“Stress should be a powerful driving force, not an obstacle.”
I’m starting to notice that managing stress plays a huge role in our lives. It influences our motivation levels, what we get accomplished, how we feel, and how happy we are on a daily basis.
I’m learning how to effectively manage stress as I juggle personal relationships, a career, school, the blog, public speaking, and the gym – all while trying to keep up on everyday tasks and allowing myself time to relax!
Think of the last goal you didn’t accomplish. Did you really not have the time? Was it really too difficult or not for you? Or was it stress that pushed you off course?
Stress arises when we encounter something we feel we cannot cope with. It is a physical or emotional response to a situation. And is often described as feeling overwhelmed, worried, or run down.
A little stress here and there can be good. It can give us the boost we need to get through difficult situations or meet important deadlines. But chronic stress can be emotionally overwhelming and damage our mind and body.
Left untreated, chronic stress can have a negative impact on our health. It increases our risk for depression, heart disease, and obesity.
Effects of stress on the body:
- Clinching Jaws
- Grinding Teeth
- Muscle Pain
- High Blood Pressure
- Weakened Immune System
We need to find healthy, positive ways of managing stress. We all know what works for us. It’s not really a matter of more information, just a change in attitude. We need to be more aware and make ourselves a priority.
5 Simple Steps to Take When You’re Feeling Stressed
1) Take a break
The last time something had me stressed, I spent an hour trying to force my way through it instead of taking a 15 minute break and coming back refreshed.
It can be difficult to break from something on your mind, but putting too much pressure on yourself can also lead to feeling overwhelmed.
Sure things have to get done, but give yourself permission to take a step back sometimes. You’ll return with more energy and a renewed perspective.
Also, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you start your day with too much on your plate. Set priorities and control the amount of time you’re spending on things.
If releasing pent up energy isn’t enough, the research now supporting the positive effects of exercise on stress management and mental health is now substantial.
Exercise has terrific long term benefits and the good news is that it doesn’t have to be anything drawn out or high intensity.
A 20 minute walk can have an immediate impact on a stressful day.
Get up, get outside, get some fresh air, and calm your mind.
Also, if you enjoy talking on the phone, you can take care of #3 while on your walk.
How many times have you skipped a social outing or ignored phone calls from your family or friends during a stressful time? I made a habit of this and found that it only adds more negativity to my day.
We need social support. Go talk, smile, and laugh with people. Answer those calls and share your concerns. You’ll almost certainly have a good time and it will provide necessary time free of distraction and discursive thinking.
Don’t be put off by spooky assumptions people make about mediation.
We are consistently less happy when our minds are wandering. Meditation is simply a way to find relief from this suffering and bring ourselves back to the present moment.
Mindfulness meditation promotes many elements of physical and mental health. It can help you relax, focus, cultivate self-compassion and forgiveness, release negative emotions, and completely transform your mental state.
Additionally, it should come as no surprise that people correlate the practice with a feeling of greater subjective well-being.
Even a brief 5 minute meditation on your lunch break can make a huge difference in your day.
Chronic sleep deprivation has become an epidemic in our society.
We absolutely need a good night’s sleep to function at our best.
Sleep disturbance has very noticeable effects on mental performance. We’re more irritable, anxious, and less patient when we aren’t sleeping enough. We’re also more likely to overeat.
We can’t expect to function at our best while constantly rushing around an impersonal world with less sleep and relax time while relying on caffeine and sugary beverages.
Winding down and relaxing at night can be challenging, but your mind and body will thank you for making sleep a priority.
How do you manage stress? Please leave a comment!
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