Ways To Clear Your Mind Of Stress
Being an entrepreneur isnt easy. There are constant ups and downs and often it will feel like everything that could potentially go wrong is exploding in your face. There will be roadblocks, unplanned obstacles, arguments and setbacks that all contribute to one thing — stress, and lots of it.
While you cant avoid stress altogether, simply letting it build up and consume you can lead to a meltdown. A clear mind is a healthy, productive mind. Here are eight ways that you can rid your mind of stress, allowing you to remain focused on crushing any goal you set.
Tips For Managing Chronic Stress
Successful management of chronic stress can vary from person to person what works for you may not for someone else. Here are some stress-busting tips may help you cope with stress:
- Get active. Physical activity can positively affect your mood and reduce stress. Walking is a great way to start, but if you want something more invigorating, try a heart-pumping aerobic activity like jogging, dance, or swimming. Just make sure you check with your doctor first.
- Try tai-chi or other relaxation exercises. Activities like tai-chi, yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises may take you out of your comfort zone, but they can be a worthwhile experience for many people. For example, one study among older individuals published in The Journals of Gerontology found that tai chi helped reduce participants stressful feelings while increasing positive emotions.
- Prioritize your sleep. Getting enough sleep is important for many areas of your health and wellbeing, and its benefits on stress management are no different. When you sleep, your brain unpacks much of the days activities and stressors during the various phases of sleep, including rapid-eye-movement. These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help train your brain to sleep longer and better for optimal health benefits.
- Avoid self-isolation. Surround yourself with a support network of people who care about your wellbeing, and use that network when you need it.
Create Obstacles And Rewards
If you tend to pick up your phone when youre supposed to be working, turn off your phone and put it somewhere out of sight before you get started with the day.
Make sure to reward yourself for your efforts, too. After you get a good chunk of work done, take a break to watch a funny video, catch up with your friends, or swap selfies with your partner.
Thinking in terms of rewards rather than punishments can help you encourage yourself, too.
- Instead of: If I dont work out tonight, I cant watch the next episode of Lucifer.’
- Try: Ill go for a jog after work, and then Ill watch an episode of Lucifer before bed.
If youre a long-time procrastinator, breaking the habit may require a little extra support.
Connecting with a therapist may be a good next step when procrastination:
- affects your performance at school or work
- creates problems in your personal relationships
- leads to feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, or makes existing symptoms worse
A therapist can help you identify and explore possible emotional triggers. They can also provide more insight into any underlying mental health concerns contributing to procrastination.
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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.
Quick Stress Relief At Work
Meetings. During stressful sessions, stay connected to your breath. Massage the tips of your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Sip coffee.
On the phone. Inhale something energizing, like lemon, ginger, peppermint. While talking, stand up or pace back and forth to burn off excess energy, or take calls outside when possible.
On the computer. Work standing up. Do knee-bends in 10-minute intervals. Suck on a peppermint. Sip tea.
Lunch breaks. Take a walk around the block or in the parking lot. Listen to soothing music while eating. Chat with a colleague.
Your workspace. Place family photos on your desk or mementos that remind you of your life outside the office.
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Recognising Your Stress Triggers
If you’re not sure what’s causing your stress, keep a diary and make a note of stressful episodes for two-to-four weeks. Then review it to spot the triggers.
Things you might want to write down include:
- the date, time and place of a stressful episode
- what you were doing
- a stress rating
You can use the diary to:
- work out what triggers your stress
- work out how you operate under pressure
- develop better coping mechanisms
Doctors sometimes recommend keeping a stress diary to help them diagnose stress.
Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.
Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal to join your body and mind.
Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have examined yogas effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety .
However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.
In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.
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How To Manage Stressful People In Your Life
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
Learning to effectively manage stressful people is no easy feat. Too many people suffer from co-workers who make their jobs harder or families and friends who at best may be unaware of their negative impact, or at worst derive some satisfaction from it. Of the many negative feelings that can arise from dealing with difficult people, most will eventually boil down to emotional stress, which is the killer. Stress has been the subject of many a study in research dedicated to health and wellness and it has been shown to have a lasting impact on your mental state and physical health.
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We all have different triggers that leads to stress, as well as different reactions to that stress. Some of us get anxious, others shut down, and many get angry. Certainly these three reactions are only a mere drop in the ocean of reactions that people have to stress. There are people who get so worked up over stressful events or feelings that they make themselves physically ill.
The thing is, it doesn’t have to like that. Changing your personal reaction to stress is easy to say, but not as easy to do .
However, when you feel like you’re going to succumb to stress , here are 14 tricks that you can begin to practice and use to calm yourself down in just five minutes.
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Why Is Stress Bad For Us
We need the bodys stress response to get us through tough times. When you sense a threat or danger, your body rises to the challenge by releasing stress hormones, tightening your muscles, making your blood pressure rise and your heart and lungs work harder, and releasing a surge of fat and sugar to give you energy. When danger subsides, your body goes back to normal operations.
If you get stressed out frequently, however, the stress response can become constant and cause ongoing harm, including chronic inflammation the persistent activation of the immune system, which sharply raises the risks for many diseases such as dementia, heart disease, and stroke.
Appetite Changes And Weight Gain
Changes in appetite are common during times of stress.
When you feel stressed out, you may find yourself with no appetite at all or overeating without noticing.
One small 2006 study of 272 female college students found that 81 percent reported that they experienced changes in appetite when they were stressed out, with 62 percent stating they had an increase in appetite .
Changes in appetite may also cause fluctuations in weight during stressful periods. For example, a study involving 1,355 people in the United States found that stress was associated with weight gain in adults already living with extra weight .
A third study from 2017 found that individuals with higher cortisol and insulin levels and higher levels of chronic stress were more likely to gain weight in the future . However, the study was limited in the scope of research in that participants were predominantly white females.
While these studies show an association between stress and changes in appetite or weight, more studies are needed to understand other possible factors are involved and how stress impacts different people.
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Change What You Drink
What you drink can have both a positive and negative effect on you. And sometimes its more about how much of something you drink.
For example, moderate caffeine intake increases attention and cognitive function. Its even associated with mood elevation. But high doses of caffeine can induce and exacerbate anxiety.
And unfortunately, I need to burst the bubble around alcohol. Its time to STOP using it as your go-to form coping mechanism for stress and anxiety. Im not saying that you cant drink, just that its not a healthy way to de-stress. Abstinence from alcohol is actually associated with a lower risk of depression and anxiety.
Luckily, you can naturally reduce stress and anxiety by drinking certain types of decaffeinated teas. For example:
Smile Like You Mean It
Dont roll your eyes the next time someone advises you to grin and bear it. In times of tension, keeping a smile on your face especially a genuine smile thats formed by the muscles around your eyes as well as your mouth reduces your bodys stress responses, even if you dont feel happy. Smiling also helps lower heart rates faster once your stressful situation ends.
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Unplug From Technology And Go For A Walk Or Hike
Unplug from technology and venture out into nature — a beach, park or hiking trail provides a great setting to forget the stressful situations for a minute and get lost. Connecting with nature reminds you that we, along with the things that cause us to stress out, are just small pieces of a much bigger picture.
If you have some additional ways to relieve stress make sure you share them in the comments section below. Also, if youre an entrepreneur make sure to visit EBOC and get on the pre-launch list.
Tips To Manage Stress
In todays society, stress and change often are thought of as the same thing. Stress is a physiological and psychological response to situations the body and mind find to be overwhelming. We often ask ourselves how we should manage stress. There are many ways people manage stress and reduce the overall stress of day-to-day activities. With the fast pace of work and home, and being constantly inundated with technology and still wanting to have time to connect with those around us, our lives can feel overwhelming and stressful at times.
Manage how you live with these five tips to feel less stressed:
1. Use guided meditation.
Guided meditation is a great way to distract yourself from the stress of day-to-day life. There are many guided meditations available on the internet that can help you find 5 minutes of centered relaxation.
2. Practice deep breathing.
Deep breathing is a great way to reduce the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, which controls the bodys response to a perceived threat. Deep breaths taken in to a count of five seconds, held for two seconds and released to a count of five seconds, can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps reduce the overall stress and anxiety you may be experiencing.
3. Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition.
4. Manage social media time.
5. Connect with others.
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Procrastination As A Contributing Factor
Heres the thing about procrastination: The negative emotions you associate with a given task dont go away when you avoid that task. They feed on themselves and grow, rapidly.
Say you put off creating a work presentation. You want to impress your boss, but youre worried about meeting their high standards.
Of course, the more you delay, the less time you have to do the work. As the deadline approaches, you dont just doubt your ability to create a successful presentation. You also feel overwhelmed about the amount of work involved, and youre stressed at the thought of not getting it done in time.
You know youve created a sticky situation for yourself, but you care more about the peace of mind that avoiding the project provides. Its this fleeting peace that generally reinforces the procrastination loop.
Ask yourself: Do you actually feel calm? Probably not. Youve likely noticed an undercurrent of anxiety rippling through your waking thoughts.
And therein lies the rub. Procrastination creates a cycle thats difficult to escape, because the temporary reward of putting something off reinforces your desire to do it again even though it creates more problems.
A procrastination habit can eventually complicate the emotional concerns that triggered it in the first place.
Over time, procrastination and the loop it tends to create can lead to:
These strategies can help you break the procrastination cycle even when its an ingrained habit.
Take Action: Get Active
Regular physical activity can help prevent and manage stress. It can also help relax your muscles and improve your mood. So get active:
- Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity try going for a bike ride or taking a walk
- Do strengthening activities like push-ups or lifting weights at least 2 days a week
Remember, any amount of physical activity is better than none!
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Don’t Get On Their Emotional Bus
Stressful people will try to take you on an emotional ride with them. They get angry, you get angry, and yelling happens. They get sad, you get sad, and everybody’s sad. Don’t get on their emotional bus. Listen, talk, and communicate, but don’t let them control you by triggering unnecessary negative emotions.
Give Someone A Hug Or Kiss
Hugs have been known to release oxytocin, which is a hormone that can lead to relaxation, trust, and compassion. Kissing, on the other hand, helps the brain to release endorphins.
“Kissing relieves stress by creating a sense of connectedness, which releases endorphins, the chemicals that counteract stress and depression,” says Laura Berman, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and ob-gyn at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
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.