Stressed? Here’s how to beat it.
Who doesn’t feel stressed these days? From family illnesses to divorces, from job interviews to having kids, and from moving houses to losing loved ones, things stress you out. Stress keeps you up at night, it interferes with your duties at work, and it robs you of your deserved happiness. How does one deal with all the stress and still continues to function? Here’s a few helpful tips.
Make a list and check it twice.
One helpful strategy is to make a list of all the stressors in your life—issues, worries and concerns, everything from the real pressing problems to minor pesky annoyances. For some people just admitting that they have problems can be relieving—because pretending that they don’t have any problems can be stressful too. Once you have the list, divide it into two categories, “Nuisance” and “Serious.” Simply making such categories can help you clear your mind—you may realize you actually have fewer things to worry about than you thought. You may realize you’re stressing out over something that’s not really all that important—and that would help alleviate some of your stress. You may also realize that many things that worry you are out of your control—so you may as well stop thinking about them. Switch your attention to the problems you have control over and can solve. The next step would be to zero-in on the small pesky issues because many little problems can actually be causing more stress than one big issue. Prioritize these little issues and figure out how to eliminate each one. Most small stressors have easy solutions that are usually within your control. Once you’ve cleared the small problems, you can focus on attacking the big ones in a similar fashion. Put together a plan of action, proceed accordingly, and you may actually eliminate some of your stressors reasonably quickly.
Analyze what causes stress in your life. Perhaps some of your stressors are due to your unrealistic expectations. Life is often full of too many demands and too little time to fulfill them. If you feel that way, it’s time to start divesting yourself of some of your obligations. It may not be your fault that you’re not able to keep up with everything you want to do and achieve—it may be simply impossible. Re-examine your goals and values, and adjust them, if necessary. Quite often changing your pace and simplifying your life reduces stress drastically. Stay realistic about you can and cannot control. Learn to stop worrying about things that are out of your control, or out of your area of expertise, or out of your reach. Let others worry about what you can’t make happen, but keep your levels of self-confidence up. You can’t please everyone so you don’t always have to meet the expectations or demands of other people. Be realistic about what you say “yes” to. Sometimes saying “no” can save you a lot of stress.
Healthy Means Happy.
The other important strategy is positive thinking and healthy well-being. No matter how stressful life may get, always try to be positive and optimistic. Stay focused on your health—physical well-being affects your emotional state. Get rid of bad habits, including those that you may think help you deal with stress—like smoking or drinking. Nicotine and alcohol are stimulants, they create a false feeling of reliving stress, but they can actually exacerbate it, and cause more stress symptoms. Even food binging can be dangerous. Overeating and comfort eating can lead to health problems which only cause more stress. So will exhaustion. Make sure to get enough physical rest. You should be sleeping about eight hours a day. Some people need an uninterrupted night sleep to feel rested, others need an afternoon nap. Find what strategy works for you and incorporate it into your lifestyle. Besides physical rest, find some time to just relax and “chill” every day. Whether it’s listening to music, reading or jogging, find what relaxes you and make sure to fit into your schedule—for a little as half an hour a day. Exercising is the next stress-fighting step. Find the type of exercise you like and do it as often as you can. Exercise releases endorphins—the natural body chemicals that make you feel better and happier. Yoga, meditation and dance classes can stress-relieving. Lastly, figure out how to have fun. Whether it’s going out to eat, socializing with people or seeing a movie, find activities that fill you with joy and happiness and make sure you do them regularly.
And finally, don’t forget about vitamins and supplements which can also reduce stress and help you cope. Stress can cause hormone imbalances and other physiological problems, but a proper vitamin cocktail will help you alleviate the symptoms, uplift your moods, make you stronger—and aid you in overcoming stress.