Stress Management Tips: 10 Ways to Manage Stress
What Causes Stress?
Stress, or an abnormal feeling of pressure, is usually caused by aspects of your daily life. An uncertain transitional period at work or in your personal life, an increased workload or level of responsibility, financial worries or friction with the people important to you can all cause stress. Stress compounds, too, so figuring out how to relieve stress in your life could mean the difference between moving beyond it or allowing it to hold you back. Stress management tips can help you figure out how to reduce stress or avoid it to the best of your ability.
10 Ways to Manage Stress
Actions that seem especially overindulgent can lead to guilt and have the opposite desired effect, so start by focusing on the basics of food, sleep and exercise.
Allow yourself enough time to get a restful night’s sleep and start the day of sound body and mind. Factors like a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine or alcohol close to your bedtime, eliminating screen time an hour before bed and utilizing relaxation methods like meditation before lying down to sleep. Additionally, the right equipment—like a comfortable, supportive mattress—will help make the quest for a restful night a successful one.
Don’t just eat on the go, take time to prepare or seek out meals that make you feel good and are good for you. A balanced diet is best and will contribute to overall health while possibly assisting with mood control. What does a balanced diet look like? Whole grains, fruit, vegetables and lean protein. Skipping meals, on the other hand, is unhealthy—it can induce a bad mood and deprive you of the energy you need to seize the day.
When it comes to exercise, building up to and maintaining an effective fitness regimen can do wonders for your physical health. However, exercise is one of the most effective stress relievers because it has a direct impact on so many different factors that reduce stress. Finishing an exercise routine can provide a healthy respite from other demands on your time, imbue you with a sense of accomplishment and help you feel more confident. On the physiological side, exercising triggers the nervous system’s pituitary gland to release endorphins, which help you feel good—endorphins are the cause of the post-exercise feeling known as a runner’s high.
Reduce Fight or Flight Situations
Humanity has evolved to achieve great things, but some early animalistic tendencies can still be glimpsed if you know where to look. One of those leftover aspects of a life long left behind is our fight or flight response, but nowadays, it isn’t triggered by large predators looking to make us their next meal.
Instead, fight or flight can kick in when navigating things like finances or difficult relationships—subjects that may have long term impacts on your life, despite lacking teeth or claws. When this state is induced, it releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream, raising blood pressure. Avoiding these situations can help reduce stress in your life and may do a lot to address chronic stress, but if you absolutely need to face the music, knowing when to walk away and employ relaxation techniques can help alleviate the fight or flight response.
When you’re stressed, time may seem like it’s in short supply. However, finding the time to do something for yourself may be the right remedy for you and your troubles. Participating in a hobby that brings you joy can cause a stress reduction of up to 50%. Additionally, taking part in a beloved hobby can lower your heart rate.
It can be hard to take time for yourself when you feel like you don’t have enough time to tend to your responsibilities—doing so may inspire guilt for procrastinating or anger for not utilizing time differently. If your stress is rendering you unable to complete tasks to the best of your ability, it may be best to walk away for awhile and occupy your mind with other things.
Productive hobbies like writing, making music, creating art or tending to plants are great and can help lower your stress level while producing a product or honing a skill. However, hobbies like reading a book, playing a video game, watching a television show or movie, and listening to music offer their own new experiences and can serve the purpose of stress relief just as well.
Techniques for Relaxation
Stress has pressured your fellow human beings for generations, and they’ve developed a number of different techniques to help manage it.
Yoga is a sort of exercise and meditation hybrid, allowing practitioners to access the benefits of both through the discipline’s emphasis on methodical movement and deep breaths. Meditation sans yoga requires you to find a quiet spot, get comfortable, focus on something and let your mind wander. Meditation has been practiced for over 5,000 years and, in addition to lowering stress, it can also relieve anxiety and improve mood.
Quality Time With Your Pet
Spending time with your furry friend—or feathery, or scaly—can drastically lower levels of anxiety and help with depression. When a pet chooses to provide you with its companionship and affection, it can sometimes mimic the feeling that another great stress remedy—forming human relationships—can provide. Additionally, different pets require different levels of care. Depending on the companion, added benefits include those similar to a hobby.
Learn to Log Off
It can be considered responsible to remain informed on newsworthy events, but there’s a lot of upsetting information in today’s headlines and, thanks to increased interconnectivity, the news cycle that delivers those stories churns them out faster than ever. Since social media has become the de facto way to deliver information quickly to a large group of people, limiting your time on those platforms can have a positive impact on your stress levels by reducing intrusive negative thoughts. Avoiding the latest news may put you out of the loop for a while, but it’ll also give you a break from the nearly constant stream of information.
As an added bonus, logging off for a while can also help you avoid other kinds of content that may cause stress to manifest from feelings like the fear of missing out or the tendency to compare yourself to your peers.
Manage Your Time Well
Time can be a powerful stressor, but if you organize and prioritize tasks, some of the power time holds over your stress levels could be reclaimed for yourself. Along with prioritizing tasks, try to not stretch yourself too thin when offering help to others.
Prevent Stress from Work
Individual management of stress in the workplace includes not working through your lunch break, going home on time, maintaining open yet professional communications with coworkers, leaving work at the office, and taking holiday leave. High intensity positions may seem like they’re impossible to take time away from, but stress can easily lead to burnout, which could cause you to lose more productive hours than just taking the allotted time off and returning recharged.
Temper the Inner Voice
Avoiding sources of stress and better equipping yourself with the tools to manage it is a great start, but we’re our harshest critics.
If you find yourself grappling with your inner voice, try consciously replacing those negative thoughts for positive sentiments. This can become routine if you continue it, and besides a consistently optimistic outlook, having a chat with your inner voice and changing its tune can also contribute to a longer life with better odds against the common cold and cardiovascular disease. Not to mention, you’ll give in to stress or sadness less easily when bad things happen.
When you’re laughing, you’re breathing in more oxygen and your vital organs release hormones that make you feel good. Laughter can also have long-term improvements on the mood, as well as short-term benefits like pain reduction and immune system improvement.
The Importance of Managing Stress
How does stress affect the body? Reactions to stress depend on the person who’s experiencing it, but they range from headaches and skin rashes to substance abuse and worsening mental health conditions. Figuring out how you respond to different stressors and stress management techniques is important. Utilizing those techniques when reoccurring stressors appear can help you save patience for important, unforeseen moments, or get through the days with more energy and less things weighing you down. Stress can take the wheel if you let it, but you don’t have to resign yourself to the passenger seat.
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