How To Take Control And Reduce Stress

Reduce StressOne thing that almost everyone can relate to is stress. In this modern-day world, we are bombarded by deadlines, schedules, and tasks that need to be attended to. Add to it the information overload that most of us feel and it is easy to see why we all feel overwhelmed. Sometimes though, we can feel stressed without even knowing why we are feeling that way.

Regardless of the source of the stress in our lives, it’s important to get control of it and manage how much anxiety and stress we have in a given day or week. Being stressed out contributes not only to feeling overwhelmed, it is very bad for your health. Many serious conditions and diseases can be caused by prolonged stress.

Take An Assessment

While stress is a part of everyday life for the most part, you can gain control, reduce stress and live a relaxed and calm life! You may not be able to control everything that comes your way, but you do have control over how you respond to it. With stress management techniques, you can learn how to prioritize, put things in perspective and handle your reactions. How you think about the circumstances of your life often has a direct correlation to how happy you feel about yourself, this in turn affects your ability to reduce stress.

Find The Source

The first step in managing stress is to identify the sources of your stress. It may be hard at first, but go through a typical day for you, in your mind and jot down anything that causes you stress. Another way to go about it is to keep a journal for a week or two. Plan to write down anything that makes you uncomfortable or anxious. While you are noting the stressors in your life, also jot down the ways in which you dealt with each particular situation. This is important as you will be able to see what strategies you already use to reduce stress and where you can improve.

Be Proactive

After keeping a journal, notice any patterns that pop up. For example, do you find yourself getting stressed out after you pick your child up from school and you need to rush to get to after school activities? Or maybe you notice you are often stressed out the day before you need to make a presentation at work. Some of these situations are unavoidable, but there are things you can do to decrease your discomfort.

It’s a good idea to come up with ways in general that help you to reduce stress and to call on these methods as soon as you notice the need for them. Some great ways to reduce stress are meditation, deep breathing, listening to calming music, or exercise. Maybe you need to meditate for 5 minutes before picking your child up from school. Or, try to preempt the situation by doing a few deep breathing exercises right before you head off to your next activity. Slowing down a bit often gives you time to put things in perspective. In the case where you get stressed out the day before a big presentation, perhaps going to the gym after work will help you release any extra tension related to the office.

See The Positive

Sometimes just taking the time to notice what is going right in your life is enough to reduce stress levels. Make a point to keep a gratitude journal and write down at least one item each day that you are thankful for. Gratitude journals are a fantastic way to put your life in perspective and to help you remember the positive. Little stresses should be kept that way, and not allowed to cloud your day.

What strategies do you use to manage or reduce stress levels?

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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7 thoughts on “How To Take Control And Reduce Stress

  1. A friend of mine recently posted that working hard on something you hate is stress while working hard on something you love is passion. I agree in principal, but even if you’re working hard on something you’re passionate about you can still fall victim to stress. You’ve got some great tips to head the stress monster off at the pass, Mike.
    Rob Knowlan recently posted…Monkey See, Monkey Done-For-YouMy Profile

  2. Stress…when did that become such a focal point in today’s world? It seems like times are so much more complicated and busy than they ever were when I was a kid, and I don’t just mean for me. My parents actually had “down time” where they just relaxed and existed. Who does that anymore?

    Seriously though, these tips are great, especially the last one. Sometimes, analyzing my stress just puts me in a worry cycle, but concentrating on gratitude can really help me prioritize things.
    Jessica B Woods recently posted…Is Stress Killing Your Productivity?My Profile

  3. Great post Mike,
    I also find that throwing some vigorous exercise into the day helps somewhat too – but living in Ireland, getting out for a lunchtime run can be hit or miss with the weather!