Tips to help you take control of stress
It seems like being stressed is a badge of honour these days. The more we do, the more we feel like we’re “winning” at life.
But there are good reasons to reduce stress in your life.
Stress is not worth the long-term pain it will cause you if you don’t find healthy ways to manage it.
Here are 12 ways to reduce stress in your life and make you feel calm and in control.
What purpose does stress serve?
From an evolutionary standpoint, some stress is a good thing. Nothing is worse for the human body and mind than stagnation, so a bit of stress keeps us on our toes.
When we are stressed, we are primed to take action. The benefits of tapping into our adrenalin to escape from danger served as a survival mechanism.
But in modern society, we are unable to literally run away from our problems, like we would have back in caveman days.
The side-effects of too much stress
Chronic stress is a big problem in many people’s lives.
But also consider the emotional impact of always worrying and being tense.
If you’re in a stressed state, it’s very difficult to experience happiness, gratitude and joy.
So by living under chronic stress means compromising all the relationships around you.
How can you give your best to your work, your partner or your children if you feel permanently frazzled?
12 ways to reduce stress in your life
Many people are stressed out because they are doing too much. To reclaim control, give up as many tasks as you can that don’t require you to do them.
For instance, get your family to help tidy up the house instead of you doing all the cleaning on your own.
At work, see where you can assign work to someone else or tackle projects in collaboration with a dependable colleague to take some of the pressure off your back.
Take your leave
Almost all Type-A personalities rarely take a break. If you find that you have tons of unclaimed annual leave days owing to you, consider taking some of them.
It’s important to priorities rest and self-care, otherwise, you run the risk of becoming burned out.
Connect with others
To switch you out of a stressed mindset, it helps to spend time with people who are happy and full of life. Surround yourself with people who pick up your spirits and make you laugh.
While we do need close friends that we can confide in and share our burdens with, it also helps to spend time with people who are carefree.
You don’t need to discuss your burdens with everyone, because it will bring down the vibe of the group.
Decide that you will spend time in the company of some happy people and you will not discuss your problems at all. See how their joyful attitude rubs off on you.
You might even be able to go a few hours without thinking of your problems at all, which is a welcome break for your mind.
We cannot overemphasise the importance of meditation for calming a busy mind.
It’s not easy to sit still for a period of time but even 10 minutes twice a day has the power to reduce stress in your life.
Feeling stressed out is an emotional experience but it’s influenced by the physical.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to exercise regularly. Pick something that you can commit to doing regularly.
You might prefer going for a gentle walk or perhaps a kickboxing class is the best way to vent your pent up energy.
The key is consistency and not to be hard on yourself.
We couldn’t talk about stress and exercise without also mentioning food.
When we’re stressed, we might find ourselves tossing and turning all night.
Insomnia is a big problem because sleep is when our body heals and restores itself.
Practice good sleep hygiene to help ensure a restful night’s sleep.
Some ideas to help improve your sleep:
- Avoid TV/scrolling on your phone for 1 hour before bed
- Eat a light supper (nothing rich and spicy)
- Don’t drink too much liquid 2 hours before bedtime
- Dim the lights around bedtime to trigger “sleepy” mode
- Wear clean, comfortable pyjamas
- Meditate for 10 minutes before bedtime
- Don’t start any stimulating conversations with your partner/kids
If you get into a routine of following some of the above tips, you will train your body and your mind to get into a relaxed state before bed.
Spend time with animals
There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a furry friend to push your worries aside. Playing with a kitten or cuddling your dog can be soothing for both you and the pet.
Listen to music
If you are prone to overthinking and overanalysing, use music to reduce stress in your life.
Set a happy, upbeat tune to start your day with while you get ready for work. Sing along and immerse yourself in the beat.
During your commute, you can listen to an ebook or more uplifting music. Please don’t drown your sorrows in dark, depressing music that can trigger unhappy feelings in you.
Go for a massage
To relieve some of the physical symptoms of stress, a massage is in order.
We tend to tense up when we feel overwhelmed, causing tight shoulders and back muscles. Swedish massages and hot stone massages are good choices to relieve tight, tense muscles.
Do something nice for someone else
When we are going through a difficult time, it can be challenging to think about anything else. We get caught up and wrapped up in our drama, so much so that we barely consider anything or anyone else around us.
Doing acts of kindness for other people is one way to reduce stress in your life, because it takes the focus off your problems.
Plus, it feels really good to help others and this triggers the release of the feel-good hormone, Dopamine.
When we do something nice for others, it’s a win-win for both parties.
Talk it out
If your stress levels reach unmanageable levels, you owe it to yourself to seek help.
Talk to a therapist or doctor so that you can find strategies to reduce stress in your life.
It’s all too easy for a challenging time to lead to chronic stress which, if it doesn’t let up, can cause depression.
Don’t undervalue your worth. Find someone you can talk to, even if it’s just a trusted friend.
The takeaway on how to reduce stress in your life
We all go through periods of stress, it’s part of being human. The problem is when our stress is never-ending and we feel as though our lives are out of our control.
But we hope we’ve shown you that there is a lot you can do to reduce stress in your life.
These tips can help you feel strong and empowered to take on any challenge you may face.