7 ways you can A.D.D.R.E.S.S your stress

The average UK adult feels stressed approximately 8.27 days each month – this is more than twice a week [1].

This comes from various demands from work, relationships, family and financial pressures. In today’s modern, fast-paced society, we are exposed to multiple stressors daily.

If your stress response is not controlled, it has a knock-on effect on the body, causing chronic inflammation, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased blood pressure, impaired sleep, and negative body composition changes and appetite.

Short-term stress has been shown to be beneficial for our innate immune response and thyroid output. However, when stress becomes chronic and uncontrolled, it suppresses the immune system and wreaks havoc on our general health and well-being.

What can you do to increase your resilience to life’s various pressures? Here are our top tips on how to A.D.D.R.E.S.S. your stress.

wellbeing at work stress

1.A: Adopt a positive mindset

Your mental state can have a significant impact on how you feel physically. The mind is a powerful tool and when life’s ups and downs become overwhelming, you can easily convince yourself that you cannot cope, making it even harder to manage your stress.

You cannot completely eradicate stress from your life but if you let it, strong negative emotions can take over and keep your body in its ‘stressed state’ for longer, [2], [3]. On the other hand, optimism has been shown to be an effective way of managing stress [4].

If you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk try to encourage a more positive mindset with the following actions:

  • Try a daily gratitude practice by investing in a journal and writing three to five things you are thankful for every day.
  • Surround yourself with positive people who bring out and reaffirm your new positive mindset.
  • Try to switch off and reduce your exposure to negative news and social media.
social media phone

2.D: Deep breathing

Meditation and mindfulness are inexpensive ways of reducing your stress and promoting feelings of calm and relaxation [5].

Meditation, in particular, has been shown to help in how you respond to, recover from and experience stress in your daily life [6].

Make time for meditation or guided breathing, whether before bed or in the morning. Ten minutes is less than 1% of your day, an investment that will reap the rewards for your productivity, mindset and health long-term.

If you struggle to find time to meditate, the box breathing technique is a quick and simple practice you can try:

  1. While sitting, breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, taking the breath into your stomach.
  2. Hold your breath for a count of 4.
  3. Release your breath through your mouth with a whooshing sound for a count of 8.
  4. Without a break, breathe in again for a count of 4, repeating the entire technique 3-4 times in a row.

Meditating for one minute daily is better than nothing. Just make time to do it consistently.

meditation and music

3.D: Do not disturb

Regular ‘me time’ is important in helping reduce feelings of stress. Take time to switch off from work and responsibilities so you can mentally rest and recharge. On top of this, switch off from social media and the news where possible. Instead, take the time to do things you enjoy, such as reading, spending time with friends and engaging in hobbies.

walking and hiking exercise

4.R: Regular exercise

Staying physically active is important for managing your stress and improving your mental health and well-being. Find something that you enjoy as there are many different forms of exercise and active hobbies you can engage in. Resistance training, in particular, can lift your mood and enhance your ability to deal with stress [7].

There are also many ways to keep moving daily, such as walking more and taking the stairs.

female sled push

5.E: Eat for better well-being

When you eat well, you feel good, and while it can be tempting to turn to food or alcohol in times of high stress, this will simply compound the problem. A diet high in processed and inflammatory ‘’junk foods’’ will negatively impact the health of your gut, increase the likelihood of fat gain and disturb your sleep. This will put your body on the back foot when it comes to additional stresses of day-to-day life.

Ensuring your diet consists of high-quality protein, a variety of healthy fats and a tonne of bright, colourful fruit and vegetables can help combat stress overall and support a healthy mood and energy balance [8].

healthy food for fat loss

6.S: Sleep better

Sleep is a factor that many find difficult, particularly if you have a demanding job or small children at home. Research shows there is a strong link between sleep and stress, and a lack of sleep can increase the risks of poor mental health and depression [9].

Even getting to bed just 15-30 minutes earlier each night will positively impact your health and ability to handle stress.

Aim to maximise your sleep quality wherever possible with these tips:

Install blackout blinds or curtains or invest in a sleep mask.

Keep your room cool and quiet –invest in earplugs if you live with a lot of ambient noise.

Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime as digestion can disrupt your sleep.

In the hour before bed, avoid your phone and other devices. Instead, use this time to read a book, take a bath or meditate.

As an added boost to promote restful sleep, supplement with our Sleep supplements.

Sleep quality

7.D: Seek support

Do not be afraid to reach out for support from a medical professional and friends and family you feel comfortable to confide in. It is important to have people around you who care and provide you with much-needed support. They can help you talk out and share any problems you are holding onto which may be adding to your stress.

If you want to improve your mental and physical health, partner with U.P. for expert guidance and support towards achieving your goals.

References

[1] CIPHR (2021). Workplace stress statistics in the UK. https://www.ciphr.com/research/workplace-stress-statistics/ [Accessed 22.11.2021].

[2] Eagleson, C., Hayes, S., Mathews, A., Perman, G. and Hirsch, C.R., 2016. The power of positive thinking: Pathological worry is reduced by thought replacement in Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Behaviour research and therapy, 78, pp.13-18.

[3] Verduyn, P. and Lavrijsen, S., 2015. Which emotions last longest and why: The role of event importance and rumination. Motivation and Emotion, 39(1), pp.119-127.

[4] Kim, E.S., Hagan, K.A., Grodstein, F., DeMeo, D.L., De Vivo, I. and Kubzansky, L.D., 2017. Optimism and cause-specific mortality: a prospective cohort study. American journal of epidemiology, 185(1), pp.21-29.

[5] Sharma, H., 2015. Meditation: Process and effects. Ayu, 36(3), p.233.

[6] Hwang, W.J., Lee, T.Y., Lim, K.O., Bae, D., Kwak, S., Park, H.Y. and Kwon, J.S., 2018. The effects of four days of intensive mindfulness meditation training (Templestay program) on resilience to stress: a randomized controlled trial. Psychology, health & medicine, 23(5), pp.497-504.

[7] Gröpel, P., Urner, M., Pruessner, J., & Quirin, M. (2018). Endurance- and Resistance-Trained Men Exhibit Lower Cardiovascular Responses to Psychosocial Stress Than Untrained Men. Frontiers in Psychology, 9,

[8] Madison, A., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2019). Stress, depression, diet, and the gut microbiota: human-bacteria interactions at the core of psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition. Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 28, 105–110.

[9] Zhai, L., Zhang, H., Zhang, D. (2015). Sleep duration and depression among adults: A meta‐analysis of prospective studies. Depression and Anxiety, 32 (9).

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