Teaching is a stressful business.
First off, there’s the pressure of delivering a curriculum that seems to have been designed on the back an envelope (thank you, Mr. Gove). Then, there’s the increasingly unrealistic (and bizarre) expectations of attainment from the DfE. And then there’s the omnishambles of this year’s SATs. And… well, the list goes on.
Feel your blood pressure rising yet?
The May half-term holiday should be a time to escape work pressures. To help you relax, here are four ways of reducing your stress levels that are backed up by scientific evidence.
1. Take up yoga.
According to experts, yoga is an excellent way to reduce stress and tension in the body.
Yoga expert Sara Ivanhoe recommends practising the Eagle Pose to release neck tension and to tone your body. And as a bonus, since it can be practised in stages, it’s suitable for beginners and experts alike.
Find out more about the Eagle Pose at health.com.
2. Start a gratitude diary.
A number of studies have shown that developing a habit of gratitude can help strengthen your emotional resilience, reduce your stress levels and improve your sleep quality.
(In fact, in one 2006 study, scientists even found that Vietnam War veterans who presented higher levels of gratitude were more resilient and less likely to suffer the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.)
Wellness expert Elizabeth Scott explains how exploit this effect by keeping a gratitude diary. See her article at verywell.com.
3. Take a walk.
Like any other form of exercise, walking boosts your levels of endorphins, which can actually reduce the stress chemicals found in your bloodstream.
Indeed, research has actually demonstrated that taking a brisk 20-30 minute walk can have the same calming effect as administering a mild tranquilliser.
Additionally, if you can walk in a more natural environment, such as a park, science shows you will benefit from an increased ability to cope with stress, improved concentration and cognitive function.
Read this article at prevention.com for more information about the stress benefits of walking regularly.
4. Get kissing.
It turns out that kissing unleashes chemicals that throttle back stress hormones in both men and women.
In an experiment conducted on students, fifteen minutes of kissing whilst listening to music led to decreased levels of cortisone (the stress chemical) being detected in subjects’ bloodstreams.
Science also tells us that kissing helps to fight cavities (by increasing the secretion of saliva and washing away plaque) – possibly leading to less stressful visits to the dentist. Bonus!
For more information (as if you needed it), read the full article at nbcnews.com.