Tips on managing stress….

Food inflation is tearing the roof off. Recession is a forecast you see on TV everyday. The kids are also driving you nuts, demanding for your attention. At the end of the day, you can’t sleep at night. During the day, you can’t even listen to a three-minute speech without dozing off.

Sorry to break your heart. Stress is a part of life and how we respond to the stress determines one thing- the quality of our lives.

These days it gets pretty difficult not to get overwhelmed often. This is why observing ourselves is important, so we can catch stress triggers before they escalate.

It’s a good thing that there are many evidence-based tools to help combat the negative effects of stress in healthy ways.  These guides help us identify when we are being affected by stress and gives some tips on how to overcome stress.

Eliminate or control the stressors:

The level of psychological stress depends on two factors- the intensity of the situation and also the person experiencing it. How we perceive and think about a stressor can also make a huge impact on how we respond. It is impossible to avoid a stressful situation, but you can try to reduce the effect of the stress.

Here’s how you do it; evaluate whether you can change the situation that is causing the stress, perhaps by dropping some responsibility, relaxing your standards or asking for help. If it’s a situation you can’t control, like the national economy, you’ll need to learn to make life easy for your self, despite the circumstances.

Cultivate social support:

Strong social support has been proven to improve resilience to stress. Reach out in a strategic manner to friends or family members who may be good at listening and sympathizing.

When you gladly give, and recieve support, you increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions. Just make sure your relationships stay balanced. Be wary of friends who require support but never give it as this may increase your stress level. Try not to be such a friend too.

Reframe the way you think:

One of the most research-supported treatments for stress and anxiety is cognitive behavioural therapy. This is a therapeutic approach that makes us understand that our thoughts influence our emotions, which in turn influences our behaviours. Reframing your thoughts around some issues can help manage your emotions and reduce feelings of stress. 

Here’s a tip. If you feel yourself imagining worst-case scenarios, stop immediately and channel your thoughts elsewhere.

Take deep breaths regularly:

Stopping and taking a few deep breaths can take the pressure off you straight up. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel once you get good at it. All you need do is to sit in a comfortable position with your hands in your lap and your feet on the floor, then close your eyes, imagine yourself in a relaxing atmosphere like the beach, a beautiful field of grass, or anywhere that gives you a peaceful feeling, slowly take deep breaths in and out. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.

Seek good nutrition:

Research has proven that what we eat, helps to play a huge role in the outcome of our lives. Just aim to consume a rainbow of fruits and vegetables as part of your daily diet. Drastically reduce, if possible, avoid using substances such as alcohol to dampen the stress response since substances do not solve the root of the problem and can have serious health effects.

Get physically active:

Physical activities does not only improve sleep, it can directly combat stress. Adding physical activity does not have to be expensive or complex: A brisk 30-minute walk, skipping or a dance session in the living room can do the trick.

Never joke with your sleep:

Daytime stress affects night time sleep. Also, lack of sleep affects daytime productivity, especially, cognition and mood. To sleep better, try to have a consistent sleep routine, meditate and relax to help with insomnia. Also, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening so you are not forced to stay awake longer than you should.

Relax your muscles:

When you’re stressed, your muscles get tensed. You can help loosen them up on your own and refresh your body by stretching, enjoying a massage, taking a hot bath or shower and getting a good night’s sleep.

Have fun:

When life gets overwhelming, people tend to often drop their leisure activities first. This has been proven to be counterproductive. Even when time is tight, grab opportunities to do something for yourself, whether it is reading a novel, singing along to your favourite tunes or streaming your favourite comedy. Humour and laughter can benefit both mental and physical health.

Seek professional help:

If you feel overwhelmed and can’t handle it alone, seek medical attention to help help you identify situations or behaviours that contribute to your stress and then develop an action plan to change how you respond to the triggers.

With all these guides, accept that you can’t do things perfectly; you also can’t control everything in your life no matter how hard you try. So do yourself a favour and stop letting stress do damage to your life.

Do you have any question or comment? Please share with us in the comment section.

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