STRESS MANAGEMENT: POINTERS & SOLUTIONS

Did you know that sport can eliminate stress hormones to help you take daily hassles in your stride?

 Our expert Delphine shares her best tips for stress management.

WHAT IS STRESS?

When you find yourself in a stressful situation, your body releases adrenaline-like hormones.

These hormones sharpen your focus and physical abilities, cause your blood pressure to rise and make your heart beat faster.

This all happens to help you deal with unexpected situations or intense efforts. To help the body handle the "fight-or-flight" response, the brain releases pain-relieving hormones called endorphins.

IS SPORT A GOOD WAY TO FIGHT STRESS?

Stress is a reaction that is especially conducive to physical exercise. Sport is a stress releaser and can help you eliminate stress hormones to help you take daily hassles in your stride.

 

Physical exercise promotes well-being and relieves stress.

The endorphins produced during sport help relieve pain and make you feel great.

In addition to the purely chemical effects in the body, sport has considerable anti-stress benefits. Many technical sports require a certain level of concentration, forcing you to really be in the moment.

Sport is also often associated with goals we want to achieve and gives us an escape from our daily worries.

Hitting the gym is a great way to meet other people, get a change of scenery and eliminate stress.

WHICH SPORT IS BEST FOR FIGHTING STRESS?

With its numerous benefits, sport is obviously a great way to fight stress.

Based on your personality, you may prefer group activities and technical sports that require communication and concentration. Or, you may be someone who prefers a relaxing sports activity that channels your energy to calm and soothe you, such as yoga, Pilates or stretching.

RELAXING BREATHING: AN ALLY AGAINST STRESS

Have you ever thought about focusing on your breathing when you're stressed? To focus on your breathing, try this exercise: lie down on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor, hands on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through the nose, closing your eyes and feel your stomach expand. Hold your breath for a moment. Tense all the muscles in your body as tightly as you can, focusing entirely on this. Then release your muscles and exhale through the mouth as deeply as possible as you feel your stomach sink towards the ground.

 

This belly breathing is an excellent way to release stress.

Try it throughout the day to help you relax.

 

SIX POSES TO RELIEVE STRESS

Here is a short yoga routine to help you eliminate stress.

This series of asanas is a mix of balancing poses (strength, stability, inner focus), forward bends (relaxing and calming) and backbends (to regenerate cells and bring fresh blood to the brain).

Do this series every morning when you wake up, or at the end of a hectic day to gain a sense of serenity. These restorative poses will leave you feeling calm and relaxed.

POSE 1: MOUNTAIN POSE

Stand and reach your arms up as high as you can. Try to stretch a few centimetres more and tighten your waist muscles. Stretch your spinal column while relaxing your upper body muscles.

Hold for three to five breaths.

POSE 2: FORWARD BEND

Fold forwards with your legs straight and let your upper body relax and your arms hang.

Hold for 30 seconds, then roll back up slowly.

POSE 3: DOWNWARD FACING DOG

Position yourself in a tabletop position. Place your hands flat, making sure they are parallel, directly under your shoulders. Your feet should be hip width apart, aligned with your hands. Rise up on to your toes and slowly push your hips up towards the ceiling, keeping your arms and legs straight.

Hold for 30 to 40 seconds, breathing slowly and deeply.

POSE 4: CAT/DOG

Position yourself in a tabletop position. Inhale, hollow your back (dog) and raise your head, lower your shoulders and let your stomach sink towards the floor. Exhale as you round your back (cat), lowering your head and bringing your stomach in. 

Repeat five times, alternating between dog and cat.

POSE 5: CHILD'S POSE

Kneel down, then sit back on your heels, arms alongside your body. Slowly lean your upper body forwards, bending from the waist, until your forehead touches the ground. Breathe normally, focusing on where your forehead touches the floor.

You can stay there as long as you like, for up to 5 minutes.

POSE 6: SEATED FORWARD BEND

Sit in a simple seated position, legs crossed, and place your hands on your stomach. Breathe slowly for 10 to 15 seconds.

Lean forwards, touching your forehead to the ground and stay for 10 to 15 seconds. Roll up slowly, one vertebra at a time.

These tips should help you manage your stress. Try incorporating them into your daily routine to feel better in both body and mind!

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