Were you stressed lately? Fret not! There are ways to get away with it.
Here are 27 steps you can take toward relieving stress:
1. Don’t just sit there. Move!
According to many psychologists, motion creates emotion. You might notice that when you are idle, it’s easier to become depressed.
Your heart rate slows down, fewer oxygen travels to your brain, and you have slumped somewhere in a chair blocking air from reaching your lungs.
Exercise can be a great stress buster. People with anxiety disorders might worry that aerobic exercise could bring on a panic attack. After all, when you exercise, your heart rate goes up, you begin to sweat, and your breathing becomes heavier.
Don’t panic – it’s not an attack! Tell yourself this over and over while you’re exercising. Realize that there’s a big difference between the physical side of exercise and what happens when you exercise.
2. Smell the roses.
How do you smell the roses? How about investing some money to go on that one trip you’ve been dreaming about? Visit a country with lots of exotic places to jolt your imagination and spur your creativity. You need to detach from your daily activities and venture a little bit.
3. Help others cope with their problems.
It is very therapeutic when you engross yourself in helping others. You will be surprised how many people’s problems are worse than those you may be facing.
You can offer others assistance in countless ways. Don’t curl up in your bed and let depression and stress take hold of you.
Get out and help somebody. But be careful. Don’t get caught up in other people’s problems in an attempt to forget about your own.
4. Laugh a little.
By now you’ve heard that laughter is a good internal medicine. It relieves tension and loosens the muscles. It causes blood to flow to the heart and brain. More importantly, laughter releases a chemical that rids the body of pains.
Every day, researchers discover new benefits of laughter. Let me ask you this question: “Can you use a good dose of belly-shaking laughter every now and then?” Of course, you can. What are you waiting for? Go to a comedy club or rent some funny movies.
5. Wear your knees out.
If there were one sustainable remedy one could offer you when the going gets tough, it would be prayer. Many people, depending on their faith, might call it meditation. It doesn’t matter to me what you call it, as long as you have a place to run to.
There you have a few quick fixes when you’re feeling stressed. Want more? No problem!
6. Make stress your friend.
Acknowledge that stress is good and make stress your friend! Based on the body’s natural “fight or flight” response that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment.
Perhaps, you were able to notice or see a top sportsman totally relaxed before a big competition. Use stress wisely to push yourself that little bit harder when it counts most.
7. Stress is contagious.
What we mean by this is that negative people can be a huge stressor. Negativity breeds stress and some people know how to do nothing but complain. Now you can look at this in one of two ways.
First, they see you as a positive, upbeat person and hope that you can bring them back “up”. If that’s not it, then they’re just a negative person and can’t feel better about themselves unless those around them are negative as well.
Don’t get caught up in their downing behavior. Recognize that these kinds of people have their own stress and then limit your contact with them. You can try to play stress doctor and teach them how to better manage their stress, but be aware that this may contribute more to your own stress, so tread lightly.
8. Copy good stress managers.
When people around are losing their head, which keeps calm? What are they doing differently? What is their attitude? What language do they use? Are they trained and experienced?
Figure it out from afar or sit them down for a chat. Learn from the best stress managers and copy what they do.
9. Use heavy breathing.
You can trick your body into relaxing by using heavy breathing. Breathe in slowly for a count of 7 then breathe out for a count of 11.
Repeat the 7-11 breathing until your heart rate slows down, your sweaty palms dry off and things start to feel more normal.
10. Stop stress thought trains.
It is possible to tangle yourself up in a stress knot all by yourself. “If this happens, then that might happen and then we’re all up the creek!” Most of these things never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?
Give stress thought-trains the red light and stop them in their tracks. Okay so it might go wrong – how likely is that and what can you do to prevent it?
11. Know your stress hot spots and trigger points.
Presentations, interviews, meetings, giving difficult feedback, tight deadlines……. My heart rate is cranking up just writing these down!
Make your own list of stress trigger points or hot spots. Be specific. Is it only presentations to a certain audience that get you worked up? Does one project cause more stress than another? Did you drink too much coffee?
Knowing what causes your stress is powerful information, as you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources? Do you need to switch to de-caffeinated coffee?
12. Eat, drink, sleep and be merry!
Lack of sleep, poor diet, and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Kind of obvious, but worth mentioning as it’s often ignored as a stress management technique. Listen to your mother and don’t burn the candle at both ends!
Avoid using artificial means to dealing with your stress. That means don’t automatically pour a glass of wine when you think you’re getting stressed out and don’t light up a cigarette.
In reality, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and drugs can make the problem worse. A better idea is to practice the relaxation techniques we’ve given you. Then, once you’re relaxed, you can have that glass of wine if you want.
13. Go outside and enjoy Mother Nature.
A little sunshine and activity can have amazing ramifications on your stress level and will enhance your entire outlook towards life.
Your improved attitude will have a positive effect on everyone in your family and/ or circle of friends. Things which seem overwhelming will soon become trivial matters, causing you to wonder what the predicament was.
Not only will you be less stressed, you will be healthier, happier, and more energetic; ready to face whatever obstacles come your way.
14. Give yourself permission to be a ‘kid’ again.
What did you enjoy when you were a child? Draw. Paint. Be creative. Play with Play- dough. Dance. Or read. Play music. Allow yourself the freedom to express yourself without worry that you’re not keeping with the image of who you are ‘supposed’ to be.
Just relax and enjoy yourself. We all have a little child in us and it’s a good idea to allow expression of the child within from time to time.
This suggestion is excellent and very therapeutic. There is nothing more satisfying than buying a brand new box of 64 Crayons – the one with the sharpener in the box – and color away in a coloring book.
15. Don’t set unrealistic for goals for yourself.
Many of us set ourselves up for defeat simply by setting unrealistic goals for ourselves. For example, if you are dieting, realize you cannot lose 40 pounds in one or two months.
Or maybe you are trying to reach a goal of obtaining a particular job position. Whatever your goal, allow sufficient time to reach your goals and realize occasional setbacks may occur.
If you reach your goal without any delays, you will be even happier with yourself for arriving quicker than you planned, but don’t expect it.
In fact, don’t expect anything. Expectations and reality are often two entirely different things.
16. Learn it is OK to say ‘no’ occasionally.
Often, many of us feel we have to say ‘yes’ to everyone, every time we are asked for help and feel that we must respond in a positive fashion.
But, remember, you cannot be all things to all people. You must first meet your own needs before you can truly give others what they need while at the same time keeping yourself happy.
17. You do not have to do everything your family, friends, and others who ask.
Of course you can help others, but first, make sure you have done what is necessary to take care of yourself.
18. Make time for yourself, your number one priority.
Once your own needs are met you will find you have more time for others. And you may find more pleasure in helping others when you don’t feel that you must always put others needs before your own.
We’re not done yet! There are so many great ways to combat stress and anxiety. You deserve to get all the information you can.
Here are some more stress busters.
19. Yell! That’s right, scream at the top of your lungs – as loud as you can.
While this may not be feasible in your home, it works great when you’re in your car with the windows rolled up. Let out a guttural yelp from deep down inside. It’s liberating!
20. As it was said before, music can be extremely beneficial when getting rid of stress.
Think how much better you can feel when you belt out “Copacabana” at the top of your lungs! Who cares if you can’t carry a tune? You’re doing this for you!
21. Take up a new hobby like knitting or crocheting.
Don’t worry about being good at it. It’s the process that’s beneficial. Sitting still while performing repetitive movements is calming and stabilizing for many people. It can be time to collect your thoughts.
22. Start a garden.
Even apartment-dwellers can do this. Inside in pots, pots on the patio, pots, a small spot in your yard. There is a little work to setting it up.
Tending plants, fruits, vegetables, flowers and watching them grow, bloom, or yield food is rewarding. Avid gardeners say working a garden is the best way to control stress and worry. An added benefit is the creation of a more beautiful, restful environment.
23. Play with a dog or cat.
Experts say pet owners have longer lives and lesser stress symptoms that non-pet owners. Playing with your pet provide good vibrations – for you and for the pet! It’s a form of social interaction with no pressure to meet anyone’s expectations!
24. Look at the stars and the moon.
It can be a very humbling experience to lay on a blanket with your hands behind your head and gaze up into the night sky. It’s more than humbling. It’s downright beautiful and relaxing!
25. Treat yourself to some comfort food.
But be careful or over-eating could become your big stressor. Enjoy in moderation and make yourself feel better.
26. Swing around.
Remember the feeling of sitting inside that little piece of leather on the playground as you sway back and forth and feel the wind whipping through your hair? Do that!
If you don’t have a swing in your yard, go to a playground and remember to pump your legs back and forth to see how high you can go. It’s liberating!
27. Take a candle lit bubble bath.
Even you guys out there can benefit from a warm bath bathed in the soft glow of candlelight. Lay your head back, feel the bubbles and the warm water, and let your stress go right down the drain when you pull the plug!
Phew! There you have twenty-seven ways to relax and de-stress. You can come up with your own ways as well.
The key, really, is to find something that makes you feel better when you are overwhelmed and practices that method faithfully. You’ll be a healthier person overall.