Let’s face it…we all have stress. I know I sure do.
Sometimes, we simply have a situation like a job interview, sometimes it’s just been a busy and overwhelming day, and occasionally we are dealing with a situation over time that causes the stress to last and for days of overwhelm bleed into one another, until we start to forget how to be relaxed!
Long drawn out stress or constant stress can really do a number on you. It affects your sleep (hello 3 am!) , your body (ugh..belly fat!) and your moods. It decreases your focus and concentration. Prolonged stress can affect your desire to do things you normally enjoy (going out, hobbies, sex). It makes you fatigued and more inclined to get and stay sick. Oh, and it causes wrinkles…yuck!
My point? You have to do something to alleviate the stress in your body and mind or you will be unhealthy.
Many of the tips below can apply to all different types of stress, although I’d perhaps wait to exercise til after your job interview.
Stress busting tips.
1. Exercise. Many of the chemicals and hormones released from our stress reaction comes from the old response called fight or flight. Back in the day we needed this to boost our ability to survive encounters with the not-so-friendly environment. Now, we usually can’t run away nor physically challenge that which is giving us stress. At least not without medical or police intervention. The best way to get rid of this type of stress is to exercise.
2. Being Mindful. Pay attention to how you are feeling emotionally and how your body is reacting. Are you tensing up the muscles in your neck? Is your stomach twisting in knots? Are you getting angry and moody? Being mindful comes without judgment, it is simply accepting and exploring how your body is reacting and how you are feeling breath by breath.
Before you can do anything about your stress you need to look at it, know it and acknowledge it. Sometimes this alone can help bring the stress value down a little.
3. Choose how you react. If you have been paying attention to my blog for a while you know I strongly believe in choice. We are in command and we get to choose how we life this life. Sure, sometimes our emotions are very strong and we need to feel these before we can move through them; but we don’t have to let them dictate how we react to life.
We choose what we think about. I am a huge advocate of living from Gratitude. Try blessing a situation and focusing on the things you do have to be grateful for and see how your stress decreases. Focusing on what stresses you out all of the time only serves to build it up.
4. Make a plan. This is one of my favourite things to do when I have a very stressful situation. The way a plan might look will depend upon your needs and the situation of course, but I find putting it down on paper incredibly releasing. Sometimes we feel we just dont’ know what to do or how to do it. The act of creating a plan itself gives us a feeling of taking control and that is an important step.
It also organizes our thoughts and gets them out of the circling stress ball we create in our heads. It’s been my experience as well that once we take an objective look at things they are rarely so hopeless or scary as we first thought. Consider trying a brainstorming session, a step by step plan, mind map or simply letting your feelings flow out onto the paper.
5. Take a break from it all. Yup. Turn off the phone, tv, computer and do something else that will give you a mental and physical break from what is stressing you out. Go dancing, read a favourite book, hike a trail, volunteer…whatever gets you a break. You need to let yourself have these times off or you will burn out.
6. Find support. Depending on your needs you might look for a friend to listen or you might want to seek professional help to sort it out. People…we are not meant to go through this life alone. Stop martyr-ing yourself and allow others to give you a hand up. Ideas? Try your doctor, online groups, friends, or even a Coach.
7. Have a laugh. There is no rule book for life. Therefore, there is no rule that just because life is handing you some crappy cards you must be miserable everywhere and in every aspect of your life. Put your worries in time out and find the joyful gifts you have been given; laugh when things are funny, smile because you still can.
8. Meditate and/or deep breathing exercises. Not everyone feels super comfortable with meditating, and sometimes it isn’t really viable. Still, it is a practice I really urge you to pick up. Can’t or not sure? Try some deep breathing exercises. These are milder version of meditation and in a wonderful twist of events breathing is done everywhere and so you can also do these types of exercises just about anywhere!
What do you do to help reduce stress in your life? Everyone has their own tricks and tips. Please share yours!
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