Today I will talking through simple stress management techniques.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. It comes and goes at the worst of times. Unfortunately, it can be a hindrance by decreasing productivity levels, increasing anxiety, and lowering our overall mood.
There are also many different kinds of stress that affect us in different ways.
Fortunately for all of us, there are things we can do to effectively manage stress and prevent it from completely taking over and causing burn out.
They range between self-care practices to integrating healthy routines into your everyday life.
Using a few of these techniques can be a complete game changer when implemented into a daily practice.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way a certified councillor/therapist so all the advice is given from my own experience and should not be taken as medical advice.
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What Is Stress?
Stress is your body’s response to changes in your life.
Because life involves constant change – ranging from every day, routine changes like commuting from home to work to adapting to major life changes like marriage, divorce, or death of a loved one – there is no avoiding stress.
Your goal shouldn’t be to eliminate all stress but to eliminate unnecessary stress and effectively manage the rest.
There are some common causes of stress that many people experience, but each person is different.
Here are a few of my favourite stress management techniques.
Simple Stress Management Techniques – Ultimate Guide!
Accept there are some things you can’t control
This one takes no time at all really, but it does require a commitment to changing your mindset. A lot of the time we get stressed out by things that are totally out of control.
Because they are out of control it really becomes a waste of energy to constantly stress out over them.
For example, specific demands of your job, the fact that we’re living through a pandemic in 2020/2021, the weather, traffic, or the thoughts and actions of other people.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t stress at all over things like this, but you can’t let it consume you and cause you stress day after day.
For the sake of a simple example: getting really stressed out on your long commute home through traffic. Unless you go find a new job closer to home this is totally out of your control.
So as a stress management technique, accept that fact and then make the most of the situation. For example, listen to an audio book or podcast, call a friend (hands free of course), or find somewhere new to stop and explore on the way home.
If not, you’re just going to be stressed every evening and you’ll probably have no energy to do anything by the time you get home.
Be physically Active
Research consistently proves that physical activity both reduces stress levels and helps to prevent many of the negative side-effects of stressful life events.
The great news is that you don’t need to run a marathon or devote all your days to the gym to enjoy the benefits of exercise.
Almost any type of physical activity will help purge you of tension and lead to the production of endorphins; those ‘feel-good’ chemicals that boost mood and energy.
Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week, but if your fitness levels are low then try starting out with just 10 minutes of activity.
As you exercise, tune into your bodily sensations and notice your own physicality; this is a form of mindfulness, which promotes stress control in itself.
Here are some fun and easy ways to get your heart rate up:
- Dance to your favourite song
- Walk to the store instead of driving
- Walk your dog, or borrow someone else’s for half an hour
- Take the stairs every time there’s an option
- Find an exercise buddy, and go to classes together.
There are so many videos for free on YouTube that you can use as well. One of my personal favourites to follow is coach Sean Vigue.
Yoga combines physical movement, meditation, light exercise, and controlled breathing—all of which provide excellent stress relief.13
And while you’re likely to reap immediate benefits from a single yoga session, you’re likely to receive long-term benefits if you incorporate it into your life in a consistent way.
Yoga offers a variety of physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. To get started, you might take a class, enroll in an online program, or use an app to help you begin practicing.
Start your day off right
High energy levels in the mornings (although this may sometimes seem impossible) are essential to start the day and, hopefully, end the day with a positive outlook and a clear mindset.
Staying hydrated, avoiding coming to work on an empty stomach and aiming to be well rested overnight will all contribute to better mornings and more motivation.
You may also find it beneficial to give yourself a little extra time in the mornings to get ready for the day. This will prevent rush and panic and ensure you are fully prepared for whatever is thrown your way.
To keep it simple, being mindful means remaining present. Despite the hectic nature of our modern-day world, practicing mindfulness encourages self-awareness, acceptance, and taking in the moment. It allows you to truly focus on what you’re doing right now.
Mindfulness stems from ancient Buddhist meditation teachings, but Jon Kabat-Zinn adapted the concept in 1979. Over the last few years, mindfulness has gained a lot of popularity. This may be due to more mainstream coverage, publications like Mindful, and the power of social media!
After doing some research, I also found that mindfulness is often used in therapy. This is because it’s thought to help with anxiety and stress.
Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms
At the other end of the spectrum, smoking, drinking and binge-eating are all common coping strategies amongst people who are stressed, but turning to vices isn’t a legitimate way to process your emotions.
Take steps to remove these options, whether it’s not keeping cigarettes in the house or making a weekly meal plan so you can’t order takeaways, to help yourself to stop relying on these unhealthy habits. The short-term release is exhilarating, but they’re likely to make you feel worse in the long run.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deficit has just about become an epidemic in contemporary society. Continuously pushed to accomplish and produce, practically every single person is accountable for depriving themselves of rest.
In a stressful situation, you may attempt to “pull an all-nighter” to fulfil a deadline or do some last second studying, but contrary to what your over-stressed mind is suggesting; a well-rested mind and body will be able to achieve far more, without over-taxing your system.
Do a brain dump
A brain dump is simply the act of dumping all the contents of your mind onto paper as one might dump the contents of a purse onto a table.
You are spilling out stressors, your nagging thoughts, your pesky annoyances. Simply open up a valve in your mind and let all those thoughts flow out of your hand and onto some paper.
Write until you feel like the pressure inside of you is lessened and you can take a deep breath. Then you will have achieved a brain dump.
Meditation brings short-term stress relief as well as lasting stress management benefits. There are many different forms of meditation to try–each one is unique and brings its own appeal.2
You might develop a mantra that you repeat in your mind as you take slow deep breaths. Or, you might take a few minutes to practice mindfulness, which involves being in the moment. Simply pay attention to what you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.
Employ the power of positive thinking. Rather than incessantly worrying about the same things over and over, break the cycle and train your brain to think in a way that is positive and uplifting.
One way to do this is to envision the results that you want, rather than thinking about the results that you’re afraid of.
Imagine everything working out. Sometimes, just the very thought of things unfolding in your favour can be truly inspiring.
Another approach is to practice positive affirmations.
Gratitude helps you recognize all the things you have to be thankful for. Whether you’re grateful for a sunny day or thankful you arrived at work safely, think about all the good things you have in life.
Gratitude also reminds you of all of the resources you have to cope with stress, which can be quite empowering.
So whether you decide to make it a habit to identify what you’re grateful for as you sit around the dinner table or you decide to write down three things you’re grateful for in a gratitude journal every day, make gratitude a regular habit.
When you’re stressed, sometimes the best strategy can be distraction – especially when it’s with a simple task that makes you feel in control and has a series of steps to follow.
Psychologists call these ‘flow’ activities, switching off the conscious brain and putting you into a calming, meditative state.
Think baking, cleaning or organising, all processes which give you a clear, easily achievable goal and give you a massive satisfaction boost when complete.
Eat a Balanced Diet
A poor diet can bring greater reactivity toward stress.
Emotional eating and reaching for high-fat, high-sugar foods can provide a temporary sense of relief that adds to your long-term stress.
Refined carbs, like cookies and crisps/potato chips, can cause a spike in blood sugar. When your blood sugar crashes, you might experience more stress and anxiety.
Consuming a healthy diet can help you combat stress over the long haul. Foods like eggs, avocado, and walnuts support mood regulation and energy balance.
Make Time for Leisure Activities
Leisure activities can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. Yet, many people feel as though their lives are too busy for hobbies, games, or extra fun.
But building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.
Whether you find joy in caring for a garden or you like making quilts, hobbies and leisure are key to living your best life.
Hug a loved one
Physical touch can do a lot to relieve your stress. Hugging a loved one can be especially beneficial.
Oxytocin also causes a reduction in blood pressure.7 It reduces the stress hormone norepinephrine and can produce a sense of relaxation. “
So don’t be afraid to ask a loved one for a hug if you need it. It’s good for both of you and it can be one of the simplest forms of stress relief available.
Take a Walk
Taking a walk allows you to enjoy a change of scenery, which can get you into a different frame of mind, and brings the benefits of exercise as well.
So whether you just need to take a stroll around the office to get a break from a frustrating task or you decide to go for a long walk in the park after work, walking is a simple but effective way to rejuvenate your mind and body.
Simple Stress Management Techniques – Final thoughts
I hope you were able to take some of these tips and tricks and add them into your stress management tool box to use when you need them.
Stress can be such a nuisance and is really unnecessary. Let’s stick together and find a way to live a more relaxed, productive, and happy life!
Are your tips to help with stress? I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!
If you have any questions please reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
I really hope you found inspiration in this article.
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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about topics such as self-care, self-development and all things wellness. Connect with me on my journey and come and join the community!