One 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.
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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.
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