Your job, family responsibilities, money issues, or your car breaking down, life has a way of getting stressful from time to time. It can be easy to try to ignore, hoping that if you don’t think about stress that it will just go away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Instead of hiding from your stress, why not try strategic ways to manage it? Below are some steps you can take to manage the stress in your daily life.
Why worry about stress?
If it happens to everyone, then why should you worry? Just because stress common, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be managed. A build up of stress impacts your body, mind, and behavior. Some of the side effects can be quite serious, including:
- Substance abuse
- Chest pain
- Angry outbursts
- Sleep problems
- Lack of motivation
- Social withdrawal
Exercise is a great way to expend physical and emotional energy and is proven to improve your mood. It doesn’t have to be a time consuming workout either. Try a brief morning walk or maybe a bike ride after work. Swimming is another great choice.
Many people think that breathing techniques require long periods of quiet meditation. That’s just not the case. You can perform simple breathing techniques at home, at your desk while at work, before bed, or even out on a walk.
Visualize a beach ball inflating and deflating and match its pace by breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Even only a couple minutes of this will help your muscles relax and reduce your stress.
Our fast paced lifestyles make it difficult to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Sometimes it’s just convenient to grab something through the drive-through on the way home. But focusing on nutrition goes a long way in resolving stress issues. Make sure you are eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It might be tempting to skip a meal from time to time when you are stressed. But don’t do it; skipping meals can actually make your stress worse.
One thing at a time
Sometimes the day ahead seems unbearable. You have so much to accomplish but feel like you have no time to do it. These feelings can be overwhelming, causing more stress. Try breaking down the day into parts. Accomplish one goal at a time then move on to the next. Breaking things down into accomplishable tasks makes your day more manageable.
Throughout the day, make some time for yourself. Find somewhere to get away. Maybe it’s a round of golf at your favorite course or taking time for a hobby like painting. Maybe pick up an activity you used to love. Don’t use not having enough time as an excuse.
Talk it out
Sometimes merely talking about the things that are bothering helps relieve stress. It can be informal, like talking with your friend on the phone or discussing your busy day with your family at the dinner table. Or it can be in a more formal setting with a licensed therapist. Talking with a professional is great as they can often give you exercises to help you reduce your stress. No matter how you do it, talking is a great way to relieve yourself of unnecessary stress.
There is so much in the world that isn’t in your control. It’s hard not to stress and worry, but remember that the only thing that you can control is your own thoughts and actions. Try your best to let go of micromanaging every situation.
Know your triggers
Take a moment and write a list of trigger events that stress you out. It might be aspects of work, school, or maybe family issues. Once you figure out your triggers you can work on ways to either avoid the triggers or strategies to deal with them.
Stress can feel overwhelming. You might even feel like you’ll never feel relaxed again. But by taking some of the above steps you can learn to cope with and even eliminate some of your anxiety induced by stress.