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Ten ways to enrich your life

By ANN WAIRIMU
Thursday, April 8th, 2021
Ways to enrich your life.
In summary

Nowadays, life has become stressful, coupled with frustrations and discontent, especially following challenges brought about by Covid-19 pandemic. April being Stress Awareness Month, here are some tips to make things easy and effective, writes Ann Wairimu.

1. Learn to expect the unexpected

Welcome an unexpected event with compassion and kindness. Get rid of all negative thoughts which make you emotionally weak.

Be aware of all probable and possible thoughts that lies within us, but do not give them the power to overrule you. That is the trademark of a true healer.

2. Accept change

Accepting change can make you more successful. Change is inevitable. From overstuffed schedules to ambitious hopes for your future, how you accept change can make the difference between emotional chaos and clarity.

Change provides a road to growth. Initially, it might be painful, but it provides a fruitful result in the long run.

3. Spend time with friends and family

Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.

Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.

One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever.

This effect is called “tend and befriend,” and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.

Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

4. Learn to say “no”

Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress. One way to do this may be to say “no” more often.

This is, especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, as juggling many responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Being selective about what you take on — and saying no to things that will unnecessarily add to your load — can reduce your stress levels.

5. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up.

This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality.

Get in the habit of making a to-do list organised by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.

Work on the things that need to get done and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.

6. Power of love

Cuddling, kissing, hugging and sex can all help relieve stress. Positive physical contact can help release oxytocin (known for being the hormone of love, trust, and all feelings warm and fuzzy) and lower stress hormones, cortisol.

This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are physical symptoms of stress.

7. Check your diet

The benefits of eating health foods extend beyond your waistline to your mental health.

A healthy diet can lessen the effects of stress, build up your immune system, level your mood, and lower your blood pressure.

To stay healthy and on an even keel, look for complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and fatty acids found in fish, meat, eggs, and nuts. Antioxidants help too.

They protect your cells against damage that chronic stress can cause. You can find them in a huge variety of foods like beans, fruits, berries, vegetables, and spices such as ginger.

Stick to a healthy diet with a few simple tips. Make a shopping list. Carry healthy snacks with you when you leave the house. Stay away from processed foods, and try not to eat mindlessly.

8. Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment. It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking.

There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation.

A recent study in college students suggested that mindfulness may help increase self-esteem, which in turn lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression.

9. Express gratitude

Be thankful for everything you have in life. This habit welcome positive attitude towards life.

To make gratitude a habit, one needs to learn to look inward more and place more focus on small moments of joy.

Expressing gratitude can help you gain a higher level of positive emotion on daily basis, and socially you’ll start to notice a new-found compassion.

10. Deep breathing

Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode.

During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing and constricted blood vessels.

When you practice deep breathing, you turn on your body’s natural ability to relax.

his creates a state of deep rest that can change how your body responds to stress.

It sends more oxygen to your brain and calms the part of your nervous system that handles your ability to relax.

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