Your thoughts can determine your health just as much as what you eat or drink, how much sleep you get or how much you exercise. It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious or stressed sometimes, but if this becomes your natural state, it can have a very negative impact on your health.

The best way to combat stress and anxiety is to give your brain a chance to switch off and send good chemicals through your body.  Staying focussed on positive things can be really helpful – consider putting pen to paper and actually making a list of them. The future may be uncertain, there is suffering in the world and interest rates are high. But to stay healthy there has to be some time in each day where you give your mind a rest from worry if you possibly can.

This week try these simple steps and see what works for you:

  • Every time you hear or think something that makes you feel stressed or anxious, take a really deep breath, hold it for a few seconds then let the air release very slowly. Just one slow breath can really help.
  • Limit your exposure to negative news bulletins. If something big happens, don’t worry someone will tell you.
  • Listen to uplifting music and podcasts that make you feel good or laugh out loud, literally.
  • Find a mantra to say to yourself when you feel worried… like “I will get through this”.
  • As much as possible get out into nature, be with a beloved pet or do something creative.
  • Do something really kind: phone or text a heartfelt message to someone who is alone.

Next week we’ll talk about sleep. Because quality sleep helps reduce the effects of stress.

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