Health & wellbeing

5 new tricks to help you feel de-stressed and happier

Try these ideas to help ease anxiety…

Opt for origami
Forget coloured pencils – origami is the new crafty way to de-stress. The Japanese paper-folding technique is a creative way to access your inner serenity – and it’s perfect for the artistic and, well, not so artistic, too. Ready, steady, fold! Pick up a pack of Aitoh origami sheets, from £3.50, at Hobbycraft (hobbycraft.co.uk)

Pack up your troubles
It’s 3am and you’ve woken up in a blind panic about something – again. It leaves you stressed, tired and run-down. But there’s hope for us chronic worriers: a Dutch study has shown that ‘compartmentalising’ can help. Take half an hour a day to list your problems and create solutions – then put it all aside. And relax! Tip: Use your phone to set an alarm for your ‘worry slot’ so you always make the time to do it!

Try the 4-7-8 sleep trick
Too stressed to sleep? A breathing technique, dubbed the ‘4-7-8’, might help. Creator, Dr Andrew Weil, calls it a natural tranquilliser for the nervous system. Place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth and exhale through your mouth making a ‘whoosh’ sound. Inhale through your nose for a count of four, then hold your breath for seven seconds, then exhale again to the count of eight. Repeat up to four times. Dr Weil’s app, Breathing – Andrew Weil, is available from iTunes for £9.99.

Take a 2-minute mini break
Stress is part of modern life, right? Wrong! Don’t wait until you’re on a plane for that holiday feeling. Follow the advice of psychologist Dr Margaret Wehrenberg, author of The 10 Best Anxiety Busters (£8.99, amazon.co.uk) and take a two-minute break every 90 minutes. You’ll feel happier and calmer by simply sitting in a quiet spot with a cup of tea, or closing your eyes and imagining a place you love.

De-stress with nature
When you do get a chance to put your feet up, use nature sounds to relax – the noise of a flowing river can help zap stress and sharpen your focus, according to a study. We love the (free!) Relaxing Sounds app available on iTunes and Android.