An A – Z of Stress Reduction Strategies

This week I read a super post by Kelly aka Daydreamer Mum which was an A – Z of Self Care.  I loved it so much it inspired me to write an A – Z post too. This post focuses on stress as we are just coming to the end of Stress Awareness Week 2018.

close up composition conceptual creativity

Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

 

A is for Acceptance

Often stress can be caused by feeling frustrated, irritated or impatient with a situation or person.  Trying to bring  a sense of acceptance to how someone or something is may help reduce stress levels (I know sometimes this is easier said than done!).

B is for Bodily Awareness

A key aspect of mindfulness is about being able to bring your attention to a part of the body – often in the feet.  The thinking is that dropping your awareness to the part of the body furthest from the head could help to get us ‘outside our head’.  Lots of people, including the MP Tracey Crouch, find it a helpful technique to use before public speaking, if prone to nerves.

C is for Campfire Time

This is not meant literally.  It’s an analogy for when, in prehistoric times, hunter gatherers would sit quietly round the fire after their time hunting and gathering.  One  outcome of this was the lowering of cortisol and adrenalin after the day’s events.  We still need ‘campfire time’ after a period of busyness – whether it’s sitting and reading, meditating, writing a journal – all of these activities allow for quiet periods of reflection.

D is for Digital Detox

Some people believe that screens, and smartphones in particular, are the addiction of this decade.  Having time away from a screen can help well-being by helping us reconnect with our loved ones in real life and can distance us from the negative aspects of social media which can sometimes add stress to a person’s day.

E is for Exercise

E could also be for endorphins which are released during cardiovascular exercise and we all know these are good for busting stress!  Exercise and activity really are great for well-being and don’t have to be too strenuous – a pacey walk can be enough!

F is for Family

Having quality time with family can help reduce stress.  Equally there may be times when having a bit of time away from family members can help reduce stress levels too! Just a walk round the block may be all you need to regroup if tensions are rising at home.

G is for Gratitude

Scientific research has shown that when people cultivate a gratitude attitude then their  happiness levels can increase by 4 – 19%.  Writing down a few simple things that you appreciate from your day – maybe a smile from someone, a kind gesture or noticing some beauty around you can be very helpful.  It is also very powerful to tell someone why you are grateful to have them in your life.

H is for Helpers’ High

Volunteering, or even carrying out small random acts of kindness, can give people a boost, also known as a ‘helpers high’.  This is thought to alleviate stress.

I is for Inhale

….and exhale, and inhale and exhale.  Noticing the breath – the in and the out, the rise and the fall – even if it’s just for a few moments – can be an excellent antidote to a stressful situation.  Another tip – to experiment with lengthening the exhalation so it is longer than the inhalation, is said to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.  When teaching mindfulness to children and teens I sometimes encourage them to count the length of their typical in-breath that day and then try to breathe out for 4 counts longer than this (the 7/11 breathing exercise) to see if this helps them.

J is for Judge Nobody (including yourself)

Judgement of ourselves and others can be debilitating and feeds stress levels.  If you notice you are judging yourself negatively try your best to change your mindset.  Better to cultivate curiosity and compassion then feed a negative inner-monologue.

K is for Kindness

Following on from J, just to reiterate – much better to develop a kind inner voice – talk to yourself as you would a friend, than a critical one.  Kindness can stop us feeling so stressed.

L is for Learning

Throwing yourself into a hobby or learning a new skill to help broaden experiences is a good idea to help with stress.

M is for Mindfulness

Obviously!  There is growing evidence that practicing mindfulness is a very effective way of building emotional resilience and combating stress.  Try taking notice of what’s around you in any given moment, without judgement.  Try as best you can to live in the present and avoid leaning into the future to reduce stress.

N is for Non-Striving

Build times in your life to just be.  No need to strive for anything sometimes.

O is for Outdoors

Fresh air and nature are brilliant stress-busters!

P is for Present

Be in the present moment and stress levels will lessen.  Notice when the mind wanders to the past or the future and gently bring it back to now.

Q is for Quotes

Find motivational quotes that raise you up and lift your spirits.  Read them often.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”  Martin Luther King

R is for Rumination

Avoid it.  Over-thinking and catastrophising are rarely helpful.

S is for Sleep

Get more of it.  Aim for 7 – 8 hours most nights.

T is for Triggers

Be aware of what triggers your stress and try your best not to expose yourself to these people or situations.

U is for Understanding

Understanding your own needs.  For instance understanding whether your an introvert or extrovert will help you with self-care.  Empathy – attempting to understand someone else’s position on something can relieve stress too.

V is for Viewing Your Thoughts as Mental Events Not Facts

Thoughts are not facts. Beware of the story-telling mind it can lead you to worry and stress.

Water

Keep hydrated. It reduces irritability.

(E)xist

Sometimes just let things be.  Stop being a slave to the ‘to do’ list all the time.

Young Children

Take the lead from young children.  Live in awe of the simple things in life.  Be playful when possible.

Zany

Be zany – whatever that means to you.  Dance round the living room.  Sing at the top of your lungs in the shower.  Tell cheesy jokes.  Have a little bit of fun in your day whenever you can.

I hope you find my list helpful.

What are your tips to reduce everyday stress?

 

handwritten Hayley

25 Comments

  1. November 10, 2018 / 8:56 am

    Love this! You’ve come up with some brilliant ways to reduce stress. And well done for coming up with something for every letter! Haha X #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 11, 2018 / 10:04 pm

      Hehe – thanks Sam xx

  2. thesingleswan
    November 10, 2018 / 9:20 am

    Oooh, I love this A-Z. There are some great tips here. Pen x #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 11, 2018 / 10:04 pm

      Thanks Pen xx

  3. November 10, 2018 / 10:34 am

    This is great Hayley! I certainly use the outdoors and having a digital detox to unwind and de stress. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 11, 2018 / 10:04 pm

      Thanks Sophie. The outdoors is my go-to stressbuster definitely xx

  4. November 10, 2018 / 10:57 am

    Well done, a lot of thought must have gone into this, and it’s genuinely all helpful #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 11, 2018 / 10:03 pm

      That’s very kind thank you xx

  5. November 10, 2018 / 12:02 pm

    Oh my god do I need this list in my life. I struggle with stress and anxiety so this is both useful and relevant #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 11, 2018 / 10:02 pm

      So pleased it’s useful hon Xx

  6. November 10, 2018 / 12:56 pm

    Some really practical advice here, and accessible, as in they feel doable. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 11, 2018 / 10:02 pm

      Great – that’s what I was aiming for 🙂

  7. November 10, 2018 / 2:47 pm

    I like the digital detox (as I am on my screen right now) it is important to step away! #thatsatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 11, 2018 / 10:01 pm

      So pleased you like it xx

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 11, 2018 / 10:00 pm

      Pleasure lovely xx

  8. November 11, 2018 / 1:37 pm

    Oh I want this on a poster. I love the idea of campfire time too. Thanks for sharing. xx #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 11, 2018 / 10:00 pm

      Hee hee – a poster is a good idea! xx

  9. Dave - Dad's Turn
    November 12, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    I’m especially keen on the Campfire time. I think we (I) should take more time to sit down once in a while. Like the A-Z style here, really good! #thatsatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 12, 2018 / 11:28 pm

      Thank you!

  10. mackenzieglanville
    November 13, 2018 / 6:33 am

    Well done, that is great to come up with A – Z I have to say they all make a huge amount of sense to me right now! Although A for me stands out strongly, I think until I could accept what was happening it was hard to even begin to find a way to stay above water. Amazing post! #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 13, 2018 / 11:55 am

      Thanks so much Mac xx

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 13, 2018 / 11:55 am

      Thanks xx

Leave a Reply