Puāwai Healthy Lifestyles Service Q&A

The newly renamed Puāwai Healthy Lifestyles Service has provided some simple tips on minimising stress to improve health and wellbeing.

Q1: Why is it important to minimise stress?

Stress can negatively impact many aspects of our lives; such as the quality of our sleep, our productivity, and relationships with others. However, if we shift our perspective and see stress as a positive thing it can help.

Q2: How can we see stress as a good thing?

People who view stress as a positive thing can reduce its impact on their health and wellbeing. Try to welcome stress. For example, heart racing? Breathing fast? That’s your body giving you extra strength and energy.

Q3: What are your top five tips for minimising stress?

  1. Get moving – Even a couple of minutes a day in the garden, a lunchtime walk, or a quick dance can make a difference to your mood.
  2. Connect with others – Reaching out to others releases the hormone oxytocin which helps us recover from stress faster. We are social beings and supposed to be around others. It can be as simple as joining a community group, phoning a friend, or getting mates together for a game or walk.
  3. Be in the moment and take notice – Research shows mindfulness is good for your wellbeing. Give your full attention to what is happening right now and experience it with curiosity and kindness. Notice a rainbow or smell a flower.
  4. Sleep well – One of the most important things you can do for your health i s sleep well. Establish a routine of winding down and going to bed at the same time. Dim the lights a couple of hours before sleep. Put devices down and stop the distracting notification beeps.
  5. Make water and whole foods your friends – Water is vital to keep our bodies working well. Studies show eating lots of vegetables and fruit increases happiness. Aim for your plate or meal to be at least half colourful vegetables or fruit.