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Want to Take Control of Your Stress? Here are 10 Stress-Reducing Tips!
Are you feeling overwhelmed with the responsibilities and tasks in your life? Perhaps you may be experiencing major challenges financially, physically, mentally, or emotionally. New changes can lead to anxiety and depression, if coping skills are not implemented during stressful times. Every situation is unique, and it’s best to consult with counselors, psychologists, life-coaches, and healthcare professionals who provide guidance and directions to meet your individual needs. Unexpected situations are inevitable, yet we can handle circumstances in ways that promote stress reduction. The key is to embrace wellness and wellbeing. Keeping an optimistic mindset, empowers individuals to take-on challenges that normally would have appeared as "stressors". We can be caught in the “storm” or better yet, we can decide to watch it from afar. Welcoming strategies for stress reduction, are lifelong tools that can be used in challenging times.
Read These 10 Stress-Reducing Tips!
1. Establish Healthy Habits & Rituals: Start introducing activities that bring about a sense of relaxation, and focus. Some examples include taking a warm shower, drinking a cup of tea, lighting candles, applying delightful fragrances, and introducing aromatherapy. Plan ahead and schedule a monthly massage, manicure, or pedicure. You may choose to take a daily walk in the park, smell the ocean breeze, or enjoy the sounds of nature in your surroundings. You decide how often to do these activities, and the times that are most beneficial. There is no limitation in creating healthy habits for stress reduction and wellness.
2. Stop Worrying: Only you can choose to stop negative thoughts. This doesn’t mean your thoughts and concerns are not valid, but we can choose the path of our thoughts. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of The Stress Reduction Clinic in the University of Massachusetts, shares clinical studies and advice on powerful ways of handling stress. Dr. Kabat-Zinn shares an insightful metaphor in his book Mindfulness for Beginners, stating that thoughts are like bubbles. He goes on to say thoughts are just thoughts that arise and go. I think that’s so amazing. Many times we make thoughts to be "the reality" and make decisions based on these thoughts. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn shares how thoughts can be seen as bubbles in the air. When negative thoughts arise, we can view them as bubbles or mere thoughts. The goal is to not entertain ideas or thoughts as the ultimate reality, but rather to see them as mere thoughts.
3. Limit Caffeine Intake: Aside from sodas and coffee, there are other products, which surprisingly are high in caffeine. Some caffeinated foods include hot coco, dark chocolate, caffeine flavored ice cream & yogurts, certain gums, energy drinks, and more. Also, various teas are highly caffeinated unless stated otherwise. Examples include black tea, yerba mate, white tea, green tea, and oolong tea. WebMd outlines highly caffeinated foods in their article, Caffeine Shockers: Products Surprisingly High in Caffeine.
4. Introduce Relaxation Techniques: There are many relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, exercises, breathing techniques, tai chi, and others. WebMd has a great article titled, 10 Relaxation Techniques that Zap Stress Fast, that provides tips on ways to relax and reduce stress.
5. Invest in a Motivational Boost: We can all use a positive perk, especially when stress wants to creep-in. Some ideas include printing a list of motivational quotes, inspirational CD's & movies, and books related to stress triggers (e.g. ways to prevent road rage, emotional intelligence, how to handle change and unexpected circumstances, etc.). The key is to feel uplifted and inspired after listening or reading some of these materials! It's an simple and quick way of re-charging your energy, and a clear perspective on the situation at hand.
6. Laugh: The power of laughter is priceless! Think of something that brings you joy. Perhaps it's a funny movie, a comedy show, or a particular speaker who brightens your day. Laughter is the Best Medicine, is a great resource article which outlines the health benefits of laughter. Next time stress levels rise, take a moment to think of something funny. A simple thought can make a difference.
7. Monitor Your Nutrition: During stressful times everything else seems more important than our own needs. This is not the case for everyone, but it is common when outside stressors are dominating our thoughts. Keeping watch over your nutrition and health is crucial during stress, as the immune system tends to weaken making individuals more susceptible to illness. Try having small frequent meals that are rich in Vitamin C, protein, and calcium. These ingredients help boost your immune system, maintain a healthy weight, and promote bone health. Carrying to-go snacks such as bananas, granola, peanuts, apples, and cereal, are great ways to preserve your energy, prevent fatigue, and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
8. Create a Schedule: Planing and scheduling activities helps with organizational skills and stress-relief. There are many options such as calendars, planners, electronic scheduling devices, alert systems, and more. These are great ways of managing a busy schedule, and from over-committing in different areas.
9. Make a Priority to Sleep: During stress people get busy thinking, doing, and planning. More often than not, sleep time is postponed until the point of mental and physical exhaustion. This creates a cycle of energy depletion that contributes to even more stress. Plan activities that require less mental and physical energy for the evening, and create a healthy habit such as reading or knitting, that promote relation before bedtime.
10. Alternative Health Options: There are over-the-counter (OTC) products that help reduce stress such as vitamins and herbal teas. Always consult with their physicians prior to taking any OTC products. Some of these products have the potential to counteract the effects of medications. There are several stress reducing products available in the market including vitamin B-complex, and teas such as chamomile, lavender, peppermint, and lemon balm.
*The information discussed in this article is for educational purposes only. Please consult with your health care provider prior to implementing any suggestions listed in this article.