Chronic stress can cause a range of problems for our physical and mental health www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-body.aspx
We’ve put together 5 simple strategies everyone can put in place to help improve our outlook:
These have been shown to improve sleep and reduce depression. Keep a journal of things you are grateful for, or things that have gone well for you during the day – start by noticing three each day.These could be as simple as being grateful for the weather – whether sunshine or rain (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
2) Embrace Imperfection
Let go of the need for perfection! This is without doubt one of the most powerful ways to alter your stress-brain mentality (Brene Brown, 20 minute TED Talk: www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability
3) Random Acts of Kindness
Chronic stress leads to reduced dopamine levels (amongst other things).
Create a virtuous dopamine cycle by carrying out some random acts of kindness everyday https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_act_of_kindness
4) Power Poses
Reduce your cortisol levels instantaneously by “power-posing” for two minutes at least once every day – I do this regularly through the day and every time something stressful happens. (Amy Cuddy http://blog.ted.com/fake-it-til-you-become-it-amy-cuddys-power-poses-visualized/)
5) Smiling Eyes
Create a smile – get good at this – smiling alters your brain chemistry and creates a sense of well-being (www.paulekman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Physiological-Effects-Of-The-Smile.pdf) But it has to be a good one to really work – a “Duchene Smile” that goes right up to the eyes. Mind you, even holding a pencil between your teeth in a mock smile can make a difference!