Stress 2: starting to make changes
It is impossible to be physically both stressed and relaxed at the same time. A fairly obvious statement but it gives a crucial indicator as to the best starting point for reducing stress in the moment. When we are stressed our breathing is often rapid and shallow. Try to slow your breathing and to take deep breaths. Most importantly ensure you exhale fully. When we breathe rapidly our lungs get filled with too much oxygen and this can cause many of the other unpleasant physical symptoms of stress. Changing your breathing pattern can be a very effective and rapid way of coping in the moment. Then move your attention to the places in your body that feel physically tense and try to move your limbs or muscles to allow them to release slightly. One way of attempting this is to visualise breathing out through the tense body part, or to engage in some physical activity. There are many online resources to talk you through these strategies in more detail.
In addition to these ideas, if the amount of time in the day that you feel stressed has increased then you need to increase the number of relaxing activities you engage in to counterbalance this. Think what helps you to relax, whether it is talking to people, exercising, taking a bath, walking, being outdoors, reading etc, and schedule in as many of these different activities each day as you can and keep a healthy diet. Don’t expect any one activity to be a miracle cure but hopefully the accumulative effect will help counteract the impact of the stress.