5 Ways to Reduce Stressby Katie Teresi
No matter who we are, we’re all going to encounter stress throughout our lifetimes. Work, school, busy schedules…sometimes it seems impossible to escape.
While some stress can be good, being exposed to too much of it for prolonged periods of time can make people turn to unhealthy coping strategies. Withdrawing from friends and family, over- or under-sleeping, and relying on drugs and alcohol are examples of harmful ways to deal with stress. Another common method of managing high stress levels is eating too much or too little – a method that may provide short-term comfort, but can lead to serious long-term effects like eating disorders.
Learning to manage stress in a healthy and positive way can help to avoid negative coping techniques.
Sometimes You Need To Let Go
Certain sources of stress are unavoidable, no matter what you do. Rather than fighting against something you can’t change, try to accept things as they are and let go. This is difficult to do, so in cases like this remember the importance of:
- Staying optimistic and looking for the upside to every situation
- Sharing your feelings with a family member, friend, or therapist
- Learning to forgive and move on
A Healthier Lifestyle Means Healthier Stress Management
A healthy body is a healthy mind. Increase your ability to cope with the stress factors around you by keeping your body strong. Make sure you are:
- Committed to getting regular activity
- Eating a balanced diet
- Avoiding drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol
- Getting enough, but not too much, sleep
Limit the Number of Things That Can Stress You Out
There are some stressors in life that won’t, and can’t, go away. But, there are a surprising amount of them that can be eliminated. Cut down on the things that cause you stress by:
- Learning to say no
- Avoiding people who cause you stress, anxiety, or are negative to be around
- Staying away from topics and situations that get you “fired up”
- Distinguishing between the “should do” and the “must do” items on your to-do list
If You’re Stuck in a Stressful Situation, Alter It
As Charles Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” If you find yourself in a stressful predicament, figure out how you can appropriately respond to the situation to get through it. Then once it’s past you, figure out what can be done to ensure the same situation doesn’t occur again. Although this won’t work for every scenario, many situations can be avoided by:
- Expressing your feelings instead of keeping them inside
- Opening yourself up to compromise
- Being more assertive
- Responsibly managing your time
Take Time to Have Fun
It’s a simple solution, but one that people don’t do enough. Be mindful to not get so wrapped up your daily duties that you forget to give yourself some attention and participate in activities you enjoy – even a half hour a day can make a difference. Do your best to:
- Set aside time to relax
- Connect with friends and family
- Keep a sense of humor
Go ahead and practice some of these ideas when stress starts to creep into your life. And may we suggest you start with #5? Take some time today to engage in an activity that makes you happy!