Everyone has stress. Unfortunately, it is a normal part of life. Many factors can lead to stress. Stress can even cause unhealthy physical symptoms if not controlled properly. Stress is impossible to completely eliminate, but there are ways to significantly reduce it to manageable levels.
Top Ways to Reduce Stress
- Exercise / stay active. For most people, this is the #1 stress reliever. Physical activity releases endorphins and other natural neural chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being and overall mood. Studies have shown that people who exercise feel less anxious and more positive about themselves. Some options to consider are things that include weightlifting, jogging, walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, and even housework.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a balanced, healthy diet is an important part of combating stress. A healthy diet can build up your immune system, level your mood, and lower your blood pressure. Lots of added sugar, salt, and fats can have the opposite effect. Aim to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Sleep. A common side effect of stress is lack of sleep. And lack of sleep leads to more stress. It is best to develop a daily bedtime routine. Drink less alcohol and caffeine closer to bedtime. Don’t look at your electronics for about 30-60 minutes prior to bedtime. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool for optimum sleeping. After all, sleep is when the body heals itself.
- Meditate. Meditation is a form of guided thought. Meditation can instill a sense of calm, peace, and balance, promoting overall well-being. It has been shown to assist with better, deeper sleep which helps boost your energy levels when you are awake.
- Connect with others. Social contact, especially with family and friends, is a great stress reliever because it can offer a distraction while providing a strong support system where you can feel comfortable discussing your problems. When you connect with people in person, your body releases a hormone that helps you relax.
- Have fun / make time for your hobbies. We cannot spend all of our time working or worrying. Spending time on an activity that you enjoy can improve your mental health and well-being. Activities get you out and about, making you feel happier. There is always time to have some fun.
- Assert yourself. Asserting yourself reduces stress by helping you feel more in control of a situation. Practice saying ‘No’ for situations you don’t want to partake in. Keep your emotions in check. This should ultimately help build more confidence.
- Take a break. Taking a break is important in recovering from stress. It allows us to restore energy and decrease fatigue. This will improve your overall performance.
Don’t let stress ruin your life. Accepting it is half the battle. The tips above will help you conquer even the most stressful of situations.