Mind

3 techniques to help lower stress and anxiety levels

While small amounts of stress can be beneficial, too much stress in our day-to-day lives is detrimental to our health.

While we all experience stress throughout our lives, some handle it better than others.

A handful turn to exercise (well done), but others have less productive ways of venting their stresses.

Some take it out on their partner or pet, others use it as an excuse to overindulge on their favourite treat food (then encountering the stress of choosing between cookie dough or doughnuts), while others shut down and become quiet.

The list goes on.

To avoid resorting to destructive behaviour, it's best to learn some strategies that nip stress in the bud.

1) Remember the three to one rule

Speaking to former Bachelorette Kate Cameron, clinical psychologist Jacqui Maguire explains that our brains are hardwired to remember all the negative things we do. Apparently we remember negative experiences for primal reasons, grasping hold to the negative things that happen so we can learn to avoid repeating the mistake in the future.

"By nature, you're more likely to go to bed and remember something negative than all the good things you did that day," says Jacqui.

"The research would say you need three hits of positive emotion to one negative just to balance."

So how do we combat this? Jacqui talks about utilising the 'three to one' strategy in the above video.

2) Go for a run

You may know that exercise has a positive affect on the mind and body, but a new study suggests that running, specifically, has the ability to reduce the negative effect stress has on the part of our brain responsible for learning and memory.

Jeff Edwards, associate professor of physiology and developmental biology, says: "We can't always control stress in our lives, but we can control how much we exercise. It's empowering to know that we can combat the negative impacts of stress on our brains just by getting out and running."

3) Scan your body for tension points

Author of Stop Stress This Minute, James Porter, says on this Quora forum thread to mentally scan your body for signs of tension. Once you've zeroed in on a place of stress, he then recommends to focus on that area and try to let it relax - tough as it may sound!

"Try to imagine your breath going right to the spot that feels tense and let it relax those muscles like a cool breeze," says Porter.