Five strategies to beat stress and help you feel happier

We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve felt miserable and stressed. And when you’re stuck in this place, it can feel impossible to envisage a way out.

But there are positive actions you can take to help you beat stress and feel happier. Maybe not instantly, but practising good mental habits over time will stat to have a positive effect in your wellbeing.

So don’t ignore your mental health. Instead, find ways to deal effectively with stressful situations that trigger your anxiety with with these five strategies.

1) Call old friends

Catching up with supportive old friends who know you well can be a real tonic, as they know you well and will understand what you’re going through.

They’ll also help give you a new perspective on whatever is troubling you, and can share experiences and ideas that will make you feel less alone, and find new solutions to any problems.

So don’t be shy about talking out the problems you’ve been dealing with. You may just find that a problem shared really is a problem halved, and walk away with a renewed sense of optimism and empowerment.

2) Rest your body and your mind

Few things beat a good night’s sleep when you’re worried. But a racing mind often makes it hard to fall (and stay) asleep. So it’s even more important to practise good sleep hygiene if you’re stressed.

What does ‘sleep hygiene’ mean? Basically it’s practising habits that will encourage a good night’s sleep. It includes recommendations like getting exercise during the day, but not in the evening. It’s important you do’t go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a large meal late at night. It’s also recommended to avoid caffeine and electronics before bed.

It’s also important to choose the right bed and bedding – after all you spend a large portion if your night lying in it. As a starting point, check your pillows are the right height. The perfect height for you will depend on a number of factors, but a pillow height of 4-6 inches is generally recommended to support your head and neck.

Invest in a high quality mattress and bed base too, like the improved version of the Koala bed base by Ecosa. Make from high-quality wood, it keeps your mattress firmly in place, and doesn’t make annoying creaky sounds, which can disturb your sleep.

Finally, ensure your bedroom is the right temperature – ideally a cool 60-67 degrees. Then, put your favorite face mask on, drink a cup of chamomile tea and prepare to sleep like a baby.

3) Treat yourself

If you’re worried, then massages are virtually a doctor’s order, as they can reduce anxiety and have a therapeutic effect. Learn how to control your body and thoughts by remaining calm during a massage.

A good massage can also help to relieve psychosomatic pain, such as muscle tension, headaches and chest pain, and leave you feeling more relaxed.

Not into massages? Whatever luxuries you love – dinner at your favourite restaurant, watching a movie, even a weekend away on your own – make sure you prioritise them in your life. Because if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?

4) Listen to music

How many times has a song helped to change your mood? Happy music can help give you a rush of good energy, and even help you feel more energetic and mentally alert.

And not only can music elevate your mood, but it also helps you clear your head and shifts your focus to a more positive mindset.

5) Take up a new hobby

Looking for a new focus and mood lift? Take up a new hobby. Learning new skills and practising something that you enjoy can help to take your mind off worries and help you lose yourself in your activity. It can also be a great way to meet new people with similar interests.

So work out what it is you love to do. If you’re creative, look for local art of pottery classes. Musical? What about drum or guitar lessons? Sporty? Find local teams that may be looking for new members, or classes for people who want to get back into sport.

Your passion for your new hobby can’t help but roll over into the rest of your life, and you may soon find yourself feeling a renewed zeal in other areas of your life too – taking your focus off your worries.

Don’t ignore your mental health

Anxiety and stress doesn’t often magically disappear, so don’t ignore your mental health. If you’re worried or unhappy, look for proactive ways you can help yourself. We hope these five strategies give you some ideas to get started.

Photo by sharon wright