Stress is everywhere. It is an inescapable part of our daily lives that we rarely, if ever, escape from. Prolonged periods of stress can have negative effects on both the mind and body including: anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and an overall weakened immune system. Learning to manage the amount of stress in our lives is essential in reducing its strain on our bodies.
There are a variety of ways one can manage stress in their daily life. The key to managing stress is finding what works for you specifically and sticking to it. While there are many different activities that can help manage stress, certain activities have been found to be more generally effective. Listed below are five ways the you can manage your stress levels.
1. Eliminate the Stressor
This may seem like an obvious solution, however often times the source of stress is not something that can simply be ignored. If the stressor is something that can be eliminated, this solution is an easy one. If, on the other hand, it cannot be eliminated entirely, at least take a temporary break from it. Even taking a short break of twenty minutes from something causing excess stress has been found to be beneficial. The short time you allow yourself away from this factor allows you a fresh perspective and a moment to simply relax.
This is another solution that is well-known, and has many emotional and physical benefits. While there are extensive benefits to a well-thought out, intensive exercise routine, not all exercise has to be intensive to reduce your stress levels. Even short, calming walks or an impromptu dance party in your cubicle are enough to reduce the anxiety caused by stress.
3. Be Social
When you feel like you are struggling with a situation, it is important to reach out to somebody you know and trust. Talking about the things that stress you is a good way to release pent-up emotions and help you find clarity in your situation. By talking with a close personal friend or relative, you can also receive emotional support and validation, which are important in times of great stress. If you are able, you should also try to laugh, as laughter releases endorphins and has been proven to improve your mood.
4. Use Guided Imagery
Guided imagery is a meditation technique that uses images accompanied by soothing music to create a stress releasing experience. Recent studies have found that looking at pleasant images can have a calming effect on the body, therefore the images used are intended to evoke feelings of calmness, happiness, or general contentedness.
5. Talk Yourself Through It
Sometimes you need to remember to simply support yourself. Think out loud and tell yourself why you’re stressed out and what you can do about it. Sometimes talking out loud helps your brain figure out resolutions to an issue or, at the very least, makes you feel lighter. Also, positive self-talk is a great way of motivating yourself to maintain a positive attitude about a particularly stressful situation.