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Five easy ways to help manage stress

From meditation to colour therapy, take a deep breath and read on...

It’s Stress Awareness Month, and with it comes the opportunity to look at some of the causes, symptoms and ways to help manage daily stresses and strains. Thanks to the expertise of different experts, we have a few tips.

Use colour to help ease stress

Spas including Lifehouse Spa and Hotel often use colours to boost the way you feel. Colour therapy, using chakra coloured bottles, works by choosing a colour to indicate what your mind and body need. It’s very similar to aromatherapy that way, choosing an essential oil to boost your mind and body. For example, red shows a need for security and grounding, while purple is more spiritual and governs our clairvoyant insight and gut instinct. They say:

"All colours have different meanings. If you want more energy you might wear red for the day, or green if you want to feel relaxed.”

Use aromatherapy to influence feelings

Aromatherapy can have a strong impact on the way you feel. In Japanese factories they have been known to spray citrus scents into the room because lemon is very stimulating and increases productivity. On the other hand, rosemary is good for the memory and peppermint is good for brainstorming, so perhaps keep a couple of essential oils handy for those stressful occasions!

Leading aromatherapy experts Aromatherapy Associates said: "Scent is emotive, and the idea that you can reach for something that will completely change how you’re feeling in a moment is extremely powerful. Scent can completely calm us down, partly because smell is linked to memory, but also because scent has an impact on the brain."

Fantasise about relaxation

Role models are good for focusing on positive outcomes as well, says human needs expert, Rebecca Miller. Who do you know, either personally or through the media, that you admire? How would they react in this situation? What would their posture, focus or language be? Then copy it! Faking it as a means to emulate and develop similar skills is an excellent way of getting us out of feeling that we can only respond in one way. Try it out and then record, in a journal or scrapbook, the successes you had and the positive experiences and feelings. She says:

“If it helps, take on the person/role model you admire name or create one of your own. I’ve often referred to myself as Xena (as in Warrior Princess) when I felt I needed to be stronger or more assertive than I naturally felt. This is great for any kind of situation (or bedroom!).”

Hug someone

Self-titled Happiologist, Susannah Halonen (who has a Masters of Science in Applied Positive Psychology) says there’s a whole science behind hugging. It boosts our happiness levels, not just because it’s generally associated with people we love, but it’s apparently “the fastest way for you to get oxytocin flowing in your body.” It is said to lower blood pressure, especially if you’re feeling anxious, lower cortisol levels (stress hormone), and increase our sense of belonging.

Use meditation

It won't come as a surprise - meditation is popular these days, but how many of us actually practice it? The beautiful thing about meditation is that you can actually do it any time, any place, making it comparatively easy to access (or at least, try) and (unless you go to a class), it's totally free. Just a few minutes focusing on stilling the mind whether we’re on the bus or at our desk.

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