There are hundreds of positive things you can do to help reduce the effects of stress on your life. Here are some of our current favorites:
1. Own Your Stress
Sometimes we stress about our stress, blowing the situation up to be 10 times worse than it is. Seriously! The judgment (perception) of a stressful situation or emotion is usually more upsetting than the original issue, because most people tend to play the what-if game. People often think the problem is the end of the world with no way out; yet possible solutions usually do exist.
- If you’re stressed, own the fact you’re stressed, accept it, and face it head on! You’re meant to experience all sorts of emotions in life, including the stress, which can also have positive impacts on you. Personal growth usually comes from getting through stress causing situations. STRESS is the root of all disease and can cause inflammation in your body. The feelings of STRESS come from your perception of a situation and perceptions can change.
- Accept stress and the challenges it presents by finding a way to channel the emotions in a positive direction, such as outcome-based thinking. This is where you say, “I don’t like this situation. I feel awful. What do I want it to be like instead? Decide what outcome you want and ask How do I want to feel instead?” Next make a logical list of how to get past the stressor.
- You need to look out for yourself and balance your reactions and thoughts to the severity of each situation. Are you an over reactor who thrives on drama? If so, this may not be serving you well. Look for solutions and opportunities to shift how you normally react by not allowing yourself to react without thought.
- Step back and look at your stressful situation with an objective point of view, the same way you would help a friend look at his/her possible solutions. Be your own best friend, take a step back and re-frame the challenge and possible solutions.
2. Set priorities
Overwhelm and stress often arises when we just don’t set priorities, therefore everything that develops has a sense of urgency. Urgency creates an enormous wall of stress; which can be paralyzing. Set your priorities everyday giving you control of your day. This can prevent you from just acting upon other people’s priorities and goals. We use a 1-Page Productivity Planner each day. Write down up to 3 current projects (and everything that needs to be done for each project), People you need to contact and people you are waiting to hear back from. Lastly, add you’re must do Priorities for the day that MUST get completed. Get into the habit of viewing your day as a hierarchy of priorities, committing to accomplish your priorities first, reaching out to the people you must speak with and then into the additional tasks.
3. Put it all in Perspective
Realize when you really need to run from the lion. Everything can feel more stressful then they are. Compare your stress to situations that would be worst case scenarios such as if your car broke down, you woke up with a fever, or your office was shut down for the day because of a flood or worse. This can help you put things in perspective.
Remember “your yes has no value until you learn to say no”. Stop putting so much on your plate! It’s easy to say “yes” and difficult to say “no”, but in the long run, doing less will benefit everyone in your life. Say yes to what matters and because it means something to you. Don’t say yes out of guilt. Do less better, rather than more barely.
Eat more fat and stress reducing foods. Omega-3, found in fatty fish like wild salmon, walnuts and chia seeds support your body and brain, allowing you to better handle stress. Another way to boost your stress quotient is to add in dark leafy greens everyday. Add smoothies, spinach salad or kale chips into your day. Dark leafy greens are filled with Vitamin B, and that vitamin helps you deal with stress. B vitamins get used up and diminished by stress, when you have more of them- your better able to deal with the effects.
6. Basic Indulgence
You may not have the time or resources for a vacation or weekend at the spa, but you should find time for self-care and pampering. Make time for a massage. Massage is therapeutic and healing; if you can’t afford a full-blown massage go for a chair massage. Massage actually helps escort toxic build up out of your lymphatic system and can increase the production of T-cells. Find ways to indulge your senses with some of these suggestions. Spend a little extra cash on essential oils that smell wonderful and make you feel great. You can dab your temples with essential herbal oils such as Young Living’s Transformation, Peace and Calming or Stress Away . These are easy ways to make “basics” more luxurious. There is much to be said for the healing, calming effects of these pure oils. Another idea is to start your morning off with a simple ritual like a delicious cup of tea or five minutes of meditation.
I can’t emphasize the power of exercise for your health and stress management enough. Exercise releases hormones that reduce stress, balance your mood, and help you handle everything from injuries to aches to germs to forgetfulness. Fresh air is another free resource to reduce stress. Exercise outside by walking, running, biking, swimming, going to playgrounds and tackling an obstacle course race and really substantially reduce the effects of stress. Your body has a built-in system for stress management, and it’s called movement. Get that blood pumping several times a week!
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