Stress can often seem like a constant companion. One that hangs on and feeds on negativity while sapping all of your strength and energy.
This may feel like an unavoidable fate, a bad lot in life that we have to accept and go about our day to day pretending it’s not there.
Worse still, this ever-presence can cause us to feel like stress is a normal emotion to carry and ignore the build-up that can lead to serious issues or a decline in health.
Now I’m not saying that alarm bells should blast out the moment you feel an ounce of pressure, it’s normal to have a certain amount of stress in our lives.
However, when it is persistent it can lead to more serious problems so it is much better to combat stress at its onset rather than letting it show up, move in and start decorating!
Thankfully there are techniques to combat stress that we can implement to ensure stress doesn’t take over and that we are operating as our best selves.
Yep, you heard me, laugh. Laughing releases endorphins. This happy chemical contributes to the reduction of stress. It also aids the body’s immune system. Spend time with friends, especially the ones that have a great sense of humor. Laughing can lead to a greater intake of oxygen into our body. It also stimulates your heart lungs and muscles.
Having a good old laugh with friends can reduce negative thoughts significantly. Negative thoughts which have been worsening the stress and lowering your immune system will now be weakened by laughter and the release of endorphins.
Laughing can help people get through some of their most difficult times. So get your chuckle on!
2. Take Time Out
Not as in the ‘sit on the naughty step’ kind of timeout, but timeout away from pressured environments. Given today’s hectic non-stop lifestyle, it has become commonplace to be constantly busy. Between work schedules, school runs, kid’s hobbies and other family commitments, there are often times when we fail to just stop and take five minutes for ourselves.
We have become so used to this hectic race that we have even at times forgotten how to just stop. By simply taking ten to fifteen minutes each day to relax we can substantially reduce stress and anxiety.
3. Plan Your Day
By planning your activities, your work schedule and relationships, you will be much better prepared to embrace any stressful issues that may arise and ultimately reduce the amount of uncontrollable issues that may arise during our day. By being in control, you are more inclined to remain focused whilst performing your daily tasks. Undoubtedly, you will still incur unexpected events; therefore, it is important to be prepared to make changes to your plans.
Allow for a degree of flexibility. When things arise that are of importance to you, you must deal with these straight away. Avoidance or procrastination can lead to an increased level of anxiety and stress. Some people have found it extremely beneficial to carry an appointment book with them, therefore diminishing the risk of forgetting important obligations.
Lace up those running shoes! Exercising regularly is a great way to relieve stress, by providing us with a boost of happy endorphins. Anything from running to yoga can help ease our stress levels. We also breathe a lot more effectively while we exercise. This added oxygen allows our brains to access positivity a lot easier than when it’s starved of oxygen. You’ll perform loads better!
Exercise can also improve your sleep, which can become disrupted by stress and anxiety. As an added bonus, it provides us with time to think and focus on other things in our life.
Sometimes a good chat with a close friend can prove useful in the reduction of stress and anxiety. By speaking with a trusted friend we can gain a much clearer perspective on our issues, which enables us to become more relaxed. You’ll be able to manage stress much better if you have other people helping and supporting you. Also keep in mind that you’re friends might be going through a tough time and trying not to let it show. A simple and sincere “How are you?” can make a huge difference to someone.
6. Avoid Negative People
Where possible, surround yourself with people who support you. Avoid spending more time than is necessary with people who continually put you down, as this will contribute to your level of anxiety.
Negative people drag you down and steal your own positivity. Why spend time with people who make you feel your worst when you could spend time with people who bring out the best in you.
7. Positive Thinking
Studies have indicated that people who engage in positive thinking suffer from lower levels of stress than those who have more negative thinking habits. By engaging in negative thought patterns and negative self-talk we are fueling our level of anxiety.
Positive thinking does not mean that we simply ignore life’s troubles, it means approaching such difficult situations with a positive and productive attitude. It involves analyzing the situation, identifying it for what it is but not allowing ourselves to see it being worse than it actually is. We then must be productive in finding a way to improve the situation so it becomes what we would like it to be.
8. Adopt a Healthy Diet
It is very important to maintain a nutritionally balanced diet. This is crucial for both our health and lifestyle. Researchers have highlighted that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can contribute to anxiety. Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sweets, which can worsen symptoms of stress.
Learning to use these techniques on a day to day basis will significantly reduce the impact has on your mind and body. Don’t just take our word for it, try it now and see!
9. Breathe Deeply
By taking a minimum of ten minutes a day to engage in deep breathing, we can prevent ourselves from being consumed by the stresses of life. By breathing in and out deeply and slowly, we are improving the oxygen supply in our body. This enables us to get out of the fight or flight mode. When the body is stressed our heart rate and blood pressure is increased. Our breathing is more rapid. Breathing deeply allows these to decrease and return to a more relaxed stage.
10. Listen to Music
Research has shown that by listening to music can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Listening to relaxing music or sounds such as the ocean can be extremely beneficial for your mind.
If you liked those tips then check out this video on combatting stress: