10 Ways to Stress-Free Living
A Guide to Help You Achieve Freedom from Stress and Emotional Well-Being
Stressed out? Sometimes, taking out stress can be as simple as making a few changes in our lifestyle. Try these tips on for size:
Plan ahead. Make a to-do list and arrange it by putting the most important task on top of the list. Then, from there, try to cut back on the things that you do in a day. Do not bite off more than you can chew. Don't try to pack more into your day than you can cope with comfortably.
Take things one at a time. Finish the most important task before you tackle the next one.
Watch what you're thinking. Your outlook, attitude, and thoughts influence the way you see things. Is your glass half full or half empty? A healthy dose of optimism can help you make the best of stressful circumstances. Even if you're out of practice, or tend to be a bit of a pessimist, you can learn to think more optimistically and reap the benefits.
Take regular breaks. Short rests between periods of concentrated mental effort, particularly when you are frustrated with a project or are unable to move forward, can be refreshing and help you to refocus. Five minutes of each hour or 15 minutes every two hours allows a more manageable pace.
Stop living beyond your means. Living beyond your means can actually make you sick. A researcher at the University of Alabama studied British census data on 8,000 households and found that families that tried to maintain lifestyles they couldn't afford were likely to have health problems.
Sit up straight. A good upright posture improves breathing and increases blood flow to the brain. We often slouch when stressed, which restricts breathing and blood flow and can magnify feelings of helplessness.
Learn to recognize your own symptoms of stress. These may include irritability, sleeplessness, social and/or sexual withdrawal, loss of interest in activities, and lack of appetite.
Talk about stressful events to a friend or spouse before you reach a breaking point. If you can, let go and cry. Like talking, crying externalizes pent-up feelings and may reduce the risk of stress-related illness. If you need extra help, seek counseling from a mental health professional.
Identify the sources of your stress. This gives you more choice in how you react. If necessary, make a note of the circumstances, and see if a pattern emerges. As you delve deeper, you are more likely to discover the root of your problem. This will allow you to solve it at the deepest, most effective level.
Cultivate an optimistic attitude. Don't talk yourself into believing that you can't cope.
Solve the little problems. Learning to solve everyday problems can give you a sense of control. But avoiding them can leave you feeling like you have little control and that just adds to stress. Develop skills to calmly look at a problem, figure out options, and take some action toward a solution. Feeling capable of solving little problems builds the inner confidence to move on to life's bigger ones - and it and can serve you well in times of stress.
And, the best way to relieve stress is to maintain a good sense of humor no matter how sticky the situation gets. Learning some relaxation techniques like imagery and meditation can also help you get through it all.
© 2007 Shanti Rose