Stress is an inescapable part of daily life. Yet, if you are persistently stressed over a period of time, it can increase risk of cardiovascular disease. But don’t get worked up just yet. Research also shows that how we deal with stress is more important than the level of stresswe face. To put it simply, irrespective of how many or how few stressful events a person faces, it is how they think of the event that matters. Those who experienced a greater spike in negative emotions had lower heart rate variability and may be at a higher risk for heart disease.
So, if you are keen to deal more effectively with stress (no, hitting the bottle is not a good idea), here are some things that you can do:
1) Meditation: It is for a reason that meditation is suggested as an effective tool to de-stress. It can help you identify and consequently avoid negative thoughts, as well as improve concentration. It can also help the mind to stop wandering. And the best part: it can be practised anywhere. You can try sitting cross-legged and focus on your breathing or visualise a happy scene or chant.
3) Eat well: You can’t beat stress on an empty stomach. Instead, why not load up with stress busting foods such as leafy vegetables, oatmeal, yoghurt, nuts, chocolate and blueberries.
4) Sleep it off: When you sleep, your mind works in putting things in perspective. Previous research by UC Berkeley suggested that sleep helps us manage difficult experiences and dreams help sort events.
5) Listen to music: Change the soundtrack in your head by listening to music that you like. It can relax your mind and lower the levels of stress hormones. There are also meditation sound apps that play calming sounds that help you centre yourself.