Stress is everywhere and affecting everyone daily, young and old. Most people tend to become overwhelmed and stressed out at times. Did you know that stress is actually beneficial? It gives us the boost when we need to get through situations like deadlines or exams. However, extreme stress or chronic stress can have detrimental long term effects on our health, affecting many of the bodily systems. Unless one learns to slow down, pay attention to their body and the effects that stress is having, you will suffer mentally, emotionally and physically. Managing your stress can be simple but may take some time and discipline to create long lasting habits that will create a healthier happier more engergised you!
Here are some helpful tips that can get you through those stressful times:
1. Get regular physical exercise
When we are more stressed adrenaline and cortisol is generated to prepare us for action, when we do physical exercise the body metabolises these excess stress hormones and restores the body to a calm more relaxed state. Exercise may not be everyone ‘thing’ but 3-5 times per week is ideal for a least half an hour. Use your work break to take a quick brisk walk around the block, or grab your colleague, put on a pair of walking shoes and take the meeting outside. Join the gym try include some vigorous exercise like swimming or jogging, anything that will get your heart rate up. Find your local park run for a more social event.
2. Practise a relaxation techniques that suites you
Relaxation lowers your pulse rate, respiration, and blood pressure. When you combine different techniques such as deep breathing , muscle relaxation, meditation and yoga you can significantly lower your stress levels, elevate your mood and improve your ability to focus. These do not need to be lengthy techniques and can be used in any situation. Deep breathing, body scan, progressive muscle relaxion, physical mediation (yoga) or guided meditation are just some of the techniques available to help relaxation.
3. Change your attitude to stress
Everyone experiences stress in different ways, stress is part of life, how people manage their stress is their choice. Finding healthy positive ways to deal with stress will add to your overall well-being. How you feel and the way you deal with a situation is a choice. Look at your situation and ask yourself ‘is this something I can change?’. If so, start exploring positive ways to change the situation. If it cannot be changed accept it for what it is, find the best way possible to cope and how to move forward. By accepting you are not able to change the situation, stress can be reduced. Exchange attitude for gratitude. Our attitude has an enormous effect of how we deal with situations. Negative attitudes affect our physical, spiritual and mental well-being. The next time you find yourself in a particularly stressful situation try exchanging attitude for gratitude. Instead of being frustrated try focus on what you can be grateful for in the situation.
4. Learn your limits
Yes, you can say no. So much stress comes with too much to do in too little time. Often we create stress because we cannot say no. We take on too much responsibility and commitments when we know it is not achievable. You have to know yourself and accept your limits. Clearly define what your intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual boundaries are, then be assertive around them. How you say ‘no’ can make all the difference.
5. Reduce caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar consumption
By reducing drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol you reduce your stress levels. Try replacing your caffeinated drinks with water and herbal tea’s. Try drink at least 2l of water a day. We all know that refined sugars give your body a temporary boost and then causes an energy crash, which leaves you feeling tired and irritable. A healthy, nutritious and well-balance diet can go a long way towards helping you cope with stress.
6. Do something you love everyday
Often we get so busy with life doing the day-to-day tasks, finishing deadlines, rushing through projects and hurrying on to the next thing on the agenda that we forget to stop and enjoy life. Taking time to do things we love is important – not only for our short-term happiness but also for our mental and emotional well-being. By doing this you will be more motivated, your health will improve, your productivity will increase, relationships around you will improve and your overall outlook on life will improve.
Laughter goes a long way to reduce stress and makes you feel happy.
8. Get more sleep
Sleep plays a vital role on good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, and quality of life.