Knowing how to relieve stress is key to living a better life. In this video, BBC One’s Doctor Rangan Chatterjee has three key tips to help
‘The World Health Organisation calls stress the health epidemic of the 21st century, and I see the effect of this every day in my practice, ’ says Dr Rangan Chatterjee, who appeared in BBC One series Doctor In The House and has released a new book, The Stress Solution: The 4 Steps to Reset Your Body, Mind, Relationships and Purpose.
Wouldn’t life be so much easier if you could just erase your stress? You could get so much more done and enjoy the good parts of your life if you weren’t kept up at night with worries about the following day. Whether your stress comes from your job, your family, illness or anything else, we all know how detrimental it can be to living a healthy, happy life.
Luckily, Doctor Rangan Chatterjee is here to help with his top three tips for decreasing stress in your life.
Decreasing stress tip #1: Have a morning routine
‘This can be as short as five or even ten minutes,’ says Dr Chatterjee. He believes that even the simplest of routines to start off your day can make a big impact on your stress levels.
According to a study from Tel Aviv University, your body experiences relief in repetitive behaviour, and having a set routine can decrease your anxiety.
This isn’t just unique to humans – animals also find relief in routine. The study concludes that humans and animals perform ritualistic behaviours as a way to induce calm and manage stress caused by a world that’s unpredictable and uncontrollable.
Your routine can be ‘a little bit of meditation, or even reading something positive’
Having set routines lets us believe that we’re in control of our lives, instead of feeling like our lives are controlling us. It’s one thing in your day you can have power over.
‘It can be a little bit of meditation, or even reading something positive,” Dr Chatterjee suggests.
Not only do routines help you feel calmer, but it can also be helpful to set some time aside for yourself in the morning that will get your day off to the right kind of start. Hopefully your outlook on the day ahead can improve with a few minutes of calm in the mornings.
Decreasing stress tip #2: Nurture your friendships
Just because we’re more connected than ever before through technology and media doesn’t mean that we’re making genuine human connections, according to Dr Chatterjee. Friendships, and especially seeing your friends in person, can help lower your daily stress.
‘Seeing your friends in person is not a luxury for good health,’ says Dr Chatterjee. ‘It’s a necessity.’
Research from the University of Michigan shows that dishing with your girlfriends isn’t just a fun way to spend a Friday night, it actually helps your health significantly. Spending time with friends increases your body’s production of the hormone progesterone, which boosts your well-being and lowers anxiety and stress.
According to the study, this information supports the evolutionary theory of altruism. This is the theory that the hormonal basis of social bonds allows people to suppress self-interest in order to promote the well-being of others.
Spending time with friends increases your body’s production of the hormone progesterone, which lowers anxiety and stress
Making sure you see your friends isn’t just a way to help enjoy your life, it’s an important way to foster your health. How cool is that?
‘Why not pick up a phone right now and set a date to see one of your friends in person?’ Dr Chatterjee asks.
Take time out of your week to spend time with friends and foster your relationships, and hopefully you’ll see a direct correlation to your stress going down.
Decreasing stress tip #3: Do something you love
This one seems too simple, but when was the last time you spent part of your day doing something you truly love? The things that make us happiest are cut from our lives all too soon when we’re under pressure.
‘We’re so busy these days doing things that we need to do,’ Dr Chatterjee explains, ‘that we often forget about what we want to do.’
Do something that makes you feel good
Is that relatable to you? According to the MedicinePlus Medical Encyclopaedia, it’s important to take time to do things you love to help pick yourself back up. It can be as as simple as listening to music or watching a movie, but what matters is that at least once a day, you do something that’s just for you.
‘So why not pick up that hobby or join a sports club or a book club?’ Dr Chatterjee says. ‘Something that makes you feel good.’
Feeling good is the key to making sure your stress levels stay low, so make sure that whatever anxiety your life brings, you’re setting time aside for yourself and what you want.
Doctor Rangan Chatterjee‘s new book The Stress Solution: The 4 Steps to Reset Your Body, Mind, Relationships and Purpose is out now.