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Health and Fitness

Stress Less: 18 Habits To Harness for a Happier Life

by Vivian KELLY Published on 8 September 2014

Constantly in a panic and not sure how to cope? Whether you become angry and agitated or depressed and blue, dealing with stress is anything but easy. The good news is there are things you can do to help. Forget the procrastination, overeating and the ranting. We have 18 easy ways to zap the stress out your life and get you happy, stat!

According to research by Elizabeth Arden, girls in their twenties and thirties are the most stressed generations, and it's easy to see why with all we have to deal with! From working late to saying yes to almost every social event we get invited to, we're guilty of wanting to live life to the full without thinking about the consequences. And why the hell not?

Everyone gets stressed out sometimes, but it shouldn't be taken lightly. Chronic stress can lead to health problems or even depression. So, to keep stress at bay here's the 16 habits every girl in their twenties and thirties needs to harness quick, to enjoy life more and stress a whole lot less.

1. Surround yourself with beauty...

...Outdoors. If you’re feeling the heat of stress don’t just sit there and take it. Get rid. Doing something as simple as going for a walk outdoors, preferably a park or somewhere near water (i.e. a river or pond) can be very calming especially if you’re a visual person. Those pretty vistas and fresh air will have you feeling heaps better in no time.

2. Get your heart rate up!

Exercise yourself happy! Whether you go for a run, take on HIIT classes (high-intensity interval training) or even dance away the stress with Zumba, decreasing your stress levels through cardio training is super effective, psychically and mentally.

Life coach and wellbeing expert Rebecca Fredericks says, "Studies repeatedly show that aerobic exercise (the type of exercise that uses oxygen to fuel the muscles, like cardiovascular running, rowing, cross training or cycling) helps to lower cortisol levels, as well as improve your mood through the release of endorphins - the brain’s happiness chemicals."

3. Take up yoga

Everyone knows that yoga is great for stress relief but have you ever wondered why? Yoga works with the mind and body through breathing exercises, peaceful poses and meditation. What's more, you can make it even more calming by using music and aromatherapy, which also help clear the mind and heighten your spirits.

Even if you can only get to a class once a week, once you've noticed the benefits of yoga you'll soon be addicted.​ Ladies, get ohmming and ahhhhing!

4. Laugh it off

They say laughter is the best medicine and rightly so. Research shows that those who use humour to cope with stressful situations are in better psychical condition than those who take it all seriously. Laughter activates and relieves your stress response, helps activate the organs, get blood flowing, soothes tension and makes you feel relaxed! Think about it like stretching - when you stretch you tighten up your muscles and then release, bringing yourself back to a relaxed and refreshed state. No wonder laughing feels so good!

5. Breathe baby, breathe

When you're stressed and worked up rapid shallow breathing is common, which can really affect the way your body responds to high pressure situations. But don't panic - you CAN change your breathing problems. According to research deep breathing helps you bring your back body to a relaxed state. Try it; learning a few simple exercises is easy! You won't regret it.

6. Pamper your skin

Skin reflects what's going on inside and out. Conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis and cold sores are common symptoms of stress so it's no surprise that your skin can suffer A LOT stressful periods.

Stress can also make your skin look older, causing a dull complexion or premature fine lines and uneven skin tone, so to have one less thing to worry about, make sure you have a skincare regime that's protecting against life in the fast lane. Elizabeth Arden's Flawless Future collection which is powered by Ceramide technology is the perfect place to start. Their Caplet Serum, Eye Gel and Moisture Cream SPF30 will take care of your skin from morning til night, working with nutrient-rich sea minerals to give your skin the TLC it needs.

7. Kiss your heart out

Who doesn't like a good smooch? It makes us feel good, burns a few calories and makes us feel loved! This is because kissing increasing endorphins (you know, the happy hormone) improving our mood and making us happier. Oxytocin AKA 'the love hormone' also increases during a kissathon, promoting a sense of calm, lowering our stress hormones (i.e. cortisol) and making us feel overall, pretty smug. Make sure you really go for it girls! Passionate kissing is also known to reduce tension! Happy days.

8. Get frisky!

Are you indulging in regular bedroom activities? You better be - sex is a well-known remedy to help improve your mood and stave off stress. And not only does it make us feels great, it makes us DEAL with it better too! Studies have shown that people who often have sex can deal with stressful situations far better than those who don't. Go crazy!

9. Eat mindfully

Do you have a go-to 'perk me up' treat? What foods do you associate with stress? For us, chocolate comes to mind (no shame) and this is because most of us turn to comfort foods when we're feeling stressed or depressed. But although it may feel like a temporary happy fix later you'll probably regret it.

Rebecca says, "Food and alcohol are one of the most common, subconscious state management tools that we use. But by actually thinking about the food that you are eating, chewing slowly, experiencing all the textures and the tastes of every bite, you will more consciously select healthy foods, feel full sooner, consume less and enjoy the food more."

Try keeping a food journal of what you're eating and how you're feeling. This will help bring your attention to the foods you consume and which ones you're over indulging in. Problem solved!

10. Have a power nap

Yeahuh. Power napping IS beneficial! But we're not talking three or four hours worth of sleep, we're talking a short 20-minute cat nap during the day. Research has proved that power naps help you feel refreshed, restored and ready to take on the rest of your day.

According to research napping regularly can actually help reduce stress whilst also decreasing your risk for heart disease. But don't sleep for more than 30 minutes or you risk feeling groggy when you wake up. Short and sweet is the way to do it.

11. Go for a massage

Nothing's more stress busting than a deep tissue massage. But for an even more effective solution go for an aromatherapy massage. The fragrant essential oils will help reduce stress, heighten your senses, lift your spirits and make you feel as good as new!

12. Pet your pet

How many times have you stopped to pet a pooch? It's scientifically proven that owning a cat or dog CAN in fact relieve our stresses. They also encourage you to do exercise AND act as a form of social support for us. Pet lovers, you're onto a good thing.

13. Light a candle

Never underestimate the stress relieving powers of a candle. Candles not only smell delicious and look beautiful, but they're pretty darn good at zapping out stresses too. Scented candles are often packed with essential oils, which act as a form of aromatherapy promoting peace and tranquility. To get the most calm out of your candle go for lavender, vanilla or citrus scented ones. Those will do the trick.

14. Relax, take a bath

Keep calm and have a hot bath. If the day's stresses have got to you, do it like the Romans did! There's nothing better than a nice hot bath at the end of your day. The water pressure and heat helps to relax your organs, relieve pain and helps to calm your mind. Go on then, have a soak!

14. Get organised

It makes sense that those who stress less are actually better organised. Making a to do list is a great way to start or end each day so you know exactly what you have to achieve.

15. Hang up a wind chime

Ever been to someone’s house and noticed their wind chimes twinkling against the wind? You'd be surprised how much they can help. Relaxing sounds are known to reduce stress and we're not just talking about easy listening music - natural harmonic sounds of wind chimes work just as well. The peaceful chimes help sooth and decrease tension while promoting a sense of calmness and relaxation. Where can we get one?

16. Call your friends

When you're panicking about a work deadline or the amount of things you have to juggle at home, try and take a moment to step back from the situation. Call a close friend or a family member to talk things over. It always helps to share a problem with someone else and talking to a sympathetic ear will help you be able to see your situation in a new light.

17. Get some perspective

In the heat of the moment when twenty things are happening all at once, it's easy to get sucked into the throes of a stress-induced meltdown, but when things are starting to spiral out of control try to gain perspective. If you burnt dinner, forgot to call that friend back, have missed your yoga class and have a deadline looming, try to prioritise and realise that small things going awry aren't actually the end of the world. Tomorrow is another day.

18. Be positive

Have a big project on, but not sure if you can hack it? About to go in for an interview, but fearful that you might screw up? Chill out. More likely than not when we're stressed out we're talking to ourselves negatively. The best thing to do here is to TAKE CONTROL of your thoughts and change your way of thinking. Try writing in a journal about all the things you appreciate and everything that you've accomplished this far in your life. It doesn't matter how big or small - every little counts. Positive thinking starts from within!

How do you keep your calm? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!

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