My 8 tips for managing stress – featured on Sheerluxe
We all have busy schedules, pressing commitments and frenetic lives so stress is never far away. Putting things in perspective and learning to combat the stressful moments that bring us down is key because let’s face it, life is for living and most importantly, enjoying.
We asked Erin Knowles, zen health and wellness guru and Founder of Knowles Lifestyle and its luxurious Ibiza health retreats, how she manages the tensions that creep into everyday life. Here, Erin gives us her top eight tips on minimising and eliminating stress…
Be the early bird
Set your alarm for an hour earlier than usual so you have control of the day and are not in a rush. This will give you time to centre yourself and to prepare properly, whether that means writing out some goals, choosing an outfit for an important meeting or making a healthy packed lunch. Studies show that early risers tend to feel less stressed.
Follow a daily morning ritual
Rituals build good habits and reduce stress. Yours could be a jog in the park or singing a mantra – whatever makes you feel wonderful. By repeating a behaviour over and over you form a ritual and master that particular skill. The average time it takes to solidify a new habit is around 66 days.
To be able to properly manage our energy, at least 7 hours a night is key. Sleep experts say if you go to bed earlier, wake up earlier and allow times for naps your body will tune into the earth’s circadian rhythms meaning less stress and increased hormone production, cell regeneration and brain wave activity.
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and sugar which can trigger anxiety symptoms. A diet rich in alkaline foods such a vegetables and fruit will help to keep the mind and body calm. Start the day with a large glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice. Lemon lowers our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
It allows us to focus on the body and the breath in the present moment, teaching us to be calm in our mind whilst holding sometimes challenging poses. Yoga stimulates the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system), which calms us down and restores balance after stress.
The PNS sends blood to the endocrine system, digestive organs and other organs reducing our heartbeat and blood pressure. Headstands in particular are amazing for combatting anxiety because they reverse our blood flow and flush out our adrenal glands leading to increased positivity.
Put your hands at the base of your belly and breathe into that space for a count of four letting your stomach puff out, then gently hold the breath for another count of four and breathe out for a count of eight. Around 60% of panic attacks are accompanied by hyperventilation so allowing yourself to breathe deeply and slowly is the perfect antidote to anxiety.
The physical and mental release we feel through orgasm is known to ease the symptoms of anxiety. Some of the World’s most famous psychotherapists including Freud and Willheim Reich believed that our psychic health depended on the degree to which we could surrender during climax.
Move your body
Qigong – an ancient Chinese health system – recommends a simple exercise where you shake your whole body out with a slight bend in your knees to get rid of stagnant energy and stress. Motion is emotion so move in whatever way you feel you want to, it could be dancing, cartwheeling or jumping jacks. Movement releases feel-good brain chemicals that ease depression and anxiety.
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