Five Ways To Reduce Stress
- Take time away. If the stress at work increases, try to take a short break and get away from the stressful situation. If possible, take a walk outside the workplace or spend a few minutes meditating in the break room. Physical exercise or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly relieve stress.
- Talk it over with someone. In some situations, it can help relieve stress by simply sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. Talking about a problem with someone who is both supportive and empathetic can be a great way to let off steam and relieve stress.
- Connect with others in the workplace. Developing friendships with some of your colleagues can help you protect yourself from the negative effects of stress. Remember to listen to them and offer support when they are also in need.
- Look for humor in this situation. If used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress at work. If you or those around you start to take things too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or a funny story.
Look At Your Lifestyle
The choices you make about the way you live affect your stress level. Your lifestyle may not cause stress on its own, but it can prevent your body from recovering from it. Try to:
- Find a balance between personal, work, and family needs. This isn’t easy. Start by looking at how you spend your time. Maybe there are things that you don’t need to do at all. Finding a balance can be especially hard during the holidays.
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Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
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Ensure You Continue To Exercise Regularly
Similar to dieting, exercise plays a huge part in your overall wellbeing. Along with boosting your immune system, getting fit and looking great, exercising is scientifically proven to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and release endorphins that make you feel happier.
Even just one run, walk or swim can make a world of difference to your stress levels. Thinking about when you last did some exercise, how did you feel afterwards? Pretty good I bet! Make sure you get out there and continue to do it when youre going through stressful periods.
I have been very busy myself recently and actually put off going to the gym for a few months. I started to feel yucky about myself and I also noticed my stress levels were increasing due to increased workload and lack of exercise. I found it hard, but I forced myself to make time for exercise in my busy schedule and boy did it make a huge difference! Not only did it help in managing my stress but it also helped in my overall confidence levels and personal wellbeing.
Exercise is proven to be one of the most effective means of managing stress. If youre going to start somewhere, perhaps spending 20-40minutes now getting out there and doing some exercise might just be the right place.
How Can You Avoid Stress
Stress is a fact of life for most people. You may not be able to get rid of stress, but you can look for ways to lower it.
You might try some of these ideas:
- Learn better ways to manage your time. You may get more done with less stress if you make a schedule. Think about which things are most important, and do those first.
- Find better ways to cope. Look at how you have been dealing with stress. Be honest about what works and what does not. Think about other things that might work better.
- Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat well. Don’t smoke. Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Try out new ways of thinking. When you find yourself starting to worry, try to stop the thoughts. Or write down your worries and work on letting go of things you cannot change. Learn to say “no.”
- Speak up. Not being able to talk about your needs and concerns creates stress and can make negative feelings worse. Assertive communication can help you express how you feel in a thoughtful, tactful way.
- Ask for help. People who have a strong network of family and friends manage stress better.
Sometimes stress is just too much to handle alone. Talking to a friend or family member may help, but you may also want to see a counselor.
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Potential Causes Of Stress
Different things can cause different levels of stress for people. For example, one person may love nothing more than organizing a trip for 20 friends. For another type of person, that may be the ultimate recipe for stress. Here are common causes of stress:
- Finances: worrying about money and feeling guilty spending money
- Work: feeling undervalued or unbalanced at work
- Personal relationships: lack of communication, intimacy issues, feeling like you are too busy for relationships
- Parenting: working long hours, difficult decision-making, finding time for yourself
- Daily life: difficulty taking time for yourself, saying no, and tending to your own needs5
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.
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Take Control Of Your Environment
Your environment plays a crucial role in your overall wellbeing. Be it your home, your bedroom, your office or your community.
How do you feel when youre in a crowded room with people rushing everywhere and lots of noise compared to when youre lying in a park by yourself listening to the breeze go by?
When you take control of our environment you can start t take control of your stress levels. This can be done through better planning of your time, turning off the TV when youre not watching it at night to create some quiet time and even just closing your eyes for 30 seconds and enjoying the serenity.
There are loads of strategies available for taking control of your environment. The main thing is, ensure you make the choices.
Try To Avoid Procrastination
Stress is an inevitable part of the human experience. But forms of avoidable stress, like scrambling to turn something in or rushing through a project need not have a place in your life. Poor time management can lead to stress, negative energy, and psychological distress.21
Try this: Make a to-do list, and be realistic about how much time you need to do things. Playing the catch-up game can be a completely avoidable source of stress.
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Listen To Soothing Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too .
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why theyre often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Try A Natural Herbal Remedy
Stress can take a toll on your body. One effective strategy is to try a natural product, such as Herbal Mood Support. This particular blend of herbs contains high-quality antioxidants, adaptogens, and amino acids. This may support:
- An increased feeling of relaxation
- A calm, balanced mood
Just make sure to get your doctors approval before beginning any new supplement regimen.
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Spend Time With Those Closest To You
When you are stressed you might also have feelings of isolation and loneliness. One of the most effective strategies for reducing stress is to simply spend time with your friends and family.
When youre spending time with those closest to you, you would normally be a pretty relaxed, calm and comfortable state. The other added benefit is that you can talk through your problem or situation with someone you trust and who can provide another perspective. Your friends and family are there to be able to support you through stressful periods. Dont be afraid to lean on them when you need them. Im sure you would return the favour. Working with others is much better than working alone.
Tip : Identify The Sources Of Stress In Your Life
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isnt as straightforward as it sounds. While its easy to identify major stressors such as changing jobs, moving, or going through a divorce, pinpointing the sources of chronic stress can be more complicated. Its all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels.
Sure, you may know that youre constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe its your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
- Do you explain away stress as temporary even though you cant remember the last time you took a breather?
- Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life or as a part of your personality ?
- Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
Start a stress journal
A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal or use a stress tracker on your phone. Keeping a daily log will enable you to see patterns and common themes. Write down:
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Give Yourself A Break To Relax And Recharge
Daily stressors can creep up on you before you realize it, so treat yourself to at least one relaxing activity every day. Listening to music, meditating, writing in a journal, or enjoying a soothing bubble bath are all great ways to relax and relieve stress. “Meditation allows us to clear our minds and be able to see things in a more realistic perspective,” notes Kubiak. Taking time for yourself is important for both preventing and managing stress.
Back And Put The Problem In Perspective
Maybe you’re disappointed that you didn’t get a promotion you were up for or concerned that money is a little tight this month because of an unexpected medical bill. Feeling stressed is a natural reaction. But try to take a step back and ask yourself: Will this issue still matter in a year? In five years? If the answer is no, take a deep breath and try to move forward. Keeping things in perspective is crucial to managing stress.
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Write Down Your Worries
Another way to potentially break the cycle of stress is to take a moment and write down what is bothering you. Writing about thoughts and feelings of stress has been shown to help some people cope with difficult emotions.19
Try this: Take a moment and jot down your thoughts about tough situations in a stress journal. You may find that you can better cope with sources of stress when you can see them in black and white.
While youre at it, take a minute and write a few things youre grateful for. Expressing gratitude has also been shown to help promote a sense of well-being.20
Smoking Drinking And Drug Use And Stress
You might find that you smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs to reduce stress. However, this often makes problems worse.28
Research shows that smoking may increase feelings of anxiety.29 Nicotine creates an immediate, temporary, sense of relaxation, which can then lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Similarly, you may use alcohol as a means to manage and cope with difficult feelings, and to temporarily reduce feelings of anxiety. However, alcohol may make existing mental health problems worse. It can make you feel more anxious and depressed in the long run.30 It is important to know the recommended limits31 and drink responsibly.
Prescription drugs, such as tranquillisers and sleeping tablets, which may have been prescribed for very good reasons, can also cause mental and physical health problems if used for long periods of time.32 Street drugs, such as cannabis or ecstasy, are usually taken for recreational purposes. For some people, problems start as their bodies get used to repeated use of the drug. This leads to the need for increased doses to maintain the same effect.33
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Make Gratitude A Regular Practice
Several studies;have revealed the positive effects of expressing gratitude. While studying brain activity, National Institutes of Health researchers found subjects who showed more gratitude had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that has a huge influence on our stress levels. Plus, gratefulness also activated the regions associated with dopamine, one of those feel-good neurotransmitters. To reap these stress-reducing benefits, write down your feelings of gratitude daily in a journal, or by sending little notes to friends or family letting them know how much you appreciate them.
Tips To Manage Anxiety And Stress
Try these when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:
Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress
For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity , or a combination of the two.
- 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
- Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It’s better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
- Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
- Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find its more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
- Recruit an exercise buddy. It’s often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
- Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.
If you are the parent of a college-aged child with an anxiety disorder, here are some tips to help with managing his or her anxiety.
Why Is Stress Management So Important
Its normal to face stressful situations in life. The stressors of daily life include everything from the daily commute to paying your taxes.
None of us are excluded from dealing with stress. The important thing is to learn to manage it so that your stress levels dont become overwhelming.
A little bit of stress can be healthy. But chronic stress can negatively affect your mental health and physical well-being.
According to the APA, people experiencing increased stress in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic report that stress:
- Caused unexpected mood swings
- Increased tension in their bodies
- Caused them to snap out of anger
Dont Stress Just Practice
Hopefully, practicing stress will prepare you to handle more stressful events better when they arrive. It also makes little daily stressors easier to overcome, so you dont get bogged down.
Research has shown that repeated exposure to stressful events can change your bodys biological response so that they become easier to handle.
So, perhaps firefighters arent less stressed or even braver than youtheyre just well-practiced!
Keller, A., et al., Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality, Health Psychology, September 2012; 31: 677-684. DOI: 10.1037/a0026743.Jamieson, J.P., et al., Mind over Matter: Reappraising Arousal Improves Cardiovascular and Cognitive Responses to Stress,;Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, August 2012; 141:417-422. DOI: 10.1037/a0025719.Schneiderman, N., et al., STRESS AND HEALTH: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants,;Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 2005; 1: 607-628. DOI:10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.144141.Parker-Pope, T., How to Be Better at Stress, The New York Times, 2017; , last accessed August 22, 2017.
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