Stress affecting your social, work or sex life?

Jasmine Wicks Stephens
Here’s 5 easy expert approved ways to bring you a bit more zen. Feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed? We asked our favourite wellness experts to share their top tips for taking care of your mental health…

Sound therapy


“Often when we are feeling stressed, we are very much in a thinking space and not feeling as connected to our bodies. In that disconnection, we might not even realise how much tension our bodies are holding onto. For instance, it’s only when someone says drop down your shoulders that you realise how high you’ve been holding them. One really good way to bring us back to ourselves is by humming. Not only is the sound self-soothing, but research has also shown that humming impacts us on a physical level too. By stimulating the vagus nerve - the body’s natural stress reliever – humming lowers blood pressure, and the heart rate, and also releases oxytocin the ’love’ hormone - leaving you feeling considerably calmer. To begin, gently bring your lips together to close them. Then take a deep breath in through the nose, as you breath out through the nose start to hum deeply, making a low-pitched sound from your throat. Bringing your focus to how the vibrations feel. Repeat as many times as you want.”

Farzana is a sound practitioner, wellness expert and founder of The Sound Therapist. @thesoundtherapist


Smells good


“Scents send signals to our limbic system, which is the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion. So, if you surround yourself with a favourite scent or smell you can actually help reduce stress. Keep a perfume, room fragrance or a candle with scents that remind you of a fond memory, place or person, or just makes you feel good, to help you lower stress levels and improve mood when needed. And if you’re not totally sure what works for you – or it can’t be bottled - opt for citrus fruit scents as these have been proven to have antidepressant properties so can support in lifting your mood.”

Our favourite citrus oils can be found from the experts at Tisserand Aromatherapy.

Simone Stevens is a qualified aromatherapist with a wealth of knowledge around all things essential oils. @sensesbysim


Exhale now


Extend the exhale longer than the inhale. If we think of the inhale as a sympathetic activation of the nervous system (increasing the heart rate and blood pressure - ready for fight or flight), our exhale is the opposite - helping the body to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (the bodies rest response). Often when we are stressed we spend longer in our inhale, but we want to shift the axis of the breath back to the parasympathetic exhale. Counting can help, start with an inhale for 2, and exhale for 4. And then increase the breath length to a 3:6 or 4:8 ratio.”

Nix Brook is a breathwork facilitator, empowering you to heal physically, and emotionally through breathing. @nixbrook___


Happy meal


“Maximising your happy hormone, serotonin is a wonderful thing to do for your mood and your sleep (as serotonin is actually the precursor to your sleep hormone melatonin). To do so naturally, increase your intake of foods high in L-Tryptophan. This is an amino acid that is a building block of serotonin. Foods like turkey, chicken, oats and peanuts are high in this happy protein. And if you want to go one step further you can also take a daily morning dose of the supplement 5-HTP which can further boost your serotonin production.”

Hannah Alderson is a registered nutritionist and founder of The Positive Method - The Path to Happier Hormones® @hannahaldersonnutrition


Tension buster


“Stress affects the body in a variety of ways - over time persistent stress can cause muscular tension in the neck and shoulders which can lead to pain and often headaches. My go-to self-management tool to prescribe is massage ball release around the neck and shoulders. All you need is a massage ball, my favourite is a cork version approx 5cm diameter. Lie on your back, head supported. Place the ball in the tense area in the muscles at the top of your shoulder just below your neck. Gently move the arm, in different ways - overhead/ circles/ out to the side - moving so you put pressure in the ball in a way that feels like it’s massaging the muscle. Do for 90 seconds and move to another point, repeat in 3-4 points on each side. Feel the tension melt away.”

Claire Mills is a physiotherapist, pilates instructor and founder of Core LDN


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