A Holistic Guide To Banishing Stress + Finding Inner Calm
Stressed out? You’re not alone. Recent statistics in the UK reveal that 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health are stress-related. Whilst low-levels are in fact a healthy part of our emotional spectrum (with some studies suggesting stress as one of our main motivators in life), for those times when this often overwhelming feeling takes centre-stage, we’ve rounded up the top five holistic remedies that we turn to, to restore levels back to the healthy range.
DEEP BELLY BREATHING
One of the quickest and easiest ways of relieving stress is focusing on the breath. Deep belly breathing, also known as deep breathing, diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing is one of our favourite ways to induce a tranquil state of being. We always practise 10-20 deep belly breaths each morning to start out our day in a calm and relaxed state. For the most effective practise, let the in breath flow through naturally and focus your attention on the length of the out breath, making it twice as long as your inhale. This works to provoke the relaxation response, exactly what we need to induce if we are in a state of unrest.
We get it, you’re busy, but we’re here to tell you that it’s possible to stay calm amidst the chaos; all it takes is 10 minutes of meditation per day. The easiest way to ensure you’re getting in your daily dose is to factor it in to your daily morning ritual. After your deep belly breathing which we advise you to do upon waking, roll out of bed and into a seated position on a yoga mat or cushion and commence a short guided-meditation (we love Headspace or Jody Shield’s). This doesn’t have to be long, 10 minutes is more than enough! We promise you the benefits far outweigh the earlier morning wake up.
Regular yoga practise is an essential part of our anti-stress regime. If you’re feeling particularly stressed out or anxious, it’s important to favour more restorative forms of yoga such as Yin or Iyengar over higher intensity varieties such as Power or Ashtanga. If you’re familiar with the stress hormone cortisol, you’ll know that lessening its prevalence within the body is one of the most important things to do if de-stressing is what you’re after. By choosing more restorative exercise over high intensity in times of stress, you will notice a reduction in cortisol and overall stress levels.
LEGS UP THE WALL
One of the most nourishing and grounding poses there is, we always practise 10 minutes of legs up the wall before bed to relieve any remaining anxiety or worry from the day and prepare our bodies for deep relaxing sleep. Significantly calming for the nervous system, when you combine a longer hold of legs up the wall with slow, rhythmic breathing, you will be tapping into your ‘rest and digest’ nervous response, the key to sustaining a calm and balanced state. Lie on your back with your sit-bones as close to the wall as is comfortable for you. From there, extend your legs up so that the backs of your legs are resting fully against it and breathe…
One of the most important skills to help you find a sense of calm when faced with any stressful situation, mindfulness, similar to meditation, is an exercise that must be practised regularly in order for one to really reap the benefits. A skill that can be applied to any situation or time of day, next time you’re feeling particularly stressed, take a moment to focus on what it is that is causing uncomfortable feelings to arise. More often than not, you’ll realise that the stressful situation you are encountering can easily be dealt with in a practical manner. It is simply a case of separating yourself from the situation and focusing on what can be done in the present that will see you dealing with any adversities your are faced with, with comfort, patience and ease.