Stress. We all deal with it. Whether it arises from our jobs, family life, drama with friends, a relationship problem, or finances, stress is there. While a little stress is good for you, allowing you to grow physically and mentally, excessive and chronic stress is harmful. Prolonged stress can even lead to tension headaches and other health problems that limit your functioning at work, at school and in your relationships. Rather than letting your stress take over your life, try some methods of stress-management that you can apply to prevent and deal with stress before it jeopardizes your health.
Accept that stress is unavoidable. You can take steps to reduce your stress and learn how to cope with stress, but you will never be able to completely rid of stress. Stress serves a purpose as a healthy response to overwhelming stimuli or perceived threats, and it can be dealt with in an equally healthy fashion.
- Stress that may be unavoidable include school work and exams,busy days at work, new babies, getting married, or moving. Some of these are actually good things, but can still be a source of stress in your life.
- Learning healthy stress management techniques can help you"turn off" your stress alarm system so that you are not in a constant state of stress as you move through life.
Avoid stress when you can. Seems obvious, right? Sometimes staying away from what is stressing you out is harder than it sounds. If you know a particular person or activity is the origin of your stress, cut them or it out of your life, or limit your exposure as much as possible. There are at least seven culprits of unnecessary stress; beware of falling prey to these issues.
- Stressing about money you have spent (e.g. overspending at the mall, lending money to family or friends, etc.)
- Having clutter in your home or office space
- Being pessimistic
- Being late
- Spending too much time comparing your life to others' on social media
- Waiting until the last minute to complete a task
- Ruminating about past events
Be better organized. Oftentimes, stress arises from feeling overwhelmed. Use a planner to keep track of your"to-do lists". Clean your desk and visit Pinterest to find useful ways to manage your paperwork and household chores. Being organized and getting your priorities straight can help you break responsibilities down into manageable pieces and focus on the things that really matter to you.
Learn to say "no". You cannot do everything you are asked, so why keep pretending that you can? Indeed, the more you promise and don't deliver, the fewer people will perceive you as being reliable. Instead, be assertive and learn to say "no" politely, but firmly. Keep track of your schedule to clearly acknowledge when you do not have the time or resources to take on extra tasks.
- Assertive people maintain eye contact; speak in a clear and non-threatening tone while standing up for themselves. If you know that you are already overbooked, say so. It's okay to say "no" when you do it in away that also respects others.
- Some people take on too much out of fear of missing out on new and exciting opportunities. Yet, they end up not performing as well as they would because they are dividing their energies between so many different tasks or activities. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of new obligations, and decide if the effort will be worth it considering your current workload.
Learn how to delegate. As with trying to do everything, never delegating is about you trying to have control and not trusting that others can do their job as well as you can. Learn to let go by giving more credence to the abilities of others. Giving up tasks may seem stressful in theory, but will free you up for more personal time. Find reliable people in your life that you can trust with tasks that you are too stressed or anxious to manage.
Listen to some music. Music has shown to have a very strong effect on mood and mental state. Calm yourself downy listening to your favorite soothing music. Although you may prefer heavy metal or rap, try listening to something a bit softer and slower for the best effects. Keeping music playing in the background while you work, study, or just go about your daily activities is a great way to subconsciously alter your stress levels.
- Researchers have found that music can change brain functioning in similar ways as medication. So, regular music really can help to"cure" stress and anxiety.
Change your environment. If making little changes isn’t enough to cheer you up, try moving to a completely new place for a bit. If work or studying is too difficult in your office or at home, relocate to a cozy coffee shop or a park. Having a new environment will help you to move your thoughts away from your stress, and give you a chance to breathe and recover from your anxiety.
Talk to new people. It's possible the people you talk to are stress. Don't completely take them out of your life, but try meeting some different folks. They can offer a new perspective nothings you never even thought about, or get you involved in new stress-reducing activities.