If you answered yes you have come to the right place! If you’re anything like the rest of us, you could probably do with a few pointers on how to reduce stress as well as ideas on how to reduce anxiety.
To what extent are you coping with stress? Stress relievers come in many forms, some helpful and some less so. When it comes to true stress management it’s important to separate the beneficial from the ineffective and potentially destructive methods.
The idea of stress management can seem quite overwhelming and, well, stressful. (How’s that for ironic?!) Let’s start at the beginning and take this one step at a time…
Identify the stress (and stressors) in your life right now
Now is the time to ditch the evasions, the denial, the delusions, and the excuses. It’s time for brutal honesty. We are all guilty of blaming external factors for our stress. And while there may certainly be external causes of stress beyond your control, the level of stress that you experience is ultimately within your control.
Here are some things to think about:
- Examine your habits and behavior. Sometimes your behavior is the actual source of stress. For examples, deadlines can be stressful, but usually the stress actually stems from procrastination and other unhealthy behaviors. And how many things do you make up that need to be done that really are NOT urgent? When we create unrealistic deadlines we increase our stress. BIGTIME!!
- Are you smoking cigarettes? Drinking alcohol? Eating too much Sugary food? Drinking a lot of caffeinated beverages? Not drinking enough pure clean water? What we put into our body contributes to our stress level and how we are able to cope with stress.
- Consider your thought patterns. Identifying stress (chaos, anxiety, etc) as an integral part of your life or personality will cause and perpetuate that feeling of being permanently stressed out.
- Think about your feelings. We often have emotional patterns that are in themselves stress-inducing.
- Do you think stress is normal? Do you blame it away?
Ultimately, you need to accept responsibility for the extent to which your own thoughts, emotions and behaviors contribute to the stress in your life.
Examine how you are currently coping with stress
And the honesty continues… What techniques are you currently employing to manage the stress in your life? Are they helpful? Healthy? Productive? Effective in reducing stress? Or are they obstructive? Harmful? Unproductive? Counteractive?
Regardless of whether you know how to reduce stress, many people adopt unhealthy strategies to cope with the stress in their lives. Unhelpful strategies are ineffective at best, and damaging at worst.
Regardless of whether it’s spending hours staring at a TV or computer screen every day, or trying to busily fill every minute of your day, the whole gamut of unhelpful approaches will simply add more stress to your life. As if anyone needs that!
How to reduce anxiety and stress the healthy way
Fortunately, there are many different options when it comes to choosing a beneficial stress reliever or two.
- Relaxation techniques
There are a plethora of relaxation techniques that are proven to actively reduce and prevent stress – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Things like yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices are all great ways to combat stress. [put link to our other articles here}
Set aside time in your schedule for regular physical activity. This is important to both reduce and prevent the effects of stress in your life. Aim to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Ideally, set a regular time to exercise and make that a priority in your schedule.
This can be as simple as taking your dog for a walk or playing outside with your children. For maximum stress-busting benefits, engage in activity that is rhythmic, continuous, and incorporates both your upper and lower body.
Ideally. become engaged in the type of exercise that does not allow your mind to wander so much. Working with a trainer or doing a program on your DVD player can help you take a break from stressful thoughts. Strong physical exercise or aerobics will help move that stress energy right out of your body. One way to do this is play fun, high energy music and dance, dance, dance!
Continuous aerobic exercise like running, swimming or spinning will produce endorphins which will really reduce your stress load.
You should know what this is all about: eat a healthy balanced diet and get enough sleep. Eat organic and NO processed foods. Self-medication in the form of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes is not the answer. Indulging in alcohol, caffeine and sugar will simply mask the problem, and worsen your stress in the long run.
- Eliminate unnecessary stressors
Many of us have unnecessary stressors in our lives that we could actually take steps to eliminate. Pare down your ‘to do’ list to the essentials and learn to say no. As far as is possible and practical, avoid or limit your time with people, situations, environmental factors and even conversational topics that make you feel stressed out.
- Alter your stressors
If there are stressors that you can’t eliminate, there might be ways in which you can alter them. Learning to be assertive and better managing your time are two key techniques that you could use to lessen the impact of potential stressors in your life.
- Learn to adapt
Your perspective has a significant influence on your physical, mental and emotional health. Try to adopt an optimistic worldview that looks at the bigger picture. Being pessimistic, petty, or even a perfectionist are unproductive perspectives when it comes to stress.
Some stressors are simply not going to go away. These are the stressors that you can’t eliminate, that you can’t alter. What you do have is the ability to change your perspective about what is happening. Here, perception, acceptance, forgiveness, and seeking support from others are potential stress relievers.
If you would like to take the way you “Frame” or “Perceive” things to a whole new level consider adopting and refining what I call “Resistance Free Living”. What this means is that you learn to just observe all of the things that are think are happening to you and just let them roll off. I have many techniques for this. If interested check out www.ultimaterelationshipacademy.com for more information.
- Have some fun!
Stress is a real consideration in modern life. If left to its own devices, it has the potential to damage all areas of your life. However, you do have the ability to self-heal. You have the choice to respond appropriately to all stressors, whether that action is to avoid, adjust, alter or accept them. You also have the power to ensure that you routinely prevent additional stress by adopting a regular exercise regime and all the other elements of a healthy lifestyle. You can self-heal.
You must…..Slow Down.
You must…..Play More.
You must…..Take Things Less Seriously.
Please do…..Focus and Smile.