Stress Management

Prevent ailments such as anxiety and insomnia. Effective stress management can prevent stress-related ailments, such as anxiety, insomnia and digestive upset, boost vitality and enhance enjoyment of life.

Top relaxation tips

  • List the major stresses in your life and consider solutions or lifestyle changes to combat them. Prioritise, practise time management, and learn to delegate and say no.
  • Make time for rest and relaxation on a regular basis.
  • Improve your diet: reduce caffeine, nicotine, junk foods and sugar, and increase wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and water.
  • Practise breathing exercises, such as alternate nostril breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, every day and add a short meditation to your daily routine.
  • Take regular exercise to relieve stress and stimulate endorphin production, which has a relaxing effect. Balance vigorous exercise with gentle stretching.Yoga, qigong and Pilates are ideal.
Choose your therapy

Most complementary therapies contain an element of stress reduction.

Massageosteopathy and chiropractic – relieve stress-related tension in the neck, shoulders and spine.

Acupuncture and acupressure – release stress and relax body and mind. Points along the heart meridian are particularly effective and can also improve sleep quality.

Herbal medicine – add barley (rich in minerals and B vitamins and an excellent nerve tonic) to the diet or drink as barley water (boil one heaped teaspoon of barley in one litre of water for 30 minutes, then strain and drink hot or cold).

Aromatherapy – lavender essential oil, added to a room burner or bath water, relaxes and soothes.

Bach and other flower remedies – many are designed to change your response to stress.

Homeopathic remedies – consult a practitioner for advice on which ones are best to help you cope with stress.

Hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis, positive affirmations and visualisation – help you maintain a positive attitude and deal with stresses effectively.

This article was last medically reviewed by Dr Stephen Hopwood in April 2009.