#ProjectHappy: How To Manage Stress

Stressed out on the reg? Studies say you're not the only one, so we found out how to deal with it.

girl stressed out

Did you know a recent study reported that Gen Y might just be the most stressed out generation yet? That’s cos, thanks to that pesky old recession a few years ago, we have less job security, more debt and extra pressure at work. In fact, 41 percent of millennials surveyed said they experience constant or regular stress, so how can you manage it? We spoke to psychotherapist Margaret Mara to find out.

“The most common causes of stress I see among young women stem from taking setbacks too seriously and feeling guilty about relaxing,” explains Margaret. “And while a certain amount of stress can be good, too much of it can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.”

If it’s not dealt with in the mind, you’ll feel it in the body

Wanna nix it? “The first step is to identify your stressors,” explains Margaret. “What’s the thought behind the stress?” she asks. “Whatever it is, if it’s not dealt with in the mind, you’ll feel it in the body, so listen to what your body is telling you”

“Breathing is everything. When you feel stress coming on, place one hand on your stomach, and breathe into the very pit of your tummy,” she suggests. When you do this you release tension and your body switches from a place of stress to one of relaxation.

If you suffer from persistent stress? Margaret recommends listening to progressive relaxation music every night to unwind. (You’ll find relaxation playlists on Youtube, FYI)

“You might also like to try mindfulness or take a meditation class,” she suggests. They’ve been known to reduce anxiety and restore calm. In fact, a recent study found that just a couple of minutes of mindfulness a day is enough to dramatically reduce your levels of stress.

“Exercise too, can be really good at nixing stress,” says Margaret. “But make sure it’s fun. It should never be a chore.”

The thing to remember? “If you feel stressed out, find out what the body is trying to tell you.” she says. “Only then can you effectively deal with it.”