Don’t Stress It!

The benefits of relaxation and taking a little ‘time out’ from the grind

Stress and anxiety still have a certain social stigma around them in the UK, despite the bare facts which remind us that the pressures of living and working in the country has its adverse effects.

It’s interesting to note that more concerted research into the relationship between stress, the workplace and economics has been encouraged by the recession. Being in economic decline has made more acute the pressures of modern living and earning, leading to nearly half a million people becoming ill due to work-related stress according to a survey by Aviva in 2011.

However, whilst an increase in this kind of research is enlightening and begins to bring awareness to a widespread issue, there is less serious coverage and endorsement of techniques to reduce or remove these problems.

Why? Well, perhaps because a resolution to a mental problem is often subjective. Maybe comfy new dressing gowns are all you need – a trip to Next, and some lovely slippers to go with them. Perhaps it’s simply a question of exercise – taking more fresh air, getting your body active and releasing endorphins. Or perhaps it truly is a mental issue, and simply requires confronting and overleaping something you are hiding from yourself.

Whilst there may be a lack of official guidance on de-stressing, and on minimizing pressure in the workplace, there are a myriad of blogs and medical forums online offering advice and sound tips, from which you can choose the most appealing.

Many ideas for de-stressing are very simple; and that’s because stress itself tries to over-complicate matters, and we need calming, centering activities to combat it. Yoga and meditation are often at the top of many recommendation lists, as they are a way to activate body and mind, through the breath, which does its best work when taken in long, slow inhalations.

One of the first actions of the body under stress is to breathe ‘from the chest or neck’ – i.e. taking short, gulpy breaths which use very little lung capacity and require replenishment almost constantly. Yoga is particularly excellent at stretching the body and finding ways to stay calm and positive even through a challenging pose or situation – and this translates excellently into real life as well!

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