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Stress Management: Handy Methods to Minimize Your Stress
Adequate amount of stress keeps us moving forward, but excessive stress can cripple our mental and physical health. Many ended up smoking, consuming alcohol or even worse, getting themselves addicted to drugs. How to handle your stress properly and healthily? Or better say, what can you do when you feel overwhelmed?
Do bribe yourself once in a while.
One of the most stressful time of the day for most people are during their working hours or school hours. Long hours spent at your study/work table can be so stressful to the point that you feel your brain worn out. That being said, you should feel free to appreciate and celebrate your own effort; this can be done by awarding yourself AFTER you have accomplished a major goal or took a giant step closer to your goal.
Here are some ways to "bribe" yourself, for example:
a) play a game;
b) buy yourself something that you have been longing to own;
c) sleep in till the afternoon;
d) go on a day trip;
e) watch a movie at the theatre;
f) eat out with a best friend in a fancy restaurant/café......
There is of course a lot more to add on since we all have different lifestyle preferences. Feel free to leave your comment below to tell us the way you handle stress.
Think less about risks.
Risks and "what ifs" can intimidate people and as a result, exposes them to a greater magnitude of stress. Too much what ifs will prompt one to give up even before they begin carrying out commitments to achieve their goal. Of course, i am not telling you to stop thinking about risks (human brains are meant for thinking) ; every decision we made are accompanied by a certain level of risks and these should be taken into your due consideration, but do not overthink about the "what ifs". You know you are overthinking when risks stops you or diverts you from your path to achieve an ultimate goal. Try to take a step back and think in a more positive and optimistic way, by having just slightly more confidence and you will surely accomplish more under less pressure.
Keep a journal.
Some of you may already have the habit of journal writing and this is indeed a very good habit in coping with pressure. As for those "lazy bones" who think journal writing is a difficult and time-consuming thing to do, there are a lot of ways we can make journal writing quick and easy!
Journal writing can help relaying all your stress into your diary. Nowadays we don't have to write long journals, and we don't even have to write by hand thanks to the abundance of journal writing apps. All I do for journal writing is that i round up my day with a couple of sentences describing how I feel. For instance, once when i was to sit for a major exam, i wrote on my journal "Exams coming up tomorrow. Have done all i can, invested all my effort, but i understand examination is a sure-lose investment. I invested 100% of my effort by the result will always turn out to be less than 100%, or at most, 100%". Such brief diary is enough to express and relay your stress. By putting away all your stress into a diary, not only will you feel mentally relieved but you are also all set to move on further to a new height at work or at school.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter present in our blood platelets. Its main function is to regulate our mood and stress level. Low level of serotonin can be associated with depression, hence it is important that we "absorb" enough sunlight to maintain an adequate level of serotonin. Doctors suggest that getting 30minutes of sunshine a day can help increase serotonin to the recommended level.
Do feel free to go under the sun.
A clear, sunny weather can improve our mood in general, which will, as a result, lower our stress level by a significant amount. Walking or lying under the sun can also help calming down our thoughts besides providing us some vitamin synthesis crucial to our body. A Research conducted by Melbourne's Baker Heart Research Institute reveals that the level of serotonin in our blood (see complementary knowledge) can be boosted via exposure under the sunlight. Higher level of serotonin will lead to better mood and lower stress.
You may take up some gardening jobs in your own backyard, plan for a morning workout or weekend outing so that you will have more chances to expose yourself under the sun. Remember, sunshine makes a difference!
- Still the Mind: Simple Breathing Practices for Inner Peace: Bodhipaksa: 9781591796831: Amazon.com: B
Still the Mind: Simple Breathing Practices for Inner Peace [Bodhipaksa] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A master meditation teacher presents a beginner's course for using the breathto quiet the mind in any life situation.
Human brains are like mobile devices, we continuously have minor thoughts accumulating in our brains (like how we have miscellaneous cache taking up our mobile phone's internal memory); over the long term, these millions of small little thoughts can contribute to the elevation of our stress level and lead to a congestion in our brain. The primary benefit of meditation is that it will clear our mind from all these "cache thoughts" and help to "reboot" our system.Many people think that meditation is something difficult and religious to do but it really isn't. Meditation doesn't necessarily mean you must to sit down with your legs crossed in an isolated room for a few hours. In fact, simple meditation can be done everywhere as long as it is a serene environment. It can even be done standing!
A very basic meditation requires you to switch all your focus to your breaths. All your thoughts must focus on the pace at which you inhale and exhale. First shut your eyes, then inhale deeply while counting for 10 seconds, hold your breathe for another 10 seconds, now exhale slowly and thoroughly for another 10 seconds. This means you will be able to do two sets of breathings in every minute. Make sure the air you inhale goes into your abdomen instead of your lungs (you are doing it right when you feel your abdomen expanding when you inhale). Inhaling into your abdomen means you are more relaxed, while breathing into your lungs means you are still very alerted. You will only need 10 minutes (20 sets of deep breaths) of meditating a day and you will feel the difference after practicing it for a week or so.
"Still the Mind: Simple Breathing Practices for Inner Peace" by Bodhipaksa will tell you more about meditating amid a busy lifestyle and situations of uncertainty. Of course, if you need something more that the basics, why not sign up for a yoga lesson?
How consistent is your bedtime?
Consistently abide to a punctual bedtime
"If we don’t get enough sleep, our ability to manage stress is compromised." wrote a wellness expert on Feel Good Look Great, a wellness website. A recent survey also reveals thatfatigue can lead to a drop in productivity to as much as 30%.
A person who had not sleep enough yet facing a huge amount of stress usually have a very mercurial temper (they can lash out at people anywhere, at anytime) and a pair of weary-looking eyes.
Your body is your asset that gives you the energy and the emotional stability in overcoming stress. If you or do not get enough sleep or do not sleep normally, health problems and depression can slowly turn your body from an asset into a liability. A normal adult needs a minimum 6 hours of high quality, undisturbed sleep a day to regenerate the energy consumed. It is therefore strongly recommended that you set a fixed bedtime everyday, let's say 11pm, and you must stop working on whatever task at hand 15 minutes prior to bedtime. The 15 minutes gap will allow you to relax a bit before going to bed so that you will fall asleep easier. You may utilise that brief gap to sip a cup of hot milk and to brush your teeth.
Mend strained family ties proactively.
Similar to our health, family is another asset that supports us spiritually and financially in our commitments. However, it is not unusual that conflicts can happen once in a while within a family. It is found that family conflict is another major source of stress which can adversely affect our performance and productivity at work. While family dispute is sometimes inevitable and strained ties may need time to heal, taking a proactive approach to settle the dispute and mend strained relationship is very important in helping to eliminate this unnecessary source of stress. Many households tend to close the door for dialogues and conversations whenever a misunderstanding occurs; this is in fact a very timid habit and will only prolong and worsen the situation, yet talking to each other is always the only available solution at times of such. Why not gather everyone to sit down at the dining table and speak out on how each of us expect to solve the dispute? After all we can't live together permanently in a place where we called home but at the same time having its members turning hostile against one another. Don't wait until the misunderstandings develop to the point where you find going home everyday becomes a challenging task! Solve yours today.
A short video clip to wrap up: How Stress Affects YOUR Brain
© 2014 Thomas Chan