Highly Effective Tips For Relieving Stress
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to stress relief, however. What works for one person might not work for another.
And what works for you at home might not be an option when you’re at work or in the community .
So it’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools at your disposal. Then, you’ll be able to pick a strategy that works best for your current circumstances.
Stop Overloading Your Schedule
When we are too busy, even if the schedule is filled with exciting things, we can feel more stressed, simply from a lack of downtime. If the schedule is cluttered with stressful or unnecessary activities, it becomes even more draining. Learning to say no to demands on your time and cutting out the things in your life that stress you are great strategies for cultivating inner peace.
The Importance Of Managing Stress
If youre living with high levels of stress, youre putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like theres nothing you can do about stress. The bills wont stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.
Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and funand the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. Thats why its important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.
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Identify Your Personal Stress Triggers
We all have particular situations or people that make us more stressed. Some of these are easily identifiable and may be avoidable. However, sometimes stress may build up over time, and result from a pattern of incidents or events, rather than a single trigger.
This will make it easier to take action to address your stress levels.
Causes Of Emotional Stress
Healthy relationships can bring good times, but also resources in times of need, added resilience in times of stress, and even increased longevity. However, conflicted relationships and ‘frenemies’ can make us worse off in our emotional lives, and can even take a toll physically.
Relationships aren’t the only cause of emotional stress, however. Financial crises, an unpleasant work environment, or a host of other stressors can cause emotional stress, which sometimes tempts us toward unhealthy coping behaviors in order to escape the pain, especially when the situations seem hopeless.
Perhaps one of the more challenging aspects of coping with emotional stress is the feeling of being unable to change the situation. If we can’t change our stress levels by eliminating the stressful situation, we can work on our emotional response to it.
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Ways To Cope With Emotional Stress
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
Emotional stress can be particularly painful and be challenging to deal with. It can take more of a toll that many other forms of stress. Part of the reason is that thinking about a solution, or discussing solutions with a good friendcoping behaviors that are often useful and effective in solving problemscan easily deteriorate into rumination and co-rumination, which are not so useful and effective.
In fact, rumination can exacerbate your stress levels, so it helps to have healthy strategies for coping with emotional stress as well as redirecting yourself away from rumination and avoidance coping and more toward emotionally proactive approaches to stress management.
Build In Time To Relax And Have Fun
Many people do not include relaxation or fun time in their schedules, but both are extremely important for reducing stress.
Conscious relaxation is important for your body and mind and can help you deal with the negatives of stress. A very wide range of relaxation techniques have been developed, although many can be seen as variations on a number of basic methods. They tend to focus on either the physical feelings of tension or using mental imagery to induce calm.
Perhaps the most powerful method of relaxation is mindfulness. At its simplest, mindfulness is focusing on the current moment, the here and now and allowing, through a type of meditation, worries about the future or regrets about the past to melt away. However, it is also a very good technique to use to reduce stress, and you may like to read our guest post on managing stress with mindfulness to learn more.
It can also be helpful to plan time into your schedule to do something that you enjoy. If this is physical exercise, it may even tick two boxes!
Looking forward to the times when you can do something that gives you pleasure will help when you have to cope with less pleasant aspects of life. You may need to do some work on your time management to help you make more time , but it will be well worth it.
See our page Work-Life Balance for more about how to balance your work commitments with home life.
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Tip : Connect To Others
There is nothing more calming than spending quality time with another human being who makes you feel safe and understood. In fact, face-to-face interaction triggers a cascade of hormones that counteracts the bodys defensive fight-or-flight response. Its natures natural stress reliever . So make it a point to connect regularlyand in personwith family and friends.
Keep in mind that the people you talk to dont have to be able to fix your stress. They simply need to be good listeners. And try not to let worries about looking weak or being a burden keep you from opening up. The people who care about you will be flattered by your trust. It will only strengthen your bond.
Of course, its not always realistic to have a pal close by to lean on when you feel overwhelmed by stress, but by building and maintaining a network of close friends you can improve your resiliency to lifes stressors.
Tips for building relationships
Focus On Just Two To Three Stressors At A Time
You cannot deal with everything or everyone in your life that makes you feel stressed. Instead, focus on just two or three main stressors at a time.
If you use a stress diary, or a tool like our quiz Whats Stressing You Out?, it is easy to identify the most common and/or most stressful situations in your life. You can then start to work out what you can do to resolve them.
Once you have sorted your top stressors, you can then move onto lesser stressors.
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What Are The Behavioural And Emotional Effects Of Stress
When you are stressed you may experience many different feelings, including anxiety, irritability or low self-esteem, which can lead to becoming withdrawn, indecisive and tearful.13
You may experience periods of constant worry, racing thoughts, or repeatedly go over the same things in your head. You may experience changes in your behaviour. You may lose your temper more easily, act irrationally or become more verbally or physically aggressive.14 These feelings can feed on each other and produce physical symptoms, which can make you feel even worse. For example, extreme anxiety can make you feel so unwell, that you then worry you have a serious physical condition.
Develop Techniques That Will Help You To Feel In Control Of Your Life
There is plenty of research that suggests that the single factor that causes most stress is feeling out of control.
One way that you can help yourself to avoid stress is to develop techniques to help you solve problems and make decisions more easily.
For example, one problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
There is more about this and other techniques in our series of pages on Problem-Solving and Decision-Making.
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What Can Prolonged Stress Lead To
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36 or mental health problems such as depression.3 This means it is important to manage your stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to your body and mind.
How To Set Yourself Up To Deal With Stress
Regular self-care practices and behavior modifications can help keep stress from overwhelming you and scale your stress response in proportion to the stressor.
Its important to understand that when it comes to stress and its impact on health, you may want to think about trying longer-term strategies and changes in lifestyle, says Michelle Dossett, MD, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an assistant physician and clinical researcher at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
A healthy lifestyle eating well, getting high-quality sleep, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly can buffer you against the wear and tear of stress, says Holly Schiff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist with Jewish Family Services of Greenwich in Greenwich, Connecticut. These steps don’t eliminate the challenge. But they will ensure your strongest, calmest, most rational self shows up to meet whatever obstacle youre facing.
BMC Medical EducationFrontiers in Physiology
As far as exercise goes, just make sure its something you enjoy. Exercise doesnt have to be intense, and you dont have to join a gym, Dr. Haythe says. I tell my patients to buy a pair of sneakers and start walking for 15 to 20 minutes a day.
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Helpful Organisations For Money Worries
It is important if you are worried about your finances and debts that you do not try to deal with them alone. There is a lot of help and support available to you through organisations such as Step Change and Citizens Advice.
You should also talk to your GP or a trusted health professional if you are worried about how debt is affecting your mental and physical health.
Build In Time To Stop & Relax
I often hear my clients say Come on, how on earth will I be able to make time for myself when I have so much to do? and I always reply, if you dont look after yourself you wont have the reserves to take care of all the other people in your life you take care of. When our reserves are low were cranky, overly sensitive and generally not as happy as we want to be. So please take some time each day, even if it only 10 minutes, to relax.
- Have a warm bath as this will help your body reach a temperature thats ideal for rest.
- Writing to do lists for the next day can organize your thoughts and clear your mind of any worrying thoughts that pop in to your head
- Relaxation exercises, such as light yoga stretches, help to relax the muscles. Dont exercise vigorously though, as it will have the opposite effect.
- Relaxation CDs can help as they use a hypnotic voice to guide you through muscle relaxation and soothing music and sound effects to relax your brain.
- Watching TV or any computer or phone screen keeps the brain engaged and active so it is harder to fall asleep. It is better to read a book or listen to the radio as that relaxes the mind by distracting it from the present worries.
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Keep Perfectionism In Check
Being a high achiever might make you feel good about yourself and help you excel at work, but being a perfectionist can create problems for you .
You might not be able to do everything perfectly, every timeespecially in a busy, fast-paced job. A good strategy to avoid the perfectionism trap is always striving to just do your best and making time to congratulate yourself on your efforts. You may find that your results are better and youll be much less stressed at work.
Be More Realistic About Your Capabilities
It is helpful to remember that most people underestimate how long it will take to do something, and overestimate how much they can do. This means that they end up taking on too much, and then failing to deliver.
Develop the simple habit of doubling your time estimates for any task.
You are then far more likely to under-promise and over-deliver. This will make everyoneincluding youmuch happier than the other way round .
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Tips To Manage Stressful Situations
It might surprise you to learn that biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasnt until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress.
Symptoms of stress existed long before Selye, but his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions cope with stress. Weve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.
Can Stress Be Positive
Research has shown that stress can sometimes be positive. It can make you more alert and help you perform better in certain situations.2 However, stress has only been found to be beneficial if it is short-lived.
Excessive or prolonged stress can contribute to illness such as heart disease3 and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.4
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Take The Team Out On Company Offsites
If you really want to give your employees a break, take them somewhere fun to get their minds off workplace stress and bond with each other. The possibilities are endless: you could go to a vineyard, grab a drink together at the local pub, check out a baseball game, or have a picnic in the park.
The activity you choose isnt important. Whats more important is the spirit of getting out to do something fun together, to take away from the day-to-day stress at work. Not only will it help reduce workplace stress, it will also help your employees build personal connections and work better together as a team.
Stay Away From Conflict
Interpersonal conflict takes a toll on your physical and emotional health. Conflict among co-workers can be difficult to escape, so its a good idea to avoid conflict at work as much as you can.
Dont gossip, dont share too many of your personal opinions about religion and politics, and steer clear of “colorful” office humor.
When possible, try to avoid people who dont work well with others. If conflict finds you anyway, make sure you know how to handle it appropriately.
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How To Avoid Stress
This article was co-authored by Chloe Carmichael, PhD. Chloe Carmichael, PhD is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who runs a private practice in New York City. With over a decade of psychological consulting experience, Dr. Chloe specializes in relationship issues, stress management, self esteem, and career coaching. She has also instructed undergraduate courses at Long Island University and has served as adjunct faculty at the City University of New York. Dr. Chloe completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York and her clinical training at Lenox Hill Hospital and Kings County Hospital. She is accredited by the American Psychological Association and is the author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety and Dr. Chloe’s 10 Commandments of Dating.There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 55,298 times.
Sometimes stress seems like something we just have to accept. In order to get ahead in this day and age, you’ve gotta be running, running, running. Unfortunately, it’s not good for our health — mentally and physically. Take the following steps to manage your stress and get more out of your day.
Simple Tools For Creating A Technique To Reduce Mental Stress
Apply one of the greatest mental energies as tools to any of the above stress relieving activities to create your own individual technique:
When you evoke the emotion of gratitude to any of your activities, you switch your mental state from stressful to peaceful . When you consciously acknowledge gratitude toward the present, you send information to your brain that immediately soothes your central nervous system, producing positive hormones like serotonin and dopamine. These hormones reduce your mental stress and create a good feeling, a feeling of reward for having reached a goal.
Also, try to be grateful for the stressors that challenge your efficiency and signal an opportunity to improve.
Support this activity though rhythmic, conscious breathing and intensify your gratefulness and the feeling of that reward. Use your conscious breathing to create a breathing pattern that will identify the moment as one in which youve created safety, peace, and self-respect within yourself.
Use these two tools to approach the seven activities listed above or any other activities you find as stress relieving, and practice integrating them in ways that work for you.
Once you merge the tools with the activities, youll be able to create your personal technique to reduce your mental stress quickly and naturally and apply it in literally any activity.
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