Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The one life-changing tip that will help you cope with stress

ThinkstockPhotos-122604589.jpg

Stress is an undeniable part of life. From work deadlines to managing finances or sometimes even just choosing what to wear in the morning, most of us experience some form of stress on an almost daily basis.

But now a groundbreaking new study from the University of California has shed light on a coping mechanism that could help us to deal better to stress: we need to learn to listen to our own bodies.

beach

The study, which tested resilience to stress, found that those who had learnt to listen to brain signals from their own bodies were able to cope better in stressful situations than those who hadn't.

Participants had their brains scanned while facing a stressful task - in this case, wearing a face mask that limited their ability to breathe. Participants who closely monitored the changes to their body under this stress, such as increased heart rate or breathing, were better able to dampen the stress response and remain calm than those who didn't. In other words, they were more resilient to stress.

This resilience is important in encouraging us not to overreact to stress. Dr Martin Paulus, the senior author of the study, said, "This study says that resilience is largely about body awareness and not rational thinking." He added, “Even smart people, if they don’t listen to their body, might not bounce back."

breathe

So how can we increase our own awareness of our bodies and boost our resilience to stress?

Dr Lori Haase, lead author of the study and a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, recommends spending a couple of minutes every day focussing on our breathing. She says that paying close attention to inhaling and exhaling should, "teach you to have a change in breathing when anxious but be less attached to that reaction". 

Then, over time, she says this "may help to improve your reaction in a stressful situation". Sold.

Related

anxiety-comics-funny-illustrations-gemma-correll-2__700.jpg

Illustrator perfectly captures the everyday anxieties we all deal with

rexfeatures_5495048p.jpg

Gillian Anderson on dealing with anxiety and going grey

ThinkstockPhotos-503302328.jpg

How to make every day feel like a Saturday

Swear-Word-Coloring-Book-Will-Help-You-Stop-Swearing-And-Start-Coloring-In-201655__700.jpg

Behold the colouring book of swear words

woman-explains-depression.jpg

Woman explains exactly what depression is like in stunning poem

40.JPG

Learn the art of a clutter-free desk with this Instagram account

MH_271115_Bauhaus_16JPG.jpg

UK hair salon offer ‘quiet chair’ for those who dread small talk

anxious child.jpg

“My childhood anxiety went untreated - and I'm still dealing with it”

ThinkstockPhotos-482380141.jpg

Mood-enhancing tips and tricks to take the sting out of January

More

Get free tickets to see Call Me By Your Name

17 Oct 2017

“In defence of birthdays: why we should celebrate each and every year”

Writer Kate Townshend on why birthday parties shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of adulthood

17 Oct 2017

Life can be ‘torturous’ for a sex addict, according to an expert

“It sounds like fun... that couldn’t be further from the truth”

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Why you should wear red if you want to succeed

From ancient history to modern catwalks, why are we all so obsessed with red?

by Alexandra Jones
17 Oct 2017

These are the world’s best and worst major cities to live as a woman

London makes the list – and it’s not all bad news for the capital

by Moya Crockett
17 Oct 2017

Your Starbucks Halloween Frappuccino fix is here and it’s fangtastic

Sink your teeth into this

by Megan Murray
17 Oct 2017

This Princess Bride revelation will make you see the film in a new way

It’s been 30 years since it hit the big screen

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Hold up, there's an avocado chocolate bar – AND it’s vegan

Don't fight it

by Megan Murray
17 Oct 2017

What is perspecticide and could it be happening in your relationship?

This form of coercive control is incredibly damaging

by Megan Murray
16 Oct 2017