Stress Protection Factor 10 (SPF10)

Will Hussey / 29 March 2019

Stress is a bit like sunburn; we can deal with it but it’s best to avoid it. Or at least adopt some simple precautions to help minimise our exposure.

Whilst we can’t eliminate stress from our lives completely, it’s certainly possible to moderate our doses in an attempt to maintain a healthy all-year-round glow. 

Applying a positive perspective can help us all see things in a different light.  So here are ten top tips to help you bask in the warmth rather than frazzle in the full-on glare of modern living.

Calculate your happiness

According to a study carried-out by the University of London’s Institute of Education, seeing friends and relatives regularly equates to a £64K pay rise.  If you’re feeling down - and even if you’re not - sharing a drink in good company works wonders.

The health benefits of friendship

Sleep on it

People try to cram so much in to their days that something inevitably has to give - and it’s usually sleep.  A University of Warwick study found that improving sleep quality leads to the mental and physical health equivalent of winning a £200,000 lottery jackpot!  Maybe you’re already a winner.

Secrets of sleep

Quit waiting

Too many of us seem to be suffering from a wait problem; putting off our happiness to another time or place.  ‘Destination addiction,’ results when we forego the opportunities of today because of the perceived promise of a future event - holidays, weekends, celebrations etc.  Of course, tomorrow never comes, and wishing our time away means we’re never truly in the moment.  Embracing today’s reality trumps tomorrow’s nebulous possibility every time.

Nine ways to live in the moment

Use the Green Cross Code

Slow down a little. We’re all busy being busy, resulting in a feeling of perpetual commuting.  Maybe you’ve arrived; you’re already here.  Taking time to notice the wonders of your everyday surroundings helps us to ease off the gas and relieve a little of accumulated stresses and strains.

Be a hugger

We’re living in an increasingly contact-less society.  Most things can be done from the comfort and safety of your own home, apart from interacting with ‘real,’ people.  Which is really important, because we’ve evolved to be social animals who benefit from more contact rather than less.  It’s been estimated that the average hug lasts for just under three seconds.  To kindle feelings of love and affection it’s estimated you should hold on for closer to seven seconds.  Try it (but avoid counting aloud if possible!)

Enjoy your plot twists

You’ve probably come to realise by now that not everything always goes to plan.  You are the author of your life’s story, however, and maybe it’s possible to reframe a disaster in to merely a ‘plot twist.’  The next chapter can take a turn for the better, after all.

Celebrate stuff that didn’t happen

We all savour good experiences, but how about celebrating those things that haven’t happened that you didn’t want to?  That traffic jam you weren’t stuck in; the fact you’ve managed to avoid that nasty cold going around or the absence of toothache?  Appreciating what we haven’t got can be just as powerful as recognising what we do have.

Less anti-social media

One true flesh-and-blood friend will bring you more happiness than 1000 Facebook ones.  Like-minded friends mean more than likes.  Cut the time you spend on social media by half and spend time with friends and family instead.

Be kind

A sure-fire way to feel good about yourself is to do a good deed for someone else.  The feelgood factor reverberates with the giver just as much as the receiver.  Small acts of kindness help to put a spring in everyone’s step - whatever the weather.

Remember the 90/10 principal

It’s estimated that you can control around 10% of the experiences you’re involved in each day, with your happiness being determined by how you respond to the other 90%.  You can influence 100% of that 90%.  Making a conscious choice to be positive can be all that’s needed to turn your day around.

So maybe managing stress is more about keeping cool rather than getting hot-and-bothered.  That doesn’t have to mean resigning yourself to a life in the shade, but realising instead that you really are the barometer of your own happiness all year round.

The Little Book of Being Brilliant by Andy Cope

Will Hussey is an author and happiness expert at The Little Book of Being Brilliant is available from the 5th April from the Saga Bookshop.  

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.