By Tasnim Nazeer
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Stress is described as a response to any demand whereby the body has to readjust itself. Stress can often bring about feelings of anxiety and has even been found to affect a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. It is, therefore, beneficial to find ways to manage this emotion effectively so that a person can feel calmer and happier. Islam provides us with many ways to relieve stress and coupled with healthy lifestyle tips, you can reduce stress levels considerably.
Here are five of my top tips for lowering stress levels:
Exercise is a key way of lowering stress as it enables you to stay healthy, improve concentration, and reduce tiredness. If you don’t have much time for a workout, you can always do exercises at home, such as walking up and down the stairs or running in your garden or around the house. You may want to go for a walk around the block, or make simple changes in your life such as taking the stairs rather then lifts when you’re out and about. Exercise produces endorphins that have a chemical reaction to make you feel positive and happier.
2. Support from Family and Friends
If you feel that stress is overwhelming you, you may benefit from seeking support from family and friends and spending time with your loved ones. This happiness can help to lower your stress levels and divert your mind away from your worries. If you need a hand with the kids, you could ask a family member to babysit while you rest, or if you need help getting some work done you can ask a friend for a helping hand. Likewise, if you know someone who is stressed out, offer to help out.
3. Healthy Eating
Eating sensibly can help reduce stress levels. Many people do not realize that certain foods – containing caffeine, soda, and sugar – actually increase stress. You do not have to cut these foods or drinks completely out of the diet, but do ensure that you have a balanced diet and eat well. Excessive eating makes you feel more lethargic, worn-out, and stressed. Allah says in the Qur’an: “O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” [Qur’an 7:31] Eat nourishing foods such as green vegetables, fruits, and iron-rich foods. Be sure to take plenty of foods that boost energy.
Sleep is necessary for our body to refresh and function properly. If we are losing sleep or not getting the right amount of it, our stress levels will increase, and it will leave us feeling irritable, anxious, and fatigued. It is important to sleep for around 8 hours at night. If this is not possible, you should catch up through power naps. The Messenger of Allah (sa) emphasized the importance of sleep when he said: “When you get up at night (to pray) and falter in reciting the Qur’an (due to sleep) and do not understand what you are uttering, you should sleep.” (Abu Dawud; sound)
5. Time Management
Many people suffer from stress because they are unable to manage their time properly and feel that the hours in the day are not enough to complete their tasks. The best thing is to sleep early at night and start your day at fajr. It will help you start your day positively. Before going to sleep, plan for the following day. Make a list of important and urgent tasks that need completion. Avoid procrastination, and don’t waste time especially on social media. The Prophet (sa) said, “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari)
Tasnim Nazeer is an award winning Freelance Journalist/Writer and Author who has written for a variety of print and online publications including CNN International, The Muslim News, Your Middle East, Islam Channel and many more. She was awarded The Muslim News Award for Excellence in Media 2013 and is an UN Universal Peace Federation Ambassador for Peace. For more information visit her website at www.tasnimnazeer.com or follow her on Twitter: @tasnimnazeer1
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© IIPH 2015