Simple But Effective Steps to Reduce Stress
|By Elizabeth Gursecki, Staff Writer on Saturday, November 26, 2011|
|Stress is a common aspect of our day-to-day lives and knowing how to handle stress can help prevent it from taking over control of your life.||
If getting your stress to go away was as easing as singing, “stress, stress go away, please come again another day,” then we'd probably all live in a stress-free world. Unfortunately, stress doesn’t go away that easily and nobody wants to sing when they're stressed out. Let’s face it, office work and household chores inevitably pile up, problems mount at home, at work and with the family, and there's never enough time to do all of the things you want to do. Even though this seems a little harsh, it’s a reality that you and everyone on the planet must accept. Stress will always be here. But the wonderful part is that, there are things you can do to manage it and reduce it to maintain your precious sanity. Here are some simple but effective techniques to tone down your stress levels.
Step # 1 -- Identify Sources of Stress
To identify the sources of stress in your life, examine your habits, attitudes and personality. Is stress for you something temporary that would go away over time? Is it something that’s a normal part of your life or personality? Or are you the type who blame stress on other people or events? Starting a stress journal is one way to help you identify your stressors. Every time you start feeling stressed, write it down on your journal. Include information such as cause of stress, your physical and emotional feelings, your response to stress and the things you did to make yourself feel better.
Step # 2 – Avoid Stressors that can be Avoided
There are two types of stressors: those that can be avoided or changed and those that you can’t do anything about. Those that fall into the first category, strive to avoid them as much as you can. You’ll probably be surprised that most of the stressors in your life can actually be eliminated. For one, you have to learn to say no. Most people who have high stress levels accept more work than they can do. Know your limits and don’t go beyond them. It’s also a must to avoid people who stress you out. If this is not possible because you have close relation with that person, the next best thing is to limit the amount of time that you spend with him.
Step # 3 – Change the Situation
For stressors that cannot be avoided but can be changed, alter the situation for the sake of your sanity. It’s a must for you to learn to take control of your environment. For example, if noise drives your anxiety levels up, move to a much quieter neighborhood. If that’s not possible, purchase a good set of ear phones or install noise proofing devices. If work is stressing you out, talk to your boss about your workload. If an amicable agreement cannot be reached, find a better job, one that won’t drive you insane. It’s also very important to manage your time better. When you’ve mastered the art of time management, you’ll see how more relaxed you’ll become.
Step # 4 – Adapt to the Stressor
For those that cannot change their stressors, the last resort is to adapt to it. Seeing your situation in a different light would make it easier for you to do so. For instance, if your boss is constantly at your neck with all those nasty comments and slave driving, take a good look at your paycheck. If it’s a hefty one, then you should be thankful that at least your job pays you well. It’s better than not to have any job at all, right? Always focus on the positive and it will be a cinch for you to accept and adapt to the stressful situation.
Step # 5 – Have Time for Fun and Relaxation
We’ve heard this too many times: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. That’s true. You must set aside some time for fun and relaxation. There are plenty of healthy ways to recharge and these include spending time outdoors, going out for a walk, catching up with old friends, getting a massage, going to a music concert, singing in a karaoke, exercising in the gym, writing in your journal, taking a long bath, working in the garden, goofing around with the kids, reading a good book, listening to soothing music, watching movies and talking to the neighbors. See to it that you always do something you enjoy every day.
Step # 6 – Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Also effective in increasing resistance to stress is improving your physical strength. Make time for daily physical activity. Only 30 minutes of exercise a day three times a week can do wonders in releasing tension and improving your health. Watching your diet is also a must since a well-nourished body can cope with stress a lot better. Stay away from unhealthy foods, drinks and habits. Stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption and don’t take in too much caffeine or sugar. Moreover, be sure to get adequate sleep.
Stress isn’t something that will just vanish magically. But these things will help you cope with it more effectively so that it doesn’t take a toll on either your physical or mental well-being.
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