Bring Back Happiness: 5 Simple Things to Reduce Stress and Make You Happier

October 17, 2017

How often do you think about your own mental health? When was the last time you really took a step back and looked at the things you’re doing to take care of yourself?

These are important questions, especially when you’re busy. After all, it’s easy to get locked into hectic schedules and mile-long ‘to do’ lists. Feelings of stress can creep in and become a daily occurrence. So, what about when they start to impact your overall happiness? Experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety can make it hard to keep the spring in your step and to feel relaxed and happy. And it can be confronting to recognise that you’re not as happy as you want to be. Stress can zap the joy out of things, and can impact lots of different parts of your life.

If you’re looking for little things you can do throughout your day or your week to combat stress and get the spring back in your step, we’ve brought together this list for you. It looks at what you could change, and why it’s worth it. After all, even the smallest changes can have a big impact sometimes. Take a look…

 

Eat good, nutrient-dense foods

It’s hard to feel vitalised through the day if you’re not giving your body – and brain – the energy it needs. If you’re propping yourself up on high-energy foods (like processed sugars and high-carb snacks) you might be setting yourself up for big energy swings through the day. Studies in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that subjects who had a diet high in processed foods had a 58% increased risk for depression, whereas those whose diet contained more whole foods had a 26% reduced risk of depression. So shifting your diet to include fresh nutrient-dense produce, omega-3 fats, amino acids and vitamin B rich foods can help put you in the best state to take on the world and all its challenges.

 

Start moving

Just 20 minutes of exercise stimulates the release of endorphins and help to reduce stress. So why wouldn’t you? And you don’t have to be a gym person – if that doesn’t appeal to you, think about all the other things you could do. Start walking or jogging, hit the pool or just get started with a bunch of exercise videos in your own living room. Whatever it is you choose, start making it a regular part of your week.  

 

Recuperate: A good sleeping routine will do you wonders!

Feeling relaxed and calm during the day can be hard to achieve if you’re not giving your body and mind time to recuperate at the end of each day.

This is why sleep is so important – it’s how our bodies heal, repair and grow.

Developing a healthy routine around sleep can be a really great way of recuperating and refreshing your body, to leave you feeling great and ready to face the day both physically and mentally.

Here’s a few tips to getting a great night’s sleep:

  • Have a sleep schedule – try to sleep at the same time every night
  • Reduce the amount of time spent looking at screens in the evening (phones, computers and TV) – especially in the hour before bed
  • Ensure you have a quality, comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Avoid alcohol and large meals in the few hours before bed
  • Try reading before you go to bed to help your mind wind down and relax.

 

Create little rituals: spend time on the things you enjoy

It could be something as simple as time for reading, listening to music, cooking a meal. Or start writing a diary each evening: a recent study in Australia has shown a clear correlation between regularly handwriting notes, thoughts, ideas, feelings or memories and an increase in experiencing relief from anxiety, fear and worry. If that doesn’t appeal to you, try learning something new – perhaps an instrument, or a new language.

Incorporate mindfulness and relaxation

Studies have shown that practicing regular meditation and mindfulness exercises can have a significant impact on reducing the risk of clinical depression and anxiety.

But it can be hard to know where to start with practicing meditation or mindfulness, and it can also be overwhelming, if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing, or whether or not you’re doing it right!

A great way to get started is to try a meditation or yoga class, so you can start off on the right foot with some expert advice and guidance. There’s so many benefits to regular mindfulness and meditation, just to name a few:

The best part about mindfulness is that once you feel comfortable practicing it yourself, you can pretty much do it any place, any time. You’re not limited to the equipment you have (or don’t have), there’s no memberships required and you just can zone out and relax.

Sometimes saying goodbye to stress and getting the spring back in your step can be difficult. Anxiety disorders can be really challenging and will often require professional input to help you with your recovery. If you feel like stress and anxiety are impacting your life, try making these changes and talking with a professional who can help you get back to where you want to be. So much is known about dealing with stress and anxiety now – there’s no need to do it alone.

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