Known as the silent killer, stress is something we encounter every day. Whether it be getting up late for work or school, having someone cut you off, financial pressures, work-related stress, or any other part of your life you feel is out of control.
Stress levels are largely determined by interaction with others, your personal life, work, cultural changes, your self-image, and your environment. Because of all these factors, you simply must have the tools to deal with it if you want to be healthy and content. The more stress management tools you learn, and use regularly, the better off you’ll be.
There are many ways to combat the stresses in your life. Here are 24 actions steps you can take to almost immediately feel more in control and free.
1. Calm down – Before anything else, calm yourself down. Don’t panic. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths, check #17 for a full description. PRAY. Go to your happy place. Think of a beautiful landscape. Anything to help you get control of your emotions. Getting a hold of our emotions can be as easy as recognizing that we are about to have a meltdown and not letting ourselves go there.
2. Feed your mind with positive thoughts – When we’re depressed, it’s easy to fall into a vicious cycle of negative thoughts. It’s important that you break this cycle. To do that, feed your mind with positive thoughts. You can read spiritual texts, motivational books, or inspiring quotes. You may also listen to positive tapes or upbeat music.
3. Remember the good things – Direct your mind to the positive. Remember the good things in your life. Remember the good people around you or the fact that you are able to breathe and move around. Make a Blessings Chart and list all the wonderful things you are thankful for.
4. Look at the big picture – An event that seems bad right now might not seem that bad if you look at the big picture. Put the event in context. Can you change it? If yes, then take action. If not, then let go of trying to control it.
5. Believe that everything will be all right – What you believe has a big effect on you. If you believe that things will go wrong, that will usually be the case. On the other hand, if you believe that everything will be all right, you will have a winning attitude and be better able to cope with what is stressing you out.
6. Exercise – When you’re depressed, take time to exercise. Exercise relieves the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Take a walk out in nature, do some kickboxing or other cardio workout according to what is safe for you. Make sure to listen to your body and give it the proper nutrients afterward to promote healing. You’ll want the right mixture of protein, fat, and carbs.
7. Forgive – Sometimes the reason you feel stressed is that you aren’t forgiving someone who hurt you, or perhaps you had made mistakes and you are not forgiving yourself. The act of forgiveness releases us from the stress of being overburdened with anger or worry.
8. Take action – Things won’t get better if you just sit and do nothing. Instead of thinking about how bad things are, think of what you can do to solve the problem and take action. Come up with a plan. Identify your triggers and practice recognizing and stopping them.
9. Say something positive – Negative words have a devastating effect on our confidence and motivation. So whenever you’re about to say something negative, stop yourself and take a deep breath. Re-frame what you were going to say and make it positive. A positive outlook can make stress seem like a challenge to defy.
10. Think about other people – One of the best ways to make yourself feel better is simply by taking the focus away from yourself. Start thinking about other people and how you can help them, then put your plan into action. When you do that, your problems will no longer seem so hard to face and overcome.
11. Reduce Caffeine Intake – Consuming caffeine too late in the day can affect sleep quality, which impacts stress levels. Consuming too much caffeine in general can make you more emotionally reactive to stress. Learn how much caffeine is too much.
12. Learn Assertive Communication Skills – Relationships can be great stress relievers. Knowing how to keep your relationships healthy through effective communication is one of the best investments of time and energy for stress relief. Talking with family, friends, a pastor, or a good counselor can be great for relieving stress. Sometimes we just need to let someone else know what is going on inside. As a certified Health Coach, I know how important this step is. Just having a safe environment to get in touch with emotions we want to deny is a game changer.
13. Listen To Music – Finding a music therapist isn’t the only way music can help as a stress reliever. You can become your own. Create playlists for various moods: a therapeutic mix for when you want to process feelings, an upbeat mix for when you need more energy, a softer mix when you are nostalgic, an angry mix when you need to release emotions, etc. This is an easy and enjoyable way to help you to relieve stress.
14. Eat a Balanced Diet – A poor diet can bring greater reactivity toward stress. A healthy diet can bring greater physical and emotional wellness. Find some simple go-to meals and snacks, and feel less stressed in your daily life. Start by limiting or cutting out sugar and processed foods and increasing water, vegetables, and healthy fats like avocados.
15. Laughter – The physical act of laughing releases tension and brings positive physiological changes. Finding ways to work more laughter into your day can be an effective route to stress relief. After all, it is the best medicine.
16. PMR – Progressive muscle relaxation, or PMR, is a technique that allows you to relax all of the muscles in your body, group by group. Usually, you start by concentrating on relaxing your head first and going down the body to your feet. Beginning sessions take several minutes and allow you to feel physically and emotionally relaxed when done. With practice, you can achieve full-body relaxation within seconds.
17. Breathing – Breathing exercises provide convenient and simple stress relief in that they can be used anytime, anywhere, and they work quickly. One exercise that is quick and easy to learn is the 4-7-8 method developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. Simply breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, allowing the breath to go into your belly. Hold for a count of 7 and then exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds making sure all air gets expelled. Repeat 3 times.
18. Plant a Garden – Getting outside and enjoying the scenery is just one of the ways that gardening can contribute to stress relief. Whether it be vegetables or flowers, getting in the dirt grounds us to the earth and helps remove excess static from our bodies.
19. Start a Journal – Do you have things that keep rolling around in your head? Write it down. Pour out your feelings on paper. This can help you find the triggers of your stress and help you deal with it.
20. Find a Hobby – Do something you enjoy that can take your mind off of the current situation and take a step back. You could read, garden, cook, knit or crochet, scrapbook, play with and take your pet for a walk, volunteer to help someone, build RC planes, color, or do anything else YOU ENJOY. Go for a hike, a boat ride or walk through the park and enjoy nature.
21. Play a Game – Crossword puzzles, word searches, puzzles, and other solitary games are a good place to start. Play games with others, like Life or Monopoly, Dominoes, or other games. Go play some racquetball, tennis or golf. Get out there and play football, volleyball, or other physical activities. You could even race against your best time around the block or arrange flowers. Get a used Wii or another gaming system that allows you to use your body to play games.
22. Take Time to Have Fun – Do something fun. Leisure activities can be a great way to de-stress. What do you like to do? Make time every week to allow yourself some fun.
23. Massage Therapy – Of course, we all know how relaxing a good massage can be. But the benefits of a therapeutic massage are greater than any old massage. Find a good therapist in your area. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful massage therapist who really takes her time and gets to the heart of the problem.
24. Take High-Quality Supplements to Reduce Stress – Without the proper nutrients, our bodies won’t be able to fight or recover from constant stress. Eating a well-balanced diet is key when you can accomplish it. If you feel you are not able to get enough nutrients from your food, a multivitamin pack with your daily needs is a good place to start. Make sure you are getting all the B vitamins, vitamin c, vitamin d3, calcium, and antioxidants to help your body fight the effects of stress and be better equipped to deal with it.
While you won’t be able to implement all these ideas, if you can choose just one or two from this list, you’ll be well on your way to managing and defeating the silent killer.
Stress is a major factor in the health problems plaguing people today. Taking steps to learn how to manage it will go a long way to making you healthier. Not only that but being able to manage stress will help your mental well-being. Thinking positively has an effect on our health, our bodies actually respond to our emotions on a very deep level.
There are many pills out there promising to reduce your stress. The problem is, some of them can be harmful. Using the techniques listed above you can find ways to curb your stress without resorting to dangerous drugs.
If you are looking for supplements, seek a reputable company that has a long track record with lots of published studies and see what they have to offer. Shaklee created Stress Relief which helps reduce the toll that stress has on your body, it is what I personally use and recommend. Here is a link to more articles on stress [http://www.allnaturalhealthylife.com/category/stress/]
Michelle Geysbeek is passionate about educating people and helping them feel better. She is a Certified Health Coach and Independent Distributor of Shaklee and Young Living products. She also researches and writes articles about health and wellness issues, health news, supplements, deficiencies, natural cleaning, and more. Check out her Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/AllNaturalHealthyLife/, or her website/blog with tons of articles and information at All Natural Healthy Life.
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