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Opinion 9 ways to reduce stress now

Don’t let modern life get you down – reduce your stress with these easy lifestyle changes.

MODERN LIFE IS stressful. We all experience stressful events at different times of our lives so we all need to know how to handle it – with that in mind, here are nine things that you can do now to help reduce the stress now.

Don’t be an ostrich

First things first, don’t bury your head in the sand. If you avoid the issue it won’t go away. Find the root of the stress and deal with it.

If you have financial problems ripping up bills won’t help. Go get help from an organisation that helps with budgeting.

If you are undergoing stress at work, sit down with your boss and assess how you can handle it better. Hiding from reality is never the answer.

Live in the now

Stress is often caused by worrying about events that haven’t happened. We worry we won’t be able to pay our bills, that our children get mixed up with the wrong crowd or that a situation in work may end in conflict. These are things that haven’t happened and may not ever happen. If you waste the present worrying about what may happen in the future you are creating unnecessary stress and anxiety. Keep your thoughts in the present moment and on the things you can control.


Despite what some say, meditation is not just for monks. A large percentage of highly successful people use meditation as a tool to de-stress and stop the monkey mind.

Meditation is a great way to practise living in the moment. Start with just five or 10 minutes a day. Although you may not get the full benefits of meditation from five minutes it will help you to get comfortable with the practise and help you form a new habit.

Do a mind download

Feel like your head is going to explode? Do a mind download. Get everything you have to do and everything that’s worrying you out onto paper. When you have emptied your mind you will feel a sense of relief. Now plan the things you have to do in your calendar or capture them in a notebook or a task management app for later.

Plan your week in advance

Stress is very often caused by disorganisation. Get yourself organised by planning your week in your calendar. Enter in all the tasks you need to complete and specify when you are going to do them. This will give you a sense of control and focus, as you will see exactly how much you have to do and when you are going to do it.

Take a break

If you are feeling stressed out in work, too much to do and not enough time, the best thing you can do is take a break. Counterintuitive as it may sound it will help you to gain perspective and make better decisions around your priorities. Take a step back, have a cup of tea and take your mind off things for ten minutes. When you go back you will be clearer, more relaxed and focused on the work at hand.

Watch a funny movie

Laughter is an excellent remedy for all ails. On your way home from work rent a funny movie or watch a few funny YouTube clips to raise your spirits. Apparently there is a link between laughter and the reduction of the stress hormone cortisol. Stress is also responsible for reducing the amount of serotonin and other feel good neurotransmitters like dopamine in the brain. Laughing and smiling will help towards reversing the depletion caused by stress. We know a good laugh does us the world of good.

Do some gardening

Gardeners are happy people. Some say there is a substance in the soil that contributes to wellbeing. Whether that is true or not, the joy of physical exertion and fresh air will be enough to make it worthwhile. So hop into B&Q or Woodies at the weekend and buy yourself a shovel.


Regular exercise has many positive benefits including being a proven remedy for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Even if you only get out for a walk you will feel the benefits. It will clear your head, calm your nerves and increase the feel good hormones to the brain.

So go ahead, stop playing the victim to your circumstances and take control. Choose one of these ways to reduce your stress and get out and enjoy the sunshine – because that is something we definitely can’t control.

Ciara Conlon is a Productivity Coach and author of Chaos to Control a practical guide to getting things done. She helps busy professionals save time and get focused. If you would like help getting organised and setting goals for 2014, Check out her online course Get Set for Success

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