Are You Looking For Simple Steps You Can Take To Relieve Stress
The Washington Post reports that 54 percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives…Managing stress is a key to good health, it is a key to enjoying life. If stress is a problem then the tips below will help.
How to Avoid Stress
- You cannot avoid all stress in your life, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed, but you will be surprised by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate. Write them down and apply some simple rules.
- Learn how to say “no”, and know your limit; more importantly stick to your decisions. This is true for both your personal or professional life; refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching your limit. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.
- Avoid people who stress you. If someone consistently causes stress there is a solution: limit the amount of time you spend with that person, or end the relationship entirely.
- Take control of your environment. If the evening news makes you anxious, limit the time you spend in front of the news or eliminate it, you can find sources with less pointed views. If traffic raises your stress level then take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online…take control of your environment.
- Avoid subjects that create stress. If your hot-button is religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up, or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
- Pare down your to-do list. Stop and analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the things you want to do and the things you must do. Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely. Make a list and prioritize, that will help you reduce your to-do list.
- If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, then try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.
- Find an acceptable way to express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same. A support network is really helpful in this situation.
- If you are asking someone to change, be willing to do the same; the term for this is compromise. If you willing to bend at least a little and you get others to do the same, you’ll have a much better chance of finding a happy middle ground.
- Be more assertive; don’t take a backseat in your own life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them. If you’ve got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, say up front that you only have five minutes to talk.
- Time Manage is a real important life skill. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. If you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you can alter your stress level.
- If you can’t change the behavior of the person who stresses you, you change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.
- Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fussy about horrible traffic, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time with your thoughts.
- Look at the big picture. Ask yourself how important this will be in the long run; will it really matter in a month, or a year? If the answer is no is it really be worth getting upset over? Find a new focus that time and energy.
- Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.” This is especially true if that is what is really required.
- Focus on the positive, keep things in perspective. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, this should definitely include your own special qualities and gifts.
Change Your Attitude
- Your thoughts can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. If you see good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel good; the reverse is also true. Eliminate words such as “can’t”, “always,” “never,” “should,” and “must.” These are self-defeating thoughts.
Accept the Things You Can’t Change
- Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance isn’t always easy, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against something you can’t change.
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. This is particularly true of the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react.
- Try to find the positive in a situation. When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them, learn from your mistakes, and move on, don’t make the same decisions in the future.
- Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend, or make an appointment with a therapist (there are a lot of choices in this area). Expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.
- Learn to forgive, yes, learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes, sometimes really large mistakes. Let go of the anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.
Relax & Have Fun
- Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by doing things for “you”. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stresses when they inevitably come.
- Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs.
- Schedule time in your schedule to just relax. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
- Connect with others; especially people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.
- Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.
- A good sense of humor is a real key to reducing stress. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways. When is the last time you really laughed?
Some Healthy Habits To Consider
- You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health; exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
- Eat a healthy diet. This prepares you to cope with stress, be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day. Snacks you include fruits, nuts, and seeds
- Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary “highs” caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll also sleep better.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Don’t avoid issues; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.
- Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally. If your body needs 8 hours to function then you need to include 8 hours of sleep in your daily activities.
Mayo Clinic – Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress
About.com – Stress Relievers: 25 Ways to Reduce Stress
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