Let’s face it; life is stressful. Work, family, finances, and all of the other stressors in our lives add up in big ways. Stress affects our emotional and physical health, our relationships with friends and family, our performance at work, and a number of other factors.
While stress is certainly an easy thing to get, it’s a more difficult to get rid of. Many of us are typically conditioned to accept unusually high levels of stress as normal, so trying different tactics to decrease stress can seem difficult, or even impossible.
Regardless of how stressed you feel, or how you may have decided that stress is just a fact of life, there are ways to manage that stress. Once you realize that it’s not impossible, and by taking just a few simple steps to change your habits, you’ll find that stress levels can and will diminish.
And as they do, you’ll find that you’ll feel better physically, be able to connect more fully with friends and family, and feel a renewed sense of purpose as it related to your work.
Let’s get started.
1. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Friends, doctors, co-workers, and the lady at the grocery store will all tell you that exercise is the best way to relieve stress. While it’s irritating to hear it from so many well-meaning people, it’s also very true. Exercise releases endorphins which in turn stimulate the pleasure center in our brain. More pleasure means less stress and anxiety.
But with such a busy and stressful life, who has time to exercise?
The fact is that you have to make time. Even 30 minutes a day can be enough to stimulate that coveted endorphin release. Thirty minutes might seem like forever when you have a busy day, but if you choose to start there you may find that you’ve worked an exercise plan into your daily routine without even realizing it.
2. Yoga and Meditation
If you’ve noticed a plethora of yoga studios popping up in your neighborhood there’s a good reason for it. Yoga is one of the best ways to relieve stress, and it feels good as well. With classes designed for all body types and fitness levels, there is certainly one available for you. Many studios also offer discounts for beginners or other promotions, so there is no reason not to at least try it.
Meditation and yoga go hand in hand. As part of a way to better connect with our bodies and our minds, meditation encourages the quieting of the thoughts, usually through a series of focused deep breaths. Guided meditation is a great option for beginners. In this situation the leader will quietly speak a series of words and phrases that encourage the mind to focus inward and to ignore distractions.
3. Get Better Sleep
One of the nasty by products of stress is the reduction in quality sleep, which becomes a conundrum because sleep is a great way to relieve stress. Exercise can definitely help you feel more tired at the end of the day, but perhaps the solution lies on your mattress?
Today, mattresses and beds are designed better than they have ever been before. Gone are lumpy, spring coil mattresses and in are adjustable and light as a feather foam beds, but these can be expensive. Don’t sacrifice your sleep if you don’t have to. Adjustable bed bases similar to Sleep Number are much less expensive and provide the same quality and restful sleep.
4. Practice Gratitude
Even when your life feels like it might be spiraling out of control, the fact remains that you have a great deal to be grateful for. Remembering these things and taking note of them will remind you that, even when things are rough, there is still a great deal that is wonderful about your life.
Consider keeping a gratitude journal. Each day write down one thing that has made you smile, or a kind gesture that you’ve done for someone else. When you need a pick me up open the journal and read the previous entries. You’ll be surprised how much those notes can make you smile.
Stress happens; it’s just a part of life. It is how you deal with it that influences the quality of your life. Try some of these tips to become a happier and more relaxed you.