HOW TO MANAGE STRESS LEVELS
Stress and the results of stress are literally killing us. Stress-related diseases are the UK's biggest killers, causing heart disease, stroke and many other health problems. It also contributes significantly to mental health problems such as anxiety-related depression.
The good news is that there are many things you can do to relieve stress. Some of these are very simple and easy to do, while others may require more effort. But all of them are worth it because they can help you feel better and enjoy your life more.
USE DISTRACTION TECHNIQUES
One of the best techniques to deal with stress is to distract yourself from whatever is causing it. If you're stressed at work, take a break and walk outside. If an upcoming event makes you anxious, try watching a funny movie or reading a good book.
Distraction works well with children and can be a valuable tool for adults, but be careful distraction doesn't end up as procrastination. See more on procrastination below.
BE ACTIVELY ACTIVE
One of the quickest methods to relieve stress is through exercise and physical activity. Endorphins, hormones that make you feel happy and at peace, are released as a result.
Even if you don't have time for a full workout, a quick jog around the block might help you decompress and relieve tension.
One of the most stressful things in life is feeling like you're not in control. If you're feeling overwhelmed by a situation, try to take some time to assess what's happening at that moment and what you can do about it.
Find out the facts about what is making you feel anxious and stressed out. If your problem is debt, contact your bank or a debt counsellor. If you're stressed about an upcoming meeting or event, try to plan and prepare as much as possible to feel in control.
WRITE A DIARY OR A POEM
Writing can be therapeutic, a way of dealing with stress. You can use it to air your frustrations, make plans and gain clarity about what's going on in your life.
If you're not sure what to write about, try prompts such as:
- What are the three things that are stressing me out the most?
- What are the three things I'm most grateful for?
- What are three things I could do to make my situation better?
TAKE A BREAK, GET A CHANGE OF SCENERY
The best way to manage stress is often to change the scenery and take a rest bite from whatever is causing it. If you're feeling stressed in the office, try taking a few days off or working from home for a day.
If you're stressed about your personal life, take a weekend trip or spend some time with friends and family. Occasionally, all you need is a different perspective, some time away from the source of your stress, to feel better.
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN TO THINK POSITIVELY
One of the biggest contributors to stress-related anxiety is negative thinking. You'll feel stressed out if you constantly worry about things that could go wrong. Instead, try to train your brain to think more positively.
When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, stop and try to think of something positive instead. Positivity will help you to feel less stressed and more optimistic.
There are many different neuro-relaxation techniques that you can use to reduce stress. Some of these include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises. These techniques work by helping you to focus on your breathing and to clear your mind of stress-inducing thoughts.
Neuro-relaxation teaches your body how to relax, which can help to reduce stress and improve your overall health.
However, the truth is that all the creative methods in the world can’t beat modern technology, and the best technology available comes in the form of cognitive training devices.
Cognitive training devices are based on applied neuroscience, and neurotechnology focuses on sound and visual stimulation to interact with the nervous system.
Combining the technology with neurofeedback and biofeedback, neurotechnology provides greater insight into the nervous system and brain activity with a positive outcome for stressed-out individuals. Read more here.
PRODUCTIVITY TO KILL PROCRASTINATION
Procrastination is one of the giant feeders of stress. You will feel overwhelmed and stressed if you're constantly putting off things you need to do.
Investigation into why people procrastinate reveals that procrastination or putting things off is a self-protection method. It allows people to avoid the stress and anxiety of having to do something they don't want or are afraid of doing.
Instead, try to be proactive, give yourself a deadline to get things done, and make a plan of action. Putting plans into action will help you avoid procrastination and reduce stress.
GET A DOG OR BORROW ONE
Dogs are known for their ability to relieve stress. They provide unconditional love and support, which can be very helpful when you're feeling stressed out. If you don't have an animal of your own, consider borrowing one from a friend or family member.
Just spending some time with a furry friend can help to reduce your stress levels. The cat goes for cats. If you don't have space for an animal, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter.
Ask for help, and tell the people around you that you're struggling. More now than ever, it's okay not to be okay. Be kind to yourself. You're doing the best that you can.
The methods mentioned are just some of the ways that you can manage stress. Everyone is different, so find what works best for you and stick with it.
Remember, the goal is to reduce stress, not eliminate it entirely. A little bit of stress can actually be a good thing. It's what motivates us to get things done.
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