Most relatively health conscious urbanites already rely on a few ‘anti-stress’ hacks that they know work for them. With the challenges of modern urban life taking their toll on our minds and bodies it’s important that we try to incorporate new ways to counteract stress, particularly when they can be done on the go or in a matter of mere minutes. A less stressed you means a you with more energy, prolonged concentration, mental agility, fewer headaches and better digestion. It’s just a matter of being mindful and taking that crucial me time each day. Read on for our four top stress busting hacks for busy people:Use a Mindfulness App
A gym membership is no longer enough; mindfulness apps are the new virtual bootcamps designed to keep your mind in shape. Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that our brain cells actually behave differently after meditation. Incorporating mindfulness into your routine is proven to counteract stress, anxiety, lack of focus, relationship problems, and addictions. It’s also easier than ever now with apps like market leader Headspace, founded by Andy Puddicombe who is a pioneer for mindfulness in today’s busy stress filled world. Andy designed this easy to use app in order to make meditation less daunting and time consuming. Helpful animations guide you through the process. Just 10 minutes a day and you’ll be on your way to peace of mind, wellbeing, improved relationships, greater focus and creativity.
We all know its good to get some fresh air, but research last year from the University of Birmingham has proven the ongoing effects of regular walking. Researchers demonstrated that just how powerful that lunchtime walk is for combating stress, rebooting your working day and giving you focus, energy, improve our moods and general wellbeing.
After a 10-week walking programme of 30 minute strolls three times a week, the results clearly showed a remarked positive shift in mood after a 30 minute lunchtime walk. Volunteers unanimously reported feeling less tense, less stressed and more productive after a walk. Oxygenating the body with fresh air is an added bonus, helping to blow out the cobwebs and encourage you to stretch and take a few deeps breaths. If you can walk or cycle to work, or get out a couple of train/bus stops early or get a breather during lunch break then you’re likely to be rewarded with a clearer head, better perspective and a refreshed attitude.
Headspace also offers mindful meditations for when you’re on-the-go so plug in your headphones and kill two birds with one stone on your walk to work.
An old school pastime in Britain, Epsom salts have been added to baths as a restorative, healing tonic for hundreds of years. It may not seem like much, but bathing in these salts is a powerful way to support the whole body and promote detoxification. Epsom salts are comprised of magnesium and sulphate – two essential nutrients that are both well absorbed through the skin.
Magnesium plays a number of important roles within our brain chemistry, helping to enhance the production of feel good hormones, serotonin and dopamine. It can help to calm the adrenals glands, relie
ving stress and quietening a busy, tense mind. All perfect before you hit the hay to help you drop off and stay asleep. As magnesium is a muscle relaxant, bathing in Epsom salts before bed also relaxes muscles and calms the nervous system; ideal if you have worked out or have aching muscles to speed up recovery and reduce injury.
Start by adding 200g (2-3 large handfuls) of the salts to hot water and soaking in the bath for 20-30 minutes, scrubbing the skin to promote circulation. Take care when stepping out of the bath in case you feel light headed. Over the course of around a month, this can be built up to around 400-500g, or more depending on your size. Stay in for a minimum of 20 minutes or longer.
Though one cup a day of each is fine, overdoing coffee and black tea can contribute to energy fluctuations, anxiety and a wired, jittery feeling – hardly ideal for overall productivity over the course of the day.
Instead, tuck into good quality green, white tea or jasmine when you need an energy boost. They all contain a small caffeine hit to sharpen the senses, alongside a burst of antioxidants and brain boosting compounds such as EGCG, which are known for their health giving properties. These also help to get your brainpower back and can support memory. Theanine which is also found in green tea (and sometimes given in supplement form to those who suffer from panic attacks) has been shown to improve alertness but without the wired-ness, whilst helping to reduce anxiety and tension. Ideal when you need to focus for a busy day.
We hope our strategies can bring you closer to a stress free you and would love to hear if you have any more anti-stress hacks!
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