7 Ways to Beat Stress and Boost Happiness

Being in nature is important for stress relief & lowering anxiety levels.

Being in nature is important for stress relief & lowering anxiety levels.

Let’s face it stress has become a part of our daily lives and can’t be completely avoided.

It is a normal reaction to perceived uncomfortable and difficult situations. As we feel tensed, our bodies release chemicals and hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These substances keep our bodies alert and ready to face danger.

While stress can be useful at times, it is important to manage it well, particularly in the face of pain disorders. An inability to manage stress may be contributing to the level of pain being experienced, so at Keilor Rd Physiotherapy we will often ask questions regarding the level of stress our patients are experiencing and whether they feel that their pain is made worse when their stress levels are high.

All experiences of pain are individual and at Keilor Rd Physiotherapy our therapists are experts in understanding what experiences are contributing to presenting symptoms and how to integrate this into an individualised treatment approach.

Managing stress can be hard and may take time, especially if it has become a part of you and your pain journey. Luckily, everything is possible and with some basic start out strategies to combat stress, these simple tips can have a positive impact on stress and the negative influence that stress has on pain experiences.

Here are 7 great ways for you to get rid of stress and essentially boost your happiness!

1. Exercise

Physical exercise is one of the best ways to alleviate stress and enhance your mood. At Keilor Rd Physiotherapy we understand the impact that pain can have on your mood and how frustrating it can be when an injury is determining your ability to exercise or even go through the basic activities of daily living. Regardless of what your activity level is the “Masters of Movement” at Keilor Rd Physiotherapy will give you active management strategies to manage your condition and work towards your rehabilitation goals.   

During physical exercises, our brains produce and release chemicals dopamine and serotonin at a faster rate than during inactivity. Thanks to them, happiness and good mood are encouraged. Also, physical activity increases the supply of endorphins. These chemicals are responsible for encouraging a feeling of satisfaction and gratefulness.

Physical exercising has also been proven to lower stress hormones such as cortisol, which is responsible for increasing levels of anxiety and has a negative impact on pain perception. Therefore simple targeted exercise can allow us to think in a more positive way and have more focus and cognitive awareness.

Our Therapists will work with you individually to determine:

  • Active strategies to manage your specific rehabilitation needs

  • Consider your overall health and well being

  • Look at cardiovascular fitness as well as strength and conditioning options

  • Consider posture, breathing and whether certain muscle groups need upregulating or in fact some down regulation for better function.

2. Get Enough Sleep

This one may appear quite simple, however sleep hygiene is complex and we will revisit this area in future blogs. Basically however, if you don’t sleep, you will be more prone to stress, negativity and higher levels of pain.

Make sure that you get sufficient sleep during the night, and enough rest during the day.

If you are having troubles getting enough sleep, try going to bed earlier. It may be hard to fall asleep early at the beginning but once your body gets used to it, things will get easier.

Consider listening to relaxing music, turn off all gadgets 60 minutes prior to sleep, try relaxing tea such as Camomile and add a few drops of lavender oil to your diffuser.

Sleep posture may be contributing to your sleep difficulties, so our physiotherapists are able to analyse and then optimise your sleeping neck and spinal postures to help you get the best night’s sleep possible. We also use a wide range of relaxation, sleep optimisation strategies to facilitate best sleep hygiene options.

3. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Eating and drinking healthy is a key to a healthy body and mind, and ultimately your happiness. There are foods and drinks that you should try to avoid as much as possible, including:

Coffee and other drinks containing high levels of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, processed foods and salt.

This is another area we will explore in more detail in future blogs as the role of good gut health is an essential part of managing inflammation, stress and pain disorders.

A proper diet is a must if you aim to combat stress in the long term. Make sure that your body receives sufficient amount of proteins, good fats, healthy carbs, minerals, and vitamins.

Speaking of minerals and vitamins, these are the most important for managing stress:

Vitamin C, B vitamins and Magnesium

Tip: If you are dealing with a stressful day, eat less but more often. This way, your metabolism will keep on working and your energy will be well distributed. Blood sugar will also be more stable and in return, stress will be managed more easily.

4. Relax (It’s May be Easier Than You Think)

Excessive stress is often caused because of too much worrying, overwork, overcommitting both personally or professionally and a physical injury can exacerbate this dramatically.

Try to reserve some time for yourself on a daily basis, seriously getting a little selfish can have huge benefits to you as an individual!

Our physiotherapists can give individual programs that may need to include relaxation strategies integrated into movement based programs.

You can also try a simple breathing exercise that will provide you with immediate calming effects.

  1. Find a comfortable position that works for you and maintaining good posture, close your eyes.

  2. Breathe in slowly through your nose for 6 seconds.

  3. Hold the air for 3 seconds.

  4. Proceed to exhale slowly through your mouth for another 6 seconds.

  5. Don’t breathe for a few seconds and then repeat the process 3-6 times until you feel relaxed.

5. Giving the Control back into Your Own Hands

It is common for us to hear from individuals, especially those experiencing persistent, ongoing pain disorders that they feel out of control of what is happening to their bodies and the management of their issues so far.

It is also common for us to be told how this lack of control leads to increased stress and vulnerability, with uncertainty as to how to their future will pan out. This again can be affecting pain systems and exacerbating fear and movement dysfunctions.

At Keilor Rd Physiotherapy we work together not only with each patient but as collaborative team to make sure that you regain control. This comes in many forms and is individualised in a holistic approach to ensure that all facets of your rehabilitation are being addressed. If needed, we have a huge network of the best support practitioners on hand should a referral be appropriate.

We review the problems and work with you to find the solutions.

6. Talking About Your Problems

We know that talking about your problems can help you deal with them better.

Our Physiotherapists take the time to listen and understand what you are dealing with and the impact that pain or disability has had on your life. Talking through your issues can help stop the building up of anxiety, stress and quite simply feeling overwhelmed.

It can often be previous poorly executed explanations of what is causing your pain, misunderstanding or incorrect interpretations of scan results or simply having being told an incorrect and often very disempowering diagnosis that has resulted in great stress and vulnerability around your situation.

As leaders in our field and always guided by best available evidence based practice, we pride ourselves in often being the myth busters that can change your whole perspective on what is going on and decrease the negative thoughts and stress associated with those perceptions. One of the best outcomes after an initial consultation is the capacity to instill HOPE in our patients.

Make sure that you surround yourself with positive people who are willing to listen and understand you. Avoid the company that makes you feel worse.

And last but certainly not least……………..

7.  The Benefits of Laughter

Indian physician and founder of the Laughter Yoga Clubs movement Dr Madan Kataria says, “Laughter influences more than just our mental framework; it has positive physical benefits as well”.

  • Laughter strengthens the immune system. Psychoneuroimmunologists have proved negative emotions weaken the immune system, while positive emotions make it stronger. According to Dr Lee Berk from Loma Linda University in California, laughter helps to increase the count of natural-killer cells and raises the antibody levels in the body.

  • Bouts of laughter reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and trigger the flow of endorphins from the brain, which relaxes the whole body and increases a sense of wellbeing. Laughter is an antidote to anxiety, anger, irritation and depression, and induces good sleep.

  • A good belly laugh – or ‘internal jogging’– boosts vital organs by enriching the circulatory system with oxygen, helping filter the lymphatic system and strengthen the muscles and organs of the respiratory system.

  • Laughter is an effective form of aerobic exercise. Dr William Fry of Stanford University in California claims laughter is a whole-body experience; one minute of laughter is equal to 10 minutes on a rowing machine.

Laughter is a powerful tool to accentuate positivity, create happiness and infuse optimism to bring about hope and propensity for life and living.

At Keilor Rd Physiotherapy we value smiles and laughter as much as we value the exceptional professional level of expertise our team represents. We have created a beautiful calm inspiring space to reduce stress but also inspire a sense of happiness and wellbeing for staff and clients alike.