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Five-day stress less challenge

Try out 5 day stress less challenge and see what impact it makes on your mood.

A young woman meditates at home in front of a laptop
A young woman meditates at home in front of a laptop

Stress is a common part of life. Everyone has to cope with varying degrees of it and we all have different thresholds for managing the various challenges life throws our way.

When stress starts to get on top of you however, it can negatively impact your health and enjoyment of life. According to the 2015 Stress and Wellbeing in Australia survey, 35 per cent of Australians report having a significant level of distress in their lives.

How to stress less

nib foundation partner, Black Dog Institute, is dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by poor mental health and they've given us some simple tips to help you manage stress.

Over the next five days, try putting each of these into practice and see what a difference it makes to your overall mood and anxiety levels.

Day one: Practice relaxing

Take time out for yourself - even if it's just a few minutes - and focus on breathing deeply. Close your eyes and pay attention to the rhythm of your breath as you inhale and exhale. This will ground you in the present and help you move into a state of awareness and relaxation.

Day two: Identify your stressors

Make a list of events that leave you emotionally drained. Once you have identified your stressors, connect each event with one or two ways to reduce the stress. Consciously put these stress reduction techniques into practice next time an opportunity presents itself.

Day three: Think positively

Smile whenever possible. You'll be amazed at the difference this can make to how you feel.

Day four: Watch your alcohol intake

Sometimes a drink or two can feel like the best solution to a tough time. This is only a temporary fix though; drinking can create more problems for both your physical and mental health. Consider moderating your alcohol intake or switching to a healthier alcohol-free alternative.

Day five: Perform small acts of kindness

Do something for someone else. Did you know performing five kind acts a week has been shown to give a boost to your psychological wellbeing? Giving not only makes you feel good about yourself, it enhances your connection with others.

It's a work in progress

Managing stress is a constant battle you need to work at and learn to control.

If stress is getting the better of you, try accessing the range of other self-help tools and useful information available from Black Dog Institute.

They offer a range of programs dedicated to helping people of all ages improve their mental wellbeing, such as the nib foundation-funded Headstrong program for high schools, and Mindstrength; a series of free online short courses for parents and young people about how to become mentally stronger through resilience.