7 Top Stress-Busting Tips

Kate Ashley-Norman says that the next year is very likely to be big on stress. Even those of us who think we thrive under pressure may need a few tips to get through unscathed. Kate offers her 7 top tips for busting stress.

But before you skip to those, let me just outline something about stress you might not have previously known.

Cortisol is the most well known of stress hormones. But a second stress hormone is Oxytocin – also known as the ‘cuddle’ hormone because it urges you to connect with others.

During stress, oxytocin is released from the pituitary gland to motivate social connection. It encourages you to ‘reach out’ to other people, seek support, help and protect others.

This is one of the building blocks of human beings as a community.


A good heart

Oxytocin is also brilliant for heart health, which defies the common narrative that stress causes heart attacks.

Your heart has special receptors, absorbing the oxytocin, a natural anti-inflammatory, which in turn helps regenerate and repair any damage sustained during the period of stress. This inbuilt mechanism for resilience ensures that any stress response automatically rebalances the damage as a natural course of stress.


All stress is about balance

Finding that balance between the good, motivating eustress and the more damaging, debilitating distress is really important. Understanding, recognising and changing your mindset around stress will make a significant difference to how you will ultimately be capable of balancing that stress during challenging times.

In the meantime…


Learn to eat that frog

The phrase ‘eat the frog’ was coined by Brian Tracy. You know when you have a task to do that you keep putting off and putting off? You have no motivation to do it and keep procrastinating. Eventually that one task becomes bigger and bigger and occupies more and more of your mind. The crazy thing is, it usually takes no time to complete the task once its gone. So tell yourself every time when something is looming over you – Eat That Frog – just get it over and done with.


Start the day as you mean to continue it

As you wake up in the mornings, your adrenal glands naturally release the stress hormone, cortisol. The cortisol signals to your body that you need to wake up. It is a natural ‘stress’ that gets you going. In most homes though, the mornings are often the most stressful times. Every one is rushing to get into the bathroom, banging on doors to wake up reluctant school kids, main stream news rolling out its negativity, often fuelled with coffee and sugary cereals.

Don’t get pulled down by it all. Start your day as you want it to continue, not as you feel it is being dictated to. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and spend those 10 minutes on your own, watching or listening to something or someone that inspires and motivates you, whether it’s a piece of music or a sports person you follow. Set the tone that you want for the rest of the day.


Don’t forget to breathe

This might seem obvious, yet when you get stressed, you tense up and your breathing gets shallower. Become aware of your breathing, put all your focus on your breathing, slow it, deepen it, feel it.


What you resist, persists

If you start to feel a sense of panic, open your arms wide and welcome it. Because what you resist, persists – if you resist the panic, it will keep trying to break through. So don’t resist it, let it happen and you’ll find it evaporates much quicker than expected.


Take a walk

The old ones are always the best – taking a walk gets the old endorphins going and can help get perspective on the most difficult of situations. Sometimes all you need is to just raise your head from the task in hand and look to the horizon. So when you walk, try and keep your head raised, breathe in the fresh air, reframe the difficult issues around you and get your heart pumping.


Get some sleep

I know, easier said than done sometimes! But lack of sleep can make some situations seem so much worse than they actually are. So if you find things getting on top of you, make sure you make a point of avoiding alcohol, switching off your phone and having an early night. You’ll feel so much better when you wake the next morning.


Don’t be silent

Talk it out. Sometimes just getting it out in the open takes the power out of a problem and relieves the stress and pressure. So don’t brood in silence.


Picture: Don’t let stress stress you out.

Kate Ashley-Norman is a communications professional and psychotherapist. She partners with conscientious fenestration companies to strengthen employee wellbeing.


Article written by Cathryn Ellis
12th January 2023


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