Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.
Are You Feeling Stressed?
All of us experience stress of one form or another throughout our lives. It’s often an uncomfortable and overwhelming feeling resulting from a lack of control we feel we have over our environment and/or circumstances. There’s just so much going on, there’s just so much to do, time is running out, and making an appropriate and effective decision is often very difficult.
Stress not only feels awful, but can also lead to fatigue, insomnia, and other serious health conditions down the track. This is especially true when it comes to ongoing stress. Ongoing stress will affect your physical body as well as your mental state-of-mind. Physically you will deteriorate and feel worse, and mentally you will dig yourself into an ever deeper pit of emotional turmoil. In fact, ongoing stress can at times manifest in anger and can eventually lead to depression, which have their own set of consequences and pitfalls.
There must be a better way? There must be a way to eliminate or at least better manage the stress you experience on a daily basis? And there actually is. Eliminating stress requires that you focus on the five A’s: Avoid, Alter, Adapt, Accept, and Adopt. Let’s have a look at each of these five A’s in a little more detail:
- Avoid: Here you are removing yourself or removing the things that are causing you the most stress.
- Alter: Here you are making alterations about how you think about stress. You are also making alterations to your life and to your environment in order to reduce the impact of stress.
- Adapt: Here you are adapting your decisions, actions, habits and perspective to help you handle stress more effectively.
- Accept: Here you are learning to accept the things that you have no control over in a proactive and productive way to help you let go of stress.
- Adopt: Here you are adopting new lifestyle choices that will allow you to reduce the impact of stress and live a more healthy and care-free existence.
By carefully learning more about how to avoid stress; how to alter your life and environment; how to adapt your approach to stress; how to accept the things you can’t control, and how to adopt and make new lifestyle choices, you will gain the confidence you need to effectively manage and potentially eliminate all major sources of stress that are currently running rampant in your life.
The remainder of this article will focus on breaking down each of these five A’s in a little more detail.
When it comes to managing stress, your very first task should always be to look at potential ways you can avoid the things that are causing you stress. Avoiding means removing these things from your life or environment, or it might involve removing yourself away from these stressors physically or at the very least emotionally for a certain period of time — allowing you to calm your emotions and gather your thoughts. Either way, works as long as you are committed and diligent.
Let’s have a look at your options moving forward:
Learn to Say No
It’s easy to say “yes” when you don’t give a second thought to the consequences of what you’re saying “yes” to. Whenever you say “yes” to something, you are at that very moment saying “no” to something else. There is, therefore, an opportunity cost to take into consideration. You can’t say “yes” to everything, and when you do, that often leads to stress because you simply have too much on your plate — too much to do, too many responsibilities and not enough time. You actually end up having not enough time for the most important things that need to get done.
Learning to get in the habit of Saying NO to additional responsibilities, commitments, tasks, and activities will help you to avoid the unnecessary stress that comes with feeling overwhelmed. If you can’t handle it, then there’s no point accepting it. Say “no” and let things go. Take care of what’s most important, and then only if you have adequate time and emotional space should you take on additional work and commitments.
Disconnect Communication and Media Devices
Stress can get the better of you when there are too many people trying to get a hold of you at the worst possible time, all the time. People might be calling you, connecting with you over social media, communicating via text messaging or email, etc. The more communication channels you leave open, the more distractions you will have, and the higher levels of stress you will experience. For this very reason, it’s paramount that when you need to focus and work on the most important things, that you disconnect yourself from communication and media sources. You have enough concerns, problems, and worries on your plate, without needing to absorb yourself in a world full of other people’s problems. It’s, of course, important not to be ignorant of external events, however, there is certainly an appropriate time and place for everything. Looking after your needs first will put you in a better position to assist others.
Create a Mental Sanctuary
This is all about removing yourself mentally and emotionally from the source of your stress temporarily and taking the time to sit within the serenity and bliss of your mental sanctuary.
A mental sanctuary is an environment you create in your imagination that you can visit during times of stress to help you relax and calm your mind. This environment could be at a secluded beach, on a farm, in an alpine cottage, next to a stream, river or lake, or any other environment that helps calm your emotions down.
Take time to first prepare and build this environment in your mind. Consider all the details, the colors, the sounds, the smells, and the associating feelings you experience. Is there anybody else there with you? Maybe you’re alone? Maybe there are animals there? It’s up to you. Build a very comfortable environment that helps relax your body and settle your mind. Then, when you’re feeling stressed, find some time to separate yourself from your physical world and instead explore your mental sanctuary in silence or while listening to some soothing music and/or nature sounds.
Finally, have a think about some of the tools you might have within this environment. These are tools that might help you think more clearly about the things you’re stressing about. Use them to help you come up with effective solutions to work more intelligently with minimal stress.
Spend Time With Positive People
Separate yourself from your stress by spending time with people who energize you and make you feel good about yourself. These people will help you relax, laugh, and may even help put a positive spin on your stress and the challenges you are working through.
Stress often fatigues the body and pollutes the mind. When you’re feeling sluggish and drained, look at ways you could temporarily separate yourself from the stress and potentially re-energize yourself for what’s to come. This is of course not always easy because when you’re stressed you often have time constraints. However, even with time constraints, it’s often very helpful to separate yourself from your stress in order to gather your thoughts and gain a clearer perspective about your circumstances.
Re-energizing yourself might mean taking time for:
- Listening to your favorite music. Sit somewhere by yourself and away from what is causing you stress and listen to your favorite music. Music will help enliven your body and clear your mind.
- Reading a self-help book that might provide you with some suggestions to help improve your life. Otherwise, you may choose to read a work of fiction, which might help you to temporarily settle your mind.
- Meditation, prayer, visualization or simply reflecting on events and circumstances can provide you with a clearer perspective and help you make more effective decisions moving forward.
- Moments of sunbathing and relaxation. The sun can help you clear your head and will also re-energize your body. However, be sure to keep time in the sun in moderation.
- Playing an instrument or playing with kids or animals. No matter which option you choose, you will very quickly forget about your stress and lose yourself in this activity.
- Watching an inspiring movie that helps alter your state-of-mind — providing you with a renewed sense of confidence moving forward.
- Helping people solve their own concerns, stresses, and problems. The process of helping others might put your stresses into perspective.
- Taking a quick walk outside or just around the office or home. Or how about a quick shower? Either option will effectively separate you from your stressors and help clear your mind.
- Laughing yourself silly. How about reading a few jokes? How about watching a few funny and weird YouTube videos? How about sharing a funny story with a friend?
- Playing sports or involving yourself in a recreational activity to help release pent-up stress and emotions. A little vigorous movement will instantly alter your state-of-mind.
- Pampering yourself with a spa treatment, a shoulder or foot massage, a warm bath, etc. All of these things will help you to temporarily feel better about yourself and your life.
- Counting your blessings will help remind you of what’s most important. Maybe you are taking things a little too seriously and just need a little time to put things into proper perspective.
Some of these options will make more sense in an office environment, while others will make more sense in a home or social environment. The most important thing to remember is that you do have options. A little separation from the things that are causing you to feel stressed will provide you with the emotional space you need to clarify what you need to do specifically to handle your problems and challenges more effectively. In addition, you also need this initial space to think, reflect and ponder your circumstances. This will become increasingly important as you move through the remaining four A’s of this stress elimination process.
Making the Necessary Alterations
In order to manage and hopefully eliminate stress from your life, you will need to make some alterations. Within the context of this discussion, let’s think about alterations as being ways you can change your environment, your schedule and in the way you interact with other people.
Here are some suggestions and guidelines that will help you make the necessary alterations to manage stress far more effectively:
Immediately Adjust Your Physiology
When you’re stressed, you will tend to tense your muscles, you will begin breathing erratically, and you will move your body awkwardly. You might even pull your hair, scratch yourself, grit your teeth, squish your face or bite your nails. These are all typical physical signs of stress. And when your body is showing the physical symptoms of stress, then this affects your state-of-mind and as a result, you begin feeling even more stressed-out. Your initial discomfort has now turned into an emotional meltdown, and unless you take control of your physiology, you will continue to suffer the consequences of your behavior.
All this is significant because if your physiology and the way you use your body influences your state-of-mind, then this also means that by adjusting your physiology you can effectively influence how you feel, and potentially minimize your levels of stress. Therefore, when you are feeling stressed, immediately decide that you will not allow yourself to fall into stress-inducing habits. Control your physiology by relaxing your muscles and jaw; by putting a smile on your face; by resisting the urge to bite your nails; by slowing down your breathing, etc.
When you take conscious control of your physiology, you will also take conscious control of your emotions, and therefore reduce the effects of stress.
Control Your Inner Voice
There is a voice inside of you that is telling you fibs and stories that aren’t completely true. It’s making things far worse than they should be and you are suffering the consequences. This voice is your voice. However, it’s the voice of stress, the voice of frustration, and the voice of overwhelm. This voice is out of control and preventing you from thinking clearly, and as a result, you are stressing far more then you should be.
It might initially be difficult to control this voice, however altering this voice can provide you with some needed stress relief. You can do this by changing the tone, pitch and/or volume of this voice. You can also give this voice a cartoon character’s voice. For instance, imagine this voice as Daffy Duck or as Porky Pig. How funny would that sound? At the very least this change will transform your state-of-mind. Such a simple strategy, and yet it can have a profound effect on reducing your stress levels.
Alternatively, writing your thoughts down in a journal at the end of every day can also help you to better understand your inner voice and the consequences of your thoughts.
Transform Your Environment
It’s important to acknowledge that your work or home environment could very well be causing you stress. Your environment might just not be conducive to the type of work you need to do. As such, it’s critical that you consider ways you could potentially transform your environment. You could do this by adding more greenery, inserting some soothing lighting effects, getting rid of the clutter, organizing your workspace, changing the colors of the walls, adding ornaments or photographs, etc.
While making these changes, keep in mind what kind of environment helps you relax, stay focused, calm, centered, and productive. This is the sort of environment you must focus on building.
Develop Plan of Action to Manage Stress
Look at your typical routine and schedule and pinpoint areas where you could make some adjustments to help you minimize and manage stress far more effectively. Begin by asking yourself:
When am I most stressed throughout the day?
Where do I suffer most stress?
What types of things trigger my stress? Why?
How long do I normally spend time stressing?
Where could I make improvements within my schedule to minimize stress?
What could I add to my schedule to minimize stress?
What could I eliminate from my schedule to minimize stress?
What unnecessary commitments or obligations could I potentially drop?
What could I combine, re-order or change within my schedule to help me avoid potential stress?
What’s my plan of action moving forward to help me eliminate or at least minimize my daily stress levels?
It’s important that your plan of action is flexible enough to adapt to unexpected events and circumstances that could arise throughout the day. It’s also critical that you are realistic when scheduling your time, and realistic with the demands you put on yourself on a daily basis. There’s no point in building a plan of action if you’re not able to fulfill all your responsibilities and commitments. This will only stress you out. In such cases, you need to keep simplifying things, up until the point you reach the perfect balance between your results and your expectations.
Seek Out Support
If after drawing up your plan of action you still feel as though you’re strapped for time, then look at ways you could outsource, delegate responsibility, or simply gain the cooperation of others to help you work through certain tasks and activities that are currently stressing you out. Maybe all you need is some constructive advice or feedback. Maybe you’re doing things all wrong, or the wrong way around. It’s therefore important to seek advice from your support network to help you make better choices and decisions throughout the day.
Learning how to better allocate your time, how to prioritize your tasks and activities, and how to involve others in productive ways, will certainly help you take back control over your life and circumstances, which will likewise help you manage your stress levels far more effectively.
Finally be willing to compromise where necessary. Be flexible in your approach, however assertive with your allocation of time.
Stay Ahead of the Game
When it comes to alleviating stress, one of the most important things is to stay ahead of the game. What this means is that you must make sure you never fall behind. Do enough today to give yourself a head-start the very next day. Do enough this week to give yourself a head-start the following week. Surpass your goals and expectations for this month to get a jump-start on next month. And arrive at your appointments early so that you have enough time to get through everything you need to get through. Arriving late means that everything else will be pushed back, and this is what can cause you copious amounts of stress. Therefore, the lesson here is to always stay ahead of the game.
Be Mindful of the Present
Alter your state-of-mind by being mindful of the present moment. No longer will you worry or stress about what you must do and what potentially won’t get done. Likewise, no longer will you be overwhelmed with having too much on your plate. Why? Because you are present — you are practicing mindfulness. You are mindful of what you’re doing, you are mindful of the consequences of your choices and decisions, and you are mindful of what is going around you.
While practicing mindfulness consider the things you are grateful for. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in all the urgent yet insignificant details, that we completely lose sight of what’s most important in our lives. Therefore take the time to be thankful for what you have, for your family, for your friendships, for your health and for the beauty all around you. Take nothing for granted.
Adapt to Stress
If you can’t avoid your stress, and you can’t alter the conditions of your stressful experiences, then the next best thing you can do is to adapt to the stressors that life presents you with.
When it comes to adaptation, think of yourself as a Chameleon. A Chameleon changes its colors in order to blend itself into its external environment. It never seems out of place, and it never complains about the conditions it finds itself in. It just learns to adapt. And with adaptation comes a sense of control, and with a sense of control comes less stress and emotional upheaval.
Here are some suggestions and guidelines to help you adapt more effectively to the stressors within your environment:
Turn Your Needs into Wants
You are suffering from stress because what you think you “need” you actually only “want”. You think you need to do this task; you think you need to complete that job; you think you need to keep this commitment, etc. In reality, you are only choosing to do most of these things. You don’t “have to” or “need to” do them. You are choosing to do them, however, you don’t see this as a “choice” but rather as a “need”. And this is what’s stressing you out.
Instead of “needing” to do everything, give yourself some slack by re-prioritizing what you actually “need” versus what you simply “want”. What you need to do is eat, sleep, drink, breathe, get some rest. Everything else you do is a choice. Some of these activities will, of course, be of higher priority than other activities, however, it’s still a choice. You must choose what to focus on. And because you have a choice, you can choose to focus on only the most important things you need to get done. And everything else in such instances becomes a “want”. Remember that a “want” is something you choose to do, but you’ll only get to it once you’ve completed everything you “need” to do.
Separating your “needs” and “wants” will provide you with the space you NEED in order to work more effectively and with far less stress throughout the day.
Categorize Your Problems
Your day is probably filled with many problems. Even though you try your very best, it’s pretty much impossible to handle all of them at the same time. However, by categorizing your problems, you can potentially solve multiple problems in bunches.
List down all the problems, difficulties, issues and challenges you are dealing with today. Have a think about them by asking yourself:
What type of problems am I dealing with today?
What kind of problems are they?
What are the similarities and differences between these problems?
How will I go about tackling these problems?
Could I potentially group these problems?
How could I tackle these problems in groups/together?
Who could assist me with this?
What resources might I need?
How will I begin?
It’s also important to jot down the priority level of the problems you are attempting to work through. Some problems might need to be resolved today, while others can wait a few days or weeks. In fact, there might even be problems that you don’t need to solve, ever! You might be thinking about them as being urgent and important, however, that might not actually be the case. Ask yourself:
Is this problem urgent?
Is this problem important?
Is solving this problem necessary?
Do I need to solve this problem, or do I only “want to” solve this problem?
What if I never solved this problem? What then? What would the consequences be?
This strategy allows you to work through your problems more effectively throughout the day. You are doing more with less effort, and as a result, you will feel less overwhelmed and will likely experience less stress.
When you’re feeling stressed, it’s important you take some time to separate yourself from your stress in order to gain perspective about your stressful experience. Ask yourself:
What is causing me stress?
Why am I feeling stressed?
How else could I interpret this stress? What else could it mean?
Maybe what I’m feeling is excitement and not stress?
Will this really matter in a week? A month? A year?
Gaining perspective will allow you to mentally take back control over your emotional responses and over your approach to the situation. Likewise, it will help you to build an intelligent plan of action moving forward in order to work through your circumstances successfully.
Having gained a clearer perspective on the things that are stressing you out, it’s now time to look at the things you can control and potentially influence moving forward. Ask yourself:
What is it that I can control?
What am I unable to control?
What could I potentially influence?
How could I influence this situation? Directly or indirectly?
How must I adapt my approach accordingly?
Often when you feel as though you have no control over the events and circumstances of your life, you still have control over how you respond to the situation. And how you respond to the situation can shift how you think about the situation, and as a result you might realize that thinking differently about things actually provides you with the sense of control you need to work through this stressful experience or task successfully.
Avoid the Three P’s
When it comes to relieving stress it’s important you avoid the three Ps of perfectionism, procrastination and pessimism. Indulging in either one or all of these nasty P’s will significantly increase your levels of stress throughout the day.
When you’re procrastinating you’re not doing much, and because you’re not doing much, time is running out and you become more and more stressed the longer you go on procrastinating.
When you’re indulging in perfectionism you are again wasting time focusing on irrelevant details that probably aren’t necessary or required to get the job done. During these moments it’s important to remind yourself that often 20 percent of your efforts will lead to 80 percent of your results. You must, therefore, focus on only the most important 20 percent of things. Then only if you have time, should you even give a thought to the rest. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you only get the job half done. What it does mean is that you get what you “need” accomplished, not what you “want” accomplished, or to the level you want things accomplished. Anything beyond a “need” is time wasted that could have been assigned to more important things.
When you’re indulging in pessimism you are probably reflecting on the worst-case scenarios (Murphy’s Law), and this is making you feel absolutely miserable, overwhelmed and stressed. What you need is a more positive solution-focused outlook that will help you work through your challenges far more effectively.
In summary, avoid the 3 P’s like a plague. Avoid perfectionism by lowering your standards. Avoid procrastination by finding your motivation. To find your motivation you need to have enough valid reasons as to why you need to get things accomplished. And avoid pessimism by transforming how you talk to yourself, and how you talk to others. Control your thoughts and the questions you tend to unconsciously ask yourself, and you will begin to shift how you interpret the events and circumstances in your life in more positive and empowering ways.
Avoid Creating Drama
Stress and drama go together like bacon and eggs. Drama often comes about because you are taking things too seriously. You are too involved in the situation and you are probably very inflexible with your approach. You may very well need to lighten up and relax a little. Stop taking things so seriously, stop blowing things out of proportion, stop creating the drama, stop complaining, and stop reacting emotionally to everything that comes your way. This is only making you feel absolutely miserable.
When it comes to creating drama, take careful note of the language you use. For instance, avoid saying:
I’m feeling so stressed out…
I’m just so worried…
I can’t handle this…
I can’t believe how much this has gotten out of hand…
I can’t believe he/she put me in this position…
My life is like a soap opera television drama…
Instead of creating more drama in your life, choose to take full responsibility for your life and for dealing with your problems and circumstances in the most effective and efficient way possible.
Manage Your Time More Effectively
In order to adapt to stress, you will need to learn how to manage your time far more effectively throughout the day.
People who stress are often not very clear about the results they would like to achieve. As such, the very first thing you must do when it comes to time management is to clarify your goals and the most important priority activities that you will need to accomplish to achieve your goals. This will give you a sense of purpose and direction that will carry you forward throughout the day. It will also help you to focus on the most important things that need to get done without getting lost or overwhelmed with the details.
The next adjustment you will need to make is to stop multi-tasking. Multi-tasking was once all the craze. Do more with less time by focusing on 20 things at once (a slight exaggeration). This is all well and good, however, the human brain, unfortunately, isn’t wired for multi-tasking. It can only focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking quickly overwhelms the brain and as a result, both tasks suffer. So what’s the solution? Well, instead of multi-tasking, focus 100 percent of your efforts on only one task for however long is necessary, then move on to something else. It’s that simple. It’s better to give 100 percent effort to one task then only 50% effort to two tasks. In the end, you will actually save time because you don’t need to go back and redo things because of your lack of attention to detail.
If you tend to have a lot on your plate, then consider breaking down your tasks into smaller steps. Think of the task as a pizza. Now cut the pizza into slices and eat it one slice at a time. Using this “slicing” strategy means you will feel less overwhelmed and experience far less stress as a result.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with stress even when focusing on just one thing for an extended period of time. Your brain needs rest. This, of course, doesn’t mean that you should shut down and go to sleep. It might simply mean taking a short five-minute break to allow time for self-reflection and time to help you learn from your experience and the approach you are taking. At other times, you might not need to take a break, but rather choose to focus on something else for a short period of time. The brain appreciates variety. Focusing on one thing for too long bores the brain silly. However, if you vary up your tasks throughout the day, then your brain is constantly being stimulated and entertained with new activities. This will help you ease stress and relieve fatigue.
Finally, if nothing else works and you’re still stressed out about all the stuff you need to get done, then consider outsourcing or delegating projects and tasks to allow yourself more time to work on the most important things.
Accept What You Can’t Control
When it comes to relieving stress, there will be some things that you will not be able to avoid, alterations you won’t be able to make, and situations you simply can’t adapt to. The only other option you have left is to acknowledge that you can’t control or change things. As a result you must come to accept “what is” and learn to live with the circumstances without stressing or worrying about the consequences.
Here are some guidelines and suggestions that will help you to accept the things you can’t control:
Take a Deep Long Breath
Acceptance starts with a big deep breath using your diaphragm. Slowly inhale through your nose, hold for a couple of seconds, and then exhale slowly through the mouth. Do this for several breaths or for several minutes. Only when you’re feeling calm and relaxed should you proceed with implementing the remaining suggestions.
Take Full Responsibility
Accept the fact that you can’t control everything. Some things are just out of your hands, and unfortunately, that’s how things are, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. You could, of course, complain, blame and make excuses. However, that will only stress you out even more. Instead, choose to take full responsibility for your life and circumstances. Take responsibility for how things are at this very moment. You might not think that you created this situation, however, you probably did. You made certain decisions, took specific kinds of actions and did things a certain way that led you to this very moment. You did this to yourself even if other people were involved. As such, you must take responsibility for getting yourself into this situation.
When you’re responsible you quit making excuses, complaining and/or blaming other people or circumstances for your conditions. Taking responsibility also means not comparing yourself with others. Don’t wish for things to be different. Wish instead to learn from this experience and do better the next time around. Take responsibility for “what is” in your life right now, and do the best you can with what you have moving forward.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Take time for self-reflection. Have a think about what you did and how you did things. Have a think about the mistakes you made, about your errors of judgment, about your poor choices and your failures. Learn from these experiences in order to make better decisions in the future. Ask yourself:
What choices did I make? Why?
What mistakes did I make? Why?
What can I learn from this experience?
How will I do things differently in the future?
In the end, above all else, it’s important you don’t make the same mistakes the second time around.
Reminder: Everything is Temporary
When things are at their worst and you feel as though there’s nothing you can do about them, it’s important to remind yourself that this is only temporary. Things will not always be this bad. Yes, of course, they might at times get worse, but even that is temporary. Your life will be full of ups and downs, peaks and valleys. And as such, even the best things will not last. They are also temporary and have an expiration date. You must accept this fact wholeheartedly. That is the only way you will be able to move through difficult moments of your life successfully.
Reminder: Expect Obstacles
Obstacles, challenges, and problems are a part of life. You have to deal with them, just like everybody else has to deal with them. Problems are of course tied to solutions. Therefore if there is a solution then there’s no point in stressing. Just find the solution and move on. However, if there is no solution and you can’t fix things, then there is no problem. And if there is no a problem, then there’s no point in stressing. Just let things be. Accept and learn from your experience in a gracious manner so that you can do things better the next time around.
Define Your Personal Boundaries
As you learn from your problems and stressful situations, take the time to develop boundaries to protect yourself emotionally from similar future scenarios.
The boundaries you create could be of a physical nature or they could be of an emotional nature. Physically you could separate yourself from the things that are causing you the most stress. You could also develop boundaries by scheduling your time differently and not allowing other people to impede on your personal time and space. Emotionally you could create boundaries by learning more about emotional coping strategies. You could also create a boundary in your imagination by building a personal sanctuary that you can turn to whenever you need to step away from the physical world.
First, begin with a smile, then a giggle, then uncontrollable laughter. If you can’t do anything about your problems, then laughing at them certainly won’t hurt you, however, it will most likely make you feel much better about yourself. 🙂 It could even shift how you think about things, and as a result, this could provide you with some insights you never considered that may very well help you solve your problems.
Let Things Go and Let Things Be
Just let things go, and let things be. Don’t attach yourself to results, and don’t involve yourself emotionally. Let go of past mistakes, let go of people’s opinions, and let go of worrisome thoughts about the future. Learn to be mindful and just let things be as they are. There’s no point stressing about something that’s out of your control.
Making Better Lifestyle Choices
You will find it extremely difficult to eliminate or relieve your stress levels if you continue making poor lifestyle choices. You can, in fact, apply many of the stress-busting guidelines presented here into your day-to-day activities. However, they will make absolutely no difference if you fail to adopt a healthy approach to living.
Here are just four of the most important things you can do to help you adopt a healthy lifestyle for long-term stress relief:
- Exercise: Regular exercise is a natural stress reliever. You will feel better, have more energy, and as a result, you will feel physically and emotionally stronger, which will help you handle stress far more effectively through the day.
- Sleep: Quality sleep will help boost your immune system and will allow your body to repair and regenerate itself after a long day of work. As a result, you will have more energy and vitality the very next day.
- Diet: Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and green leafy vegetables will provide you with the nutrients you need to keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
- Breaks: Taking regular stretch breaks during the day will help you to clear your head and release the tension that might have built up in your muscles.
Focusing on these four important areas will help you to handle the effects of stress far more effectively throughout the day. You will make better decisions, you will have more energy to work through your problems, and you will have a greater level of focus to work as effectively and efficiently as possible through your challenges. However, doing all the right things will be of little benefit if you also indulge in all the wrong things.
You can actually raise your levels of stress by indulging in addictions and/or taking stimulants that might provide you with a quick boost of energy or help take your mind off the things you are stressing about. For instance, overeating, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, sugars, fatty foods, etc, can all provide you with some form of instant gratification that feels good in the moment. However, in the long-run, these things will only damage your health, drain your energy and make you feel absolutely miserable and emotionally out of control.
Therefore the lesson here is to focus on doing the right things and focus on long-term outcomes and consequences. As a result, you will find effective ways to better manage, alleviate and even eliminate your stress levels throughout the day.
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
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Here are three recommended IQ Matrix mind map bundles that explore how to handle stress more effectively, how to become emotionally intelligent, and how to live life with more optimism.
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 5 Steps for Turning Stressful Situations into Learning Opportunities with Kids @ Psychology Today
- 6 Surefire Ways to Manage Stress Now @ Lifehack
- 9 Things Happy People Do to Stress Less @ Marc and Angel Hack Life
- Are You Too Busy? Five Signs of Chronic Stress @ Tiny Buddha
- Coping with Stress @ Think Simple Now
- Reduce Stress and Anxiety @ Dumb Little Man
- Stress: The Two Causes and How to Deal with Them @ A Daring Adventure