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Stress, Anxiety & Calming Techniques for Healthy Living

Managing our stress levels is something to keep in mind for improving our overall wellbeing. By looking at Australia's independent leaders in mental health research and advice, the Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue, let's review some simple strategies and try to do some of them regularly.

Pausing to smell the roses and notice your surroundings is one way to be more mindful

The difference between stress and anxiety is that stress is normally caused by external factors, which cause us tension, it can sometimes motivate us to address, or fix perceived challenges. Anxiety may not have any external factor, but persistent worries remain. Approximately 3 million Australians have been affected by anxiety, according to Beyond Blue. The most common ones are social anxiety and general anxiety disorder.

Here are some common tips to keep in mind:

Tip #1 - Choose Your Social Media Wisely

Limit the amount of news, instead think about things you might enjoy; music for example.

Tip #2 - Walking or Exercise, Find some Time

Regular exercise, or walking has many health benefits, including reducing stress levels, boosting energy and helps improve sleep. Just 30 minutes a day is recommended. For increased results, many people find it helpful to spend time at the beach or in nature (forest immersion), the Japanese call "Shinrin-yoki", to feel free from stress and rebalance in nature, now known as forest therapy [International hand book of Forest Therapy, D. Kotte et al., 2019). You may have a favourite place to walk?

Exercise can distract you from your worries... build self-confidence ... you can plan to walk somewhere beautiful or interesting - from Black Dog Institute (Australia)

Tip #3 - Social Connections - Talk with a Friend

Catching up with a friend socially, for a simple drink or meal. Even better if you decide to walk and talk, or do an activity together as well.

Tip #4 - Eating & Sleeping Healthy

Having a regular routine and sleep hours is good for our bodies. So is making healthy choices mainly, and saving treats for the odd occasion.

Tip #5 - Learn Some Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness and Meditation exercises have been found to be helpful by many people. There are many variations to choose from, here are some samples:

Tip #6 - Helping Yourself / Getting Help

Gaining awareness, and reaching out for information and assistance is a good start. Counsellors and psychotherapists are specialists in treating people with stress and anxiety every day. Search for one in your area via one of the National accreditation bodies: Australian Counselling Association or Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia.

Your local counsellor, therapist or GP can assist you

Registered Counsellors such as myself are here to help. It is important to find one that you feel comfortable with. Besides being experts in talking with you about what is causing your stress, giving you techniques to try. Some have done extra training in many techniques, for example, Mindfulness and or Meditation teachers training. Compiled by The Practical Counsellor. Ann Cox. You may leave a comment below if you wish, or contact me directly.

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