7 Tips On How To Reduce Stress
Hold your arm out straight for a minute while holding a book, and it won't cause you too much distress. However, if you keep that arm held out for days, months, or even years, that distress will very quickly turn into pain, and that pain will soon become unbearable.
According to the WHO, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety has increased by nearly 50% between 1990 and 2013. That's stress on steroids.
As a means of management, most strive to endure it as if it's just part of the transaction for life.
The consequences of not addressing stress are nothing short of catastrophic—anxiety, depression, panic attacks, an endless list of life threatening diseases, and yes, suicide—can all stem from chronic stress. A pretty high price to pay I think you'll agree.
You can always fold the cards your playing for a better hand. And if you are dealing with chronic stress, that's exactly what you should do because life is far too short not to be lived.
Regardless of how severe, everybody can benefit from better managing stress.
Here are seven tips on how to reduce stress in your life today:
There is too much research on the benefits of mediation to be ignored. If you think it's some hippy-dippy practice reserved only for the 'spiritual enlightened,' think again. When 50 Cent's not wearing his bulletproof vest—he meditates.
Meditation is not about emptying your mind. It's about peace of mind. All you're doing is focussing on your breath and the sensations in your body. That breath plays a vital role in controlling emotions and keeping anxiety at bay. So address whatever misconceptions you may have because the benefits are very real. And yes, you CAN do it.
Check out this great Infographic on the other great side effects of meditating and why it will make you feel more happy.
2. Clean up your diet
If you eat like crap, you can't expect to not feel like crap. Consume more plant-based foods, eliminate processed foods, drink more water, eat foods with high anti-inflammatory properties, make sure you are getting vitamin D (preferably from the sun. If not, from a supplement), and take a B12 supplement if necessary.
Get your daily dose of endorphins through exercise—the antidote to many diseases and an excellent means of combatting stress. Your options are endless—if you hate the gym, don't go. Find an activity you love and do that.
4. Practice yoga
I've never been to a yoga class where I haven't left feeling more relaxed. The benefits are ridiculous—for both the mind and body— so much so that it feels like cheating.
5. Practice gratitude
We're reluctant to pat ourselves on the back and quick to shoot ourselves in the foot due to our brain's hard-wired negativity bias. Remind yourself often just how lucky you are, and you'll soon see a positive change in your mood and outlook. From air to relationships—the little to the major. There is so much to be grateful for—take it a step further and do something to help others less fortunate than you.
6. Stop people pleasing
So many people today live conceptual lives. Influenced by celebrities and social media, we have become obsessed with painting a picture of perfection for the world to envy. Social media and pop culture have created an epidemic where our values are so skewed, we are now more concerned with a concept, and all that is superficial to impress those whose opinions don't matter. And, of course, there is a direct correlation between this behaviour and stress levels. It's essential that you work on your values, and stop concerning yourself with irrelevant opinions.
Put more emphasis on relationships with your nearest and dearest. The majority of those you're wasting energy on most likely aren't that invested in you (a good thing), because like you, they're worried about themselves and how others perceive them. Adopt that mindset, and over time you will free up much unnecessary stress.
7. Reduce your social media consumption
Using Instagram likes as a metric for measuring your success and happiness—paradoxically—will leave you feeling unsatisfied and wanting more. And this will bring with it much stress. Social media isn't real. It's a platform from which—at a guess—99% of people will only use to display the good in their life that is likely to cause envy. It's scientifically proven to make us feel bad, so unplug from time to time and try connecting more with a pulse.
So disconnect from social media some time of the day. Some desktop apps like Mailbird for example give you the opportunity to deactivate the implemented social media apps. This is a great way to focus only on the tasks (like email) you need to at the time. This is a great way to reduce stress as it declutters your brain by only focusing on one thing.
To reduce stress at work you will need to organised your day in the way that is most comfortable for you. This list may help you organize your day at work.
If you incorporate just a few of these tips into your daily routine, you are almost guaranteed to see a fall off in your stress levels. And that's always something worth pursuing.
Let us know what you do to reduce stress in the comment section below.
About the Author:
Nicky Cullen is a writer and anxiety coach. Having suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, and depression for a decade: he uses his experience to teach his clients the solutions he wishes somebody taught him 15 years ago. You can learn more by clicking here.