Expert advice Mind

Top 5 Ways To Reduce Stress Now!

Michele Paradise

Havening Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer, Hypnotherapist

6 min read

Stress can be good for some people. We sometimes find it motivating but when it gets out of control we end up not getting much done, not completing tasks and feeling even more stressed about that. Women are more likely than men, 28 per cent vs. 20 per cent (according to the American Psychological Association), to report having a great deal of stress at 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. I’m going to give you 5 quick and effective techniques to calm down and stay that way.

Do One Thing At A Time

Do you get up in the morning and the first thing you do is look at your phone or tablet? Start surfing Facebook, reading your emails or just surfing the net without purpose and before you realize it, 30 minutes have passed? Or maybe you have 20 tabs opened on your laptop and keep switching between them, while you watch TV in the background and read your text messages at the same time. Struggling to stay focussed on any one of them for long enough to digest and act on what they are about? Multi-tasking is bad for your health! Living like this creates constant interruption and sets up a pattern that makes it difficult to focus on one thing at a time. We have been living in a world where multi-tasking has been applauded and encouraged. In fact, women are the champions of multi-tasking and many pride themselves on being able to do many things at a time but we now know it’s not a good idea. So here’s a way to retrain your brain and feel calmer and less stressed. Get your favourite colour of Post-it note and write on it ‘One thing at a time’ and distribute them throughout your life. On your mirror, dashboard, computer, phone, wallet and anywhere else that you look at regularly will help. This is called an anchor and will remind you to do exactly what it says on the paper…one thing at a time!

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Stop. Breathe. Smile

Imagine that your mind was like a snow globe. When you shake the snow globe, it looks like a blizzard of snow and when you sit it down on a table, the snow begins to settle on the bottom and the top becomes clear. When you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s like there is a blizzard of thoughts going on in your mind and you can’t think straight or make good decisions. I call it SBS…Stop, Breathe, Smile. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed sit down if you can, if not, stop moving. Take 3 really deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth and on the final one give a long sigh of relief. And then smile and say “All is well”. It has been proved that the mind releases fear when you breathe and smile simultaneously. So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed by too many thoughts and are unable to make a good decision, SBS is your answer. Then you will have calm and clarity and be able to make a good, clear decision.


Spot The Difference

Linking thoughts and emotions to colours works very well because the brain links a visual stimulus to a thought and is a great and easy way to change behaviour. Do you have something in your life that you would like to change your attitude about? Perhaps you lack confidence and you feel stressed at a job interview, a date or making a presentation? Get yourself some sticky coloured spots and load it with a positive affirmation like “I am confident”, “I am loved” or “I am calm” and then put them in places like the back of your phone, at your desk, on your bathroom mirror and every time you see it, repeat the affirmation. By practising and repeating this you will change your perspective and get a different and positive outcome.


Name That Tune

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the world and all the information is coming at you and you just want a calm and peaceful place to go but you’re stuck on a train, a plane, a car or just walking down the street? Or maybe you’ve get to make a presentation or go to a meeting and you’re just not feeling that confident as you sit in the room before your go in. Music is the answer to changing your state to a calm, motivated or relaxed one. We filter our world through our 5 senses and the sense of sound is one of the most powerful ones. We can hear a song that transports us back to our childhood, just like that. Or, we can hear a song that reminds us of a time in our lives that we would like to forget! So my tip is to create playlists to put them on your phone under a word like calm, motivational and relaxed. Be creative and have fun!


Sleep Easy

In times of stress and anxiety, the first thing that usually goes south is your sleep. Not being able to get to sleep or waking up in the middle of the night with dark thoughts spinning around in your mind. I want to give you some top tips for getting a good night’s sleep and waking up refreshed. Turn off all your electronic equipment at least 30 minutes before going to bed…phones, tablets, laptops, TVs. These have humming sounds and flickering images that over stimulate us and that’s the last thing we need before going to sleep. Sleep naked, if it’s appropriate. Recent research has proved that sleeping naked reduces our adrenaline, cortisol and blood pressure and releases a wonderful happy chemical called oxytocin which makes us feel great. Then connect with the room and the bed. Focus on the photos on the wall, the texture and temperature of the sheets, the cashmere throw and stay focused on what you can feel, hear and smell. Really and be present and allow of the stuff of the day to melt away and subside. Get yourself a relaxing oil like Lavender and put a few drops on your pillow on the side you sleep on near your nose and then put some relaxing sounds on from your ‘calm’ playlist and allow yourself to be bathed in the sensory experience and add some self-havening to this and you will be asleep within 5 minutes. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and self-Haven for about 5 minutes and I’m fast asleep again. And finally, instead of waking up to an alarm sound that sounds like a nuclear alert, link up a happy song to your alarm ring tone for better start to the day. Something like Happy by Pharrell Williams works very well.

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