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Five easy ways to help manage stress

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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

Naturopath Sue Davis, from Lifehouse Spa and Hotel, takes the spa approach to energizing a situation, using colours and aromatherapy 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. She says:

"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!

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.

In a world of social media interaction, we know that the power of touch is increasingly important. In fact, Tracey Woodward, former CEO of Aromatherapy Associates has suggested that spas and spa treatments have a crucial role to play when it comes to our increasing need for connectivity. The moral of the story - a Facebook chat is no substitute for a cuddle.

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. As Tibetan Buddhist Master Mingyur Rinpoche sums up rather poetically. Hands up who can empathise with the ‘monkey mind’?

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Written by
Bonnie Friend
“A journalist by trade, Bonnie is the Editor for Spabreaks.com. Keen to spread the message on accessible wellbeing and a spa experience for all, she thinks green smoothies are somewhat overrated and her favourite spa treatment is an Elemis Couture Technology facial.”
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