Hacks to Reduce Stress and Boost Energy
If life can often feel overwhelming, these quick fixes could work wonders.
If you feel anxious…
Retrain your brain
Although it often feels like negative feelings are overwhelming and insurmountable, you can break the cycle of anxiety by training your brain. An easy and practical way to begin is by leaving yourself sticky notes around the house with positive mantras that you can quickly and simply begin to absorb every time you pass one. Recalling things you’re grateful for every day is another way to reset and rewire your mind. The more you repeat this exercise, the more weight your mind will begin to give to more positive associations.
If you’re feeling sluggish…
Switch up your spices
A practice popular in Ayurvedic medicine, flavouring your food with certain spices can help give you a lift when you need it most. While black pepper is thought to stimulate plasma in the blood and boost circulation, cumin can help support the activity of digestive enzymes which increase and enhance digestion and help your body to break down food more easily. Cayenne pepper is another spice that could be useful as a dietary aid; in Ayurvedic medicine, it’s thought to improve sluggish digestion as well as boosting energy levels.
If you feel stressed…
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to reduce feelings of stress fast is simply breathing better. Box breathing is a tried and tested trick used by the military and helps you focus and tune into yourself in times of stress. To do it, simply breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four and hold for a count of four, keeping the breath movement in the stomach area and not the chest as you go. Repeat for a few reps until you feel more relaxed.
Put it on paper
Racing, stressful thoughts or endless to-do don’t only disrupt sensible thinking during the day, they can impair sleep too, making it impossible for us to drop off and get good quality, restorative shut eye. The best way to combat this is to keep a notebook by your bed and jot down any interrupting thoughts when they enter your head. They’ll still be there in the morning for your attention, but it means you can worry about them less at night.
We all need moments of calm amid busy days so it’s crucial to allow yourself time to take them – in fact our brains are actually wired to need them. When we stop focusing on stressful, intense tasks, our DMN (default mode network) kicks in, a part of the brain that allows us to use our creative thinking and solve problems. To ensure this becomes a regular habit, treat your downtime like a diary appointment, schedule it in when is convenient for you and make sure you stick to it.