Manage Your Stress
Over time, chronic stress can lead to a host of health problems, which is why it is so important to learn how to cope with stress. There are many things you can do to help reduce stress in your daily life, which is why we’ve listed some tried and true ways of helping your body and mind cope with stress. If you can incorporate these techniques into your life, you’ll be doing yourself – and your loved ones – a huge favor by greatly improving your chances of living a longer, healthier life.
Identify Sources of Stress: Pinpointing the causes of stress in your life is the first step in getting in control of your stress. And while you may never be able to totally eliminate sources of stress in your life, knowing what sets you off will help prepare you for what’s to come. Also keep your goals realistic – expecting too much from yourself is a sure-fire way to get overwhelmed by stress.
- hot baths
- getting enough sleep
- eating healthy meals (especially breakfast)
- reducing caffeine, alcohol intake
- reading a good book
- receiving a hug from a loved one
- taking a walk
Balance Your Time: Stress is often caused by our own inability to balance our daily routines. Most of us spend too much time working or too much time caring for others. Achieving balance in our daily life is one of the most important (and most difficult) ways of reducing stress. A good way to do this is to plan, plan, plan. Organization is the key to balancing out your life, so be sure to draw up a schedule that includes time for exercise, eating a healthy diet, meditating and spending time with loved ones. Similarly, try to avoid people or situations you find draining. And don’t forget to keep a good sense of humor. Sometimes laughter really is the best therapy when it comes to beating stress.
Delegate: If you’ve taken on more than you can handle, don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate your tasks out to others. For some people, it can be difficult to allow others to help them out – especially for perfectionists. However, try to see the bigger picture: is that report really worth the risk of impairing your health?
Build a Support Network: In times of stress, we need people who can rally around us. That is why it is so important to maintain close relationships with the people you love. This can be difficult when our schedules are already packed with work and other responsibilities, but it is vital for our overall mental health. That is because being around our loves ones can help us keep in touch with our true selves and help give meaning to our lives. On the other hand, being around people who are negative or judgmental only adds stress to our lives – so be sure to seek out only positive influences.
Be Honest: Being open and honest with yourself and others is another great way to prevent stress from controlling your life. Too often we bottle up our emotions and manifest them through passive aggressive behavior or angry outbursts, both of which are unhealthy for our bodies and our relationships with others.
Take Care of Yourself: This may sound obvious, but proper self-care is actually very rare in our Western world. And while massage therapy, a day at the spa or a tropic vacation are all great ways to relax, real stress relief doesn’t require a big budget or a lot of time. You don't have to go to a naturists massage spa or spend three nights away at a spa retreat. In fact, dealing with stress is all about the little things, such as:
Take Time Out: Even if it’s just for a few moments, be sure to take some time out of your work day to relax your mind. Try looking out a window or stretching. Also, include time for reading, listening to music, talking to friends, and exercise. And at least once a week make sure you are doing something you enjoy, such as volunteering, meditating, socializing or attending your local house of worship.
Keep a Journal: To help yourself keep in touch with your feelings, it’s a great idea to write them down. Putting our thoughts into words can help us gain perspective on their importance. It will also help you focus your thoughts on more positive things. In particular, try to identify stressful situations and people as well as how you deal with them.
You should, however, seek professional help if you are:
- feeling overwhelmed
- feeling desperate or suicidal
- feeling depressed or indifferent
- overeating/loss of appetite or abusing alcohol or drugs
- having trouble sleeping
- worried about expressing yourself
Another great way to help manage your stress is to create a relaxing home environment. Considering creating positive energy in and around your home with feng shui decor.