits. These include peace of mind and a renewed sense of well-being. But did you also know that your brain releases hormones every time you meditate? It’s true. When these hormones are released, the brain sends electric signals that connect to your muscles. This helps to lower blood pressure, experts say, which in the long run can make you feel good.

Exercise

Exercise is another natural stress relief method that will make you feel better. According to health experts, your brain rushes endorphins to your body when you exercise. This can make you happy and give you energy. This sudden boost of energy gives you a positive attitude, so you can approach the world and meet the demands of life.

Try taking a brief walk, or lift some weights. Start your workout small. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend working out each day. Exercise is a great natural stress relief technique, because it allows you to channel stress into a physical outlet.

Breathing Exercises

Do some deep breathing while you work out. Not only does it circulate air through your lungs, but it also helps calm your nerves. This helps clear your lungs and gives you energy. When you do this, you will find that you can think more clearly and function more effectively.

Focusing on the very act of breathing as you take a deep inhalation and then breathe out is a great way to quiet the mind and slow down any racing thoughts. I also try to visualize the feelings of stress being blown out of my body as I breathe out.

Let’s Dance!

Dancing is a great way to relieve stress. As a natural stress relief technique, it is a lot of fun. Take time out of your busy day to turn on some music and let loose in the living room.

Dancing with a partner is great but if you don’t have someone to dance with don’t let that stop you. Whether its having a boogie to some country tune or moshing to some heavy metal, put on your favourite songs and just go for it. You will be amazed at how good you feel afterwards.

Over to You!

Finding natural stress relief techniques is a surefire way to significantly reduce your stress levels and make you feel better overall. Take these simple tips and incorporate them into your stress management repertoire. You will begin to feel a lot better about yourself, and your health will improve overall

How To Improve Self Esteem

how to improve self esteem

Having a good opinion of yourself – in other words good self esteem – is one of the most important factors in being able to feel happy or content and able to enjoy the life you lead.

We all have bad days when we lack confidence and doubt our own abilities but when this becomes a regular or daily event then low self esteem has become a problem that needs to be addressed.

So if this is something you are struggling with then you probably want to know how to improve self esteem and climb out of the slump you find yourself in. Well, you’ve come to the right place because these are some of the ways I’ve found to help.

How To Improve Self Esteem

  • Tell yourself a different story. Every day we talk endlessly to ourselves and without realising it, you are probably telling yourself a lot of negative things. Start becoming more aware of when this is happening. When you find yourself thinking things like “I can’t do this” or “I don’t deserve this” you are subconsciously making that your reality. Remember these are only thoughts and you have total control over what you think. Start replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones.
  • Focus on your strengths and ignore your weaknesses. Everyone has things that they are good at and things which they are not so good at. The problem is – most of us spend far too much time dwelling on our faults and weaknesses and comparing ourselves to people who are good at the things we struggle with. For example my friend is a much better golfer than me and if I was to simply  dwell on my golfing ability in comparison to him then I would feel very bad about myself. Take some time to work out what your strengths are – what is it that you do well? Spending more time remembering the good things about you will give you a boost to your self esteem.
  • Change your inner circle. John Lee Dumas always ends his Entrepreneurs On Fire podcast by reminding listeners that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Think about who you spend your time with and if they are people who reinforce negative thoughts about you then you need to consider spending les time with them and finding people who are more supportive of you.
  • Do something you can be proud of. This is a great way to build your self esteem while at the same time doing something to help others. Find a way to volunteer – perhaps by helping your favourite charitable organisation in some way. The people you help out will be grateful for what you do and receiving their thanks will make you feel good about yourself. Remember – if you do good things to others, they tend to do good things to you in return.
  • Become more assertive. When you have low self esteem you often find yourself agreeing to do things you don’t want to do. Try to become more assertive. This is not the same as being aggressive or dominant. It simply means that you respect the thoughts and wishes of others and expect the same from them in return. Learn to say No. It’s easier if you also explain why you are saying No. Remember – if you act like a mat, don’t be surprised if people walk over you!
  • Make time for yourself. This can be hard if you work full-time or have kids or other responsibilities but it’s really important to find time for the things you love and want to do. Whether it’s something small like time spent reading or watching a favourite TV program or something bigger like a night out or a vacation, showing your subconscious that you value your own enjoyment will boost your self esteem.

When you know how to improve self esteem you will unlock the doors to personal happiness, self confidence and success. Many of these tips might seem very simplistic on the surface but simple solutions are often the most powerful ones.

I know from my own experience that when I learned how to improve self esteem I started to realise what potential I had and it opened my eyes to achieving more in life. Try it for yourself and be pleasantly surprised!

How To Build Self Confidence

We all admire people who have self confidence and probably wish we could be a bit more like them. After all confident people seem to be among the happiest people we know and they always seem to be able to achieve the goals they set themselves.

In general, confident people achieve more success and live life on their own terms.

What about You? Would you like some of that too?

In this article I want to share with you my 10 favourite tips to help you learn How to build self confidence for yourself.

How To Build Self Confidence

  1. Get Some Exercise. Before you sigh too deeply or roll your eyes, I’m not suggesting you start training for the marathon or become a bodybuilder. However, taking some moderate exercise will improve your fitness and general health as well as leaving you feeling better about yourself. Completing a workout gives you a sense of achievement which helps you to feel more positive about the next challenge.
  2. Tackle some negatives. Take some time to think about the things that irritate or annoy you in your life and write them all down. Once you’ve written them down, start thinking about what you can do to eliminate or lessen them. Then take action! Dealing with problems is a great boost to self confidence
  3. Give your ego a boost. Think about the things you are good at and write these down too. You might actually surprise yourself at how big your list might be. Rather than focus on things you struggle with, remind yourself regularly of the things you actually do well.
  4. Be yourself. We all out on different faces to some extent in different situations but make sure it doesn’t get to the extent where you aren’t being true to the real you. Take pride in being the individual that you are and let other see what a great person you are too.
  5. Stop feeling inferior. If you regularly find yourself thinking that “I can’t do it” or “I can’t have it” or “I don’t deserve it” then you need to change your mindset now. When one of these thoughts enters your head, dismiss it and tell yourself the opposite instead.
  6. Relish a challenge. When faced with a challenge, instead of just shying away from it or avoiding it, make yourself face up to it. Consider what you can do to overcome problems such as research, trying alternative methods, or asking for help.
  7. Challenge self-doubt. Sometime thoughts of self-doubt are good to prevent you from getting into trouble but usually they are just negative thoughts that will hold you back from achieving the things you want. Next time you doubt your abilities ask yourself if the doubt is valid. Be honest with yourself. If its not then its time to dismiss the emotion and believe in yourself.
  8. Change your outlook on failures. It’s inevitable that you will fail from time to time and if you are low on self confidence then this can just make you feel even less confident. The trick is to stop focusing on the failure and instead ask yourself what you have learned from the failure and use it to make better decisions the next time. Keep reminding yourself that a failure is actually a learning opportunity.
  9.  Take ownership of your problems. If you really want to know how to build self confidence then take note of this tip. I am always amazed at the lengths that people go to, to avoid taking responsibility for their circumstances. If you have problems to deal with then start looking for solutions to them today. Don’t wait for other people to sort them for you – do it yourself! Being brave and decisive in your actions will boost your confidence enormously.
  10. Trust yourself. Your life experiences to date will have given you the instincts you need to make decisions about what to do. Trust your instincts and when you need to make a choice – go for whatever your gut is telling you. Occasionally you might be wrong but more often you will be glad you trusted yourself and it breeds self confidence for future decisions.

So there you have it – 10 of my favourite tips on how to build self confidence.

If you found this helpful you might benefit even more from my book 10 Minute Power-Confidence. You can read more about it here:

How to Manage Stress By Improving Your Communication Skills

how to manage stress

Stress is a part of everyday life.  It can creep up at the most convenient or inconvenient times.  Whether small or large, the causes of stress are wide and varied, bringing with them intense emotion and excitement.  But even amid pressures and not so expected events, you can manage to find peace in the face of conflict.

The question is: What is the best way to deal with stress, when it feels as though every emotion within you is racing?

Listen

If you’re stressed over everything under the sun, your emotions are running on hyper speed.  Your thoughts are moving faster than a freight train, and you can’t seem to sort out thoughts.

When this happens, you have already been propelled into the fight or flight mode.  Your brain is trying to put the puzzle pieces together.  And most likely, you don’t have time to hone in on how you feel about the situation.

Slow down.  Grab the reins, and get in touch with what you are feeling.  Sometimes people find it hard to communicate their own thoughts when they’re stressed.  But stress management requires that you get in touch with yourself.  When you take time to really get to know yourself and your feelings about the situation, you are that much closer to figuring out how to solve the problem.

Communication

Sometimes just talking things out with a friend or close loved one can ease the stress of the situation.  A spouse can sometimes see things in you that you can’t always see in yourself.

When you open up to a significant other, you make yourself vulnerable to your true fears and feelings about the stress at hand.  And you are finally able to release some stress.

Tell your partner what they can do to help ease your stress.  And if possible, ask for a back rub.  Not only does this feel good, but also it helps you get rid of some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Your muscles tense up when you’re stressed, and your breathing quickens.  A soft massage helps loosen muscle tightness and encourages deep breathing, which in turn, will help you get rid of stress’ physical manifestations.

If you talk to a family member or close friend, ask if they have any suggestions.  Other people may sometimes be able to give you advice on how to alleviate your stress.  As a means of stress management, talking about the source of your stress helps get out emotions that are bottled up inside of you.  It also gives others the opportunity to help you out.

Communicating, as a stress management technique, can be done in a number of ways.  For example, you may find that recording your thoughts in a journal or diary is a great way to get stressful feelings outside of your body and onto an external source.

When you write in a diary, you can also keep a record of your life and what may be bothering you.  And you can always go back and read later to see how you’ve improved.

When you’re under any kind of stress, good or bad, you tense up emotionally as well.  When you keep these feelings inside, you can feel as though you’re about to burst.

To avoid this problem, or to at least cut down on your pressure, don’t let the burden rest on you alone.  If the problem rests on you to solve it, try to develop a game plan, and ask someone if they will be there to talk to you and help you through each step of your stress.

People are generally very receptive when they know you’re under stress.  Also, it may help to ask your partner to share the responsibilities of taking care of your home and family.  If you’re too stressed out at the end of the day, ask your partner if they can put the kids to bed or make dinner, if that is usually your responsibility.

Take a stress management seminar.  A lot of states, provinces and community centers offer stress management seminars.  These seminars simulate stressful situations, and often give you the opportunity to vent your feelings about a stressful situation.  They may even act out stressful scenarios to see how you respond.

Attending these seminars gives you the opportunity to communicate your own feelings and get feedback from others.  Stress management seminars usually average about two hours in length, and are a great way to channel negative energy into a constructive solution.

When you find yourself getting stressed, it’s important to remember that communicating your feelings or venting frustrations are great ways to take the pressure off your heavy heart and onto someone who can help you.

Friends and family are some of your greatest sources of stress relief.  They are there to offer help and guidance.  Take this help, and run toward a more sane life!

What Causes Stress? How to identify the main causes of stress – For YOU!

what causes stress

 

Stress is something we all face from time to time and finding good ways to manage it is very important. When dealing with stress one of the things that people often overlook is identifying what exactly is causing them to feel stressed. And it’s not always what you think it is…

In this video I talk about the major causes of stress as well as some other things you might not think of as being causes of stress.

Have a look at the video and please feel free to comment on any other causes of stress you can think of!

 

How to deal with Stress During the Festive Holiday Season

how to deal with stress

The holidays are a time of happiness and merriment for most people.  But did you know that they are also a major cause of stress for some people?  While many find themselves gathering with family and friends, still others are spending the holidays alone, or are facing hard financial times.

However, finding ways to cope with stress on holiday isn’t as difficult as you may think.  Many people find themselves focusing on their problems during what should be a happy time.  These problems can include anything from not being in a relationship to the holiday blues.

The holiday blues, as many people know it, come from setting unrealistic expectations about how the holidays will turn out.  In your mind, you may build it up to be wonderful and filled with laughter, but unfortunately an argument breaks out.  This can lead to feelings of disappointment.  However, finding ways to reduce stress on holiday are only as far down as a few paragraphs.  Keep reading to find ways to manage holiday stress.

  1. Set a budget. A lot of people find themselves going into debt during the holidays.  This is a major cause of stress. Spending too much causes unnecessary financial pressure that can follow you through the holidays and into the New Year.

To avoid this problem, set aside the maximum amount of money you want to spend on presents this year.  Stick to this figure, and have the funds available.  Try not to rely too much on credit cards, as this incurs extra debt.  Setting a budget will help you feel more relaxed about your holiday spending.  And it will get you prepared for a prosperous and financially sound New Year!

 

  1. Mingle with relatives. A lot of people find themselves spending the holidays with in-laws.  If you don’t get along with your in-laws, it can be difficult to feel like you fit in.  Rather than keeping a silent vigil, find things to talk about.  Bring up subjects that interest others. But don’t brag too much about yourself.  As the holidays go by, you will find that people approach you more often.  And you will enjoy yourself a lot more!

 

  1. Bring a dish. Pitching in with preparing food can significantly reduce your stress on holiday.  Not to mention it helps take stress off of other people.  Try preparing a dish at home, and bring it with you.

Make the dish at your in-laws’ place.  Offer them a sample.  This gets other people involved, and will make them more eager to talk with you.

 

  1. Don’t expect perfection. A lot of people pressure themselves to create a perfect holiday for other people.  This, according to experts, creates unnecessary stress, and can make you feel bad if things don’t turn out exactly as planned.  Tell yourself that you don’t need to be perfect.  Everyone makes mistakes, and things will not always go exactly as planned.  Realize that you can’t do everything.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  People like to get involved.  Realize that you can only do so much.  That way, you don’t expect too much of yourself, and you will be able to enjoy yourself that much more!

 

  1. Simplify your decorating.  It’s easy to put up a lot of decorations for the holidays.  When you have to take them down, you can feel overwhelmed and perhaps let down.  This can lead to feelings of apathy about any upcoming holidays.  Instead of going overboard with trimmings, keep decorations to a minimum.  Put up only what you can manage.  This will make it easier for you to enjoy the holidays and be merry!

Stress during the holidays can put a damper on your holiday, but getting involved and taking a positive approach to the holidays can do wonders for lowering your stress levels.  Taking these stress management techniques to your next holiday gathering can greatly reduce the stress on holiday you would normally feel.  And you will be a lot happier.

Five Simple Breathing Exercises to Relieve Stress Fast

If you are suffering from stress, it can be hard to keep your thoughts straight, let alone focus on anything. When you’re stressed out, your brain is on overdrive and your mind is too concentrated on trying to resolve problems

This is why it’s so important to take a moment to breathe properly. That might sound a little bit strange to you but please bear with me here.

The great thing about deep breathing techniques is that they help you to unwind. Here are some very simple yet very effective breathing exercises that you will find to be a great help to you when stressed.

1. Deep Cleansing Breaths. A lot of people hyperventilate when they’re stressed. Doing this is not going to do you any favours, though.

If you find yourself falling into this pattern, take a moment, and take a deep, cleansing breath. Once you’ve done this, try to get your breathing into a steady rhythm. During the course of the day, take deep breaths, if you begin to stress out.

There are some things you can do to help facilitate this type of deep breathing. For example, you could lay down a blanket and pillow on the floor. Lay on your side or on your back, whichever is more comfortable.

Prop your head up on the pillow and close your eyes for a minute. As you do, practice your deep breathing until you feel your thoughts begin to quiet. Slowly, elevate your shoulders, if it helps you breathe more clearly.

As a stress relief technique, deep breathing exercises help quiet your thoughts and help both your mind and your body become one. The important thing to remember, though, is not to let your mind race, as you worry about other things you need to do. A lot of people make this mistake and actually add to their stress, rather than alleviate it.

2. Always try to breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. It’s healthier to breathe this way, because the air going through your air passageways is cleaner and more pure.

3. It may also help to envision something peaceful when you practice deep breathing techniques. For example you could envision a grassy meadow or the face of a loved one. This is reassuring and may actually take your mind off your problems.

4. Another stress relief breathing technique that may help is focusing on your breathing without being distracted by negative thoughts. This may help you quiet your thoughts. When you home in on your own breathing, your mind has something to focus on, other than the stressful situation.

Listen to your breath. Does it rise and fall? Focus in on this. If you find that you’re breathing too quickly, slow down, and take long, sweeping breaths. Finding a quiet place away from other people also helps.
5. Being in large groups of people can be stressful and may make it difficult to truly relax. If you can, try to find a quiet place to unwind. You will notice that a calm feeling comes over you. If it helps, do some light stretching while you practice deep breathing techniques. Stretch your arms slowly above your head as you breathe in and out.

Don’t neglect yourself. A lot of people get stressed when they have no time for themselves. A lot of people use the excuse that they have too much to do and don’t have time for themselves. This couldn’t be father from the truth. You can always make time, even if it’s just a few minutes, to focus on your own well being.

Deep breathing can clear your mind of negative thoughts and actually give you the energy to focus on more important things. It will keep you from getting too stressed out by small things. These small things can turn into big problems when you build them up in your mind.

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to calm yourself when you’re under stress, you should consider deep breathing techniques, as they are very simple to do. You can practice deep breathing anywhere. Once you get started with these techniques, you will find them to be an effective way of coping with stress in your life. Use them!!

A Lesson in Self-Confidence from Winston Churchill

self-confidence

My wife and I went to the cinema recently to see the film “Darkest Hour”. The film tells the story of Winston Churchill during the early days of his time as Prime Minister of Britain during the Second World War.

It’s a fantastic film and I really recommend you go to see it if you haven’t already done so.

One of the things that stood out for me was the incredible courage and self-confidence shown by Churchill at this point during the war, when Britain’s fate in the war looked very uncertain. The German armies were marching across Western Europe defeating all before them and an invasion of Britain seemed inevitable after the imminent loss of the vast majority of the British army in Northern France.

Churchill had formed his war Cabinet of senior politicians and advisors to help direct the British war effort but from the very start it seemed that rather than supporting him, they opposed Churchill’s plans to evacuate the British army from France and begin the fightback against Germany.
Even the two most senior members of his own party, Chamberlain and Halifax, opposed his plans to fight and tried to persuade him to negotiate a peace treaty. Churchill was adamant that a peace treaty would be futile and the only course of action was to fight.

Where on earth did he find the self-confidence to stand up against such overwhelming pressure and lead Britain to eventual victory in the war?

No doubt there are many factors that contribute to self-confidence but one of the most important ones is having the help and support of people around you. In Churchill’s case the rock that he was able to lean on when he needed that support was his wife Clementine. It was Clementine who encouraged him to take on the role of Prime Minister and she was there to support and encourage him when the pressure to back down and negotiate a peace treaty would have been almost irresistible.

In Churchill’s own words “My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” He knew how important it was to surround himself with supportive people!
None of us are ever likely to face a situation as perilous as Churchill but we all face challenges in our daily lives.

How do you feel when problems crop up? Do you feel confident in your own ability to deal with them or do you always have that nagging voice in your head which says “I can’t do this”.
Don’t worry if you do – we all experience this feeling known as self-doubt from time to time. So what can we do to relieve these feelings of self-doubt and build confidence in ourselves?
One of the first things you need to do is follow the example of Churchill in his Darkest Hour. You see one of the major causes of self-doubt is people who either fail to support you or who actually fuel your negative feelings.

Don’t listen to people who bring you down. They are like a poison for your mind and a drain on your energy.

Be careful of your friends. If you have friends who are frequently negative about things then start to politely distance yourself from them. Don’t allow their negativity to rub off on you.
Churchill’s closest allies in his war cabinet should have been his political colleagues, Chamberlain and Halifax, but they were constantly negative about his plans and tried to talk him out of what he believed in.

Churchill’s response was to distance himself from them and instead listen to supportive people such as the King and his wife. People who believed in him and encouraged him.
Be aware of friends who think they are doing you a favour by talking you out of doing things. This will subconsciously reinforce any thoughts you have that say you can’t do things.

Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you or reassure you when times get tough. Friends and family can be good sources of support but I know of people who find a supportive stranger such as a therapist or coach to be effective too.

Identify those people who support you, and nurture your relationships with them. They will be important for giving you strength and confidence when feeling down.
There are many ways to help improve your self-confidence but the first thing you should do is follow the example of Churchill by surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people and distancing yourself from those who are negative.

This will help you develop the confidence you need when faced with your own darkest hours.