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Gill Buchanan's Blog

Ways to reduce stress that REALLY work

I read in The Times at the weekend about scientifically proven ways to reduce stress. Let’s face it, we all get stressed – even those of us who are in denial about it. So here are the highlights for you.

Smell your partner’s clothes

Sniffing their T-shirt (does that assume he wears deodorant?) and sleeping on their side of the bed when they are not there can be a powerful tool to help reduce stress. If you don't have a partner, maybe try a pet?? (that was me, not a scientist.)

Hold a mug of tea in your hands

Apparently, the actual tea making process relaxing in itself and holding the warm mug in your hands can reduce your stress levels.

Clap your hands for ten seconds

There are more than 30 acupressure points in your hands which are activated when you clap. Athletes clap before competing to stop them having stressful thoughts. Have you seen this? I’ve just tried clapping for ten seconds. Well, it’s made me smile.

Change your expression to a smile

Which leads me nicely on to smiling or stop grimacing and put on a smile! I think I’ve heard this one before when I’m doing some knackering cardio workout and I’m told I’ll feel better if I smile. Worth a try.

Have a regular sauna like the Finns

Now, this seems rather impractical to me. However, it has been reported in Finland that dry sauna bathing in temperatures of 80 – 100C produces feelings of relaxation which may release endorphins. I wonder if they’ve factored in menopausal woman and her hot flushes? I spend most of my day trying to cool down. I’m not sure this would work for me. Besides, how many people have access to a sauna for regular use?

Cold water therapy

I have a lovely friend who is a big fan of this and has a cold shower every day. She is always extolling the virtues of this practice. A 30 -60 second blast of cold water is suggested. Brief exposure to cold water triggers the sympathetic nervous system and produces a feel-good chemical cocktail which raises the levels of beneficial hormones which in turn, contributes to positive feelings. I think I would just be glad that it was over!

Use positive words

When we use words like ‘disappointed’ we can increase short-term stress. The more we use positive and optimistic words – peace, hope, love can and will – the less stressed we are. I’m a great believer in not listening to too much negative news which basically means not listening to the news. So, when the news was all Brexit or all Pandemic I switched off and immediately felt better.

Don’t forget all these methods are scientifically proven (apart from the dog sniffing).

Let me know in the comment box if you try any and whether or not it works for you.


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