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Stress and mood Features

Stress: the best ways to eliminate it!

If, after trying everything, stress still seems to be blighting your life, fear not. Here are some truly effective methods for relieving stress and ensuring you maintain a positive outlook. Keep calm and carry on!
Rédaction Supersmart.
2017-02-21 (blog.publication: 2016-02-13)Commentaires (0)

EFT

Principle

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) aims to eliminate unhelpful negative emotions. How? By tapping on the start and end points of the body's energy channels or meridians (primarily on the top of the head) while repeating positive affirmations. The idea is to clear the emotional blockages or ‘short-circuits’, and restore harmony to your mind and body. These meridians are the same as those used in acupuncture.

Practice

An introduction to EFT (an easily accessible method) can be found in a number of books and videos, although a personal consultation may help you fully benefit from the method’s therapeutic virtues, particularly if you’re suffering from anxiety or severe stress.

Sophrology

Principle

Developed by a Colombian neuropsychiatrist in the 1960s, sophrology is a relaxation method combining yoga, meditation and self-hypnosis techniques. The aim is to connect the body and mind and to reach a state of consciousness that allows optimal concentration on a state, idea or feeling. Associated breathing exercises improve emotional control. When practised regularly, sophrology is an effective approach to tackling stress.

Practice

To start with at least, it’s best to consult a sophrologist. After a few sessions, you’ll find it easy to incorporate the techniques you’ve learned into your everyday life and so find release in moments of stress. You’ll be able to mentally create a soothing image and use it when stress is at peak levels.

Meditation

Principle

Ideally, meditation is practised alongside yoga, working the mind and body together (the two being inextricably linked, particularly when it comes to managing stress). But practising meditation on its own will also produce good, de-stressing results. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to meditate for a long time in order for it to be effective; it’s easy to get started, and you’ll feel the benefits quickly. While there are several approaches, the principle is generally the same: you need to focus on a specific point in order to clear your mind of any intrusive thoughts. You can concentrate on your breathing, or fix on a mental image or some other focus - perhaps a sound or object.

Practice

Meditation is a truly effective aid when practised as regularly as possible. Try to be strict with yourself for the first few days and you’ll soon find that meditating for 10 minutes will become a habit. To set up the right conditions for successful meditation, relax comfortably in a quiet place and make sure you’re not disturbed; empty your mind and breathe calmly (inhaling through the nose, expanding your chest, and exhaling fully through the mouth).

Plants

Principle

Certain plants can definitely provide invaluable support to those suffering from stress. Widely used in self-medication, phytotherapy is considered by scientists to be an excellent option in cases of stress, overwork, anxiety, etc. Among such plants, those known as adaptogens deserve special attention, as they enable the body to adapt to situations of stress and combat external aggressions. Rhodiola, and ginseng or eleutherococcus, are perfect examples. Others such as valerian, lime and hawthorn are effective at countering stress-related symptoms such as sleep problems, emotional imbalance, palpitations, or depression. Natural products that contain new molecules can also complement (or replace) these plant combinations. One such product is GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid), a neurotransmitter which regulates and reduces nervous excitement.

Practice

These plants can be consumed in various forms – in teas, decoctions, essential oils, but dietary supplements in the form of capsules, tablets or phials remain the simplest and most easily available way to take advantage of their benefits.

Hypnosis

Principle

In hypnosis, patients are placed into a semi-conscious state in which they are able to let go completely. It’s a form of deep relaxation in which one is disconnected from the present – this is called an altered state of consciousness. Hypnosis has the dual advantage of inducing immediate calm (you feel more relaxed after a session) and of getting to the root cause of the stress-producing trauma or fear.

Practice

Ideally, you should consult a qualified hypnotherapist (the British Acupuncture Council has a list on its website). Self-hypnosis at home may also help – there are a number of books on the subject or guides are available on the Internet.

Sleep

Principle

The more stressed you are, the worse you sleep (problems with sleep are one of the main symptoms of stress). Conversely, the more restorative your sleep, the less you feel stressed. The links between sleep and stress are undeniable and have been widely recognised by the scientific community, especially as a lack of sleep leads to chronic fatigue which itself triggers stress. It’s a vicious circle. We also know that secretion of melatonin, a hormone essential for the healthy functioning of circadian cycles, is only produced at night.

Practice

To increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle (eat a balanced diet, exercise two to four times a week, no alcohol in the evening …) and create optimal conditions for sleeping (regular bedtime, well-ventilated room that’s not too warm, no screens in the bedroom …) Sometimes, however, this is not enough and here, phytotherapy can be an effective option. Certain formulations that contain the soothing properties of plants (rhodiola, valerian) and molecules such as tryptophan which promote drowsiness can be a real help to those who suffer from sleep problems and stress.

Acupuncture

Principle

Originating from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture is a therapeutic approach based on a life force energy in the body called Qi (pronounced ‘tchi’), in which harmony between Yin and Yang is essential in order to prevent the development of various diseases (of which stress is a symptom). The aim is to target the body’s meridians so as to restore good energy flow. Practitioners place fine (sterile) needles on particular meridians depending on the disease being treated and on the patient’s profile (the first session involves a long questionnaire and a clinical examination).

Practice

With around 3000 qualified acupuncturists, the British Acupuncture Council is a self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture. It takes between one and four sessions of around 20 minutes with a qualified acupuncturist to gain long-lasting improvements in stress relief.

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