I’m sure you have experienced stress in your life. Whether is was a positive force driving you, like getting that next promotion at the office, or a negative force such as being stuck in traffic. Maybe, your heart starts racing or your palms get sweaty. Whatever the reason, stress is real and happens to everyone at one time or another.
So, why all the stress? Studies have shown that Americans are more stressed out than ever. Americans are working more than they ever have, and the divorce rate is the highest it has ever been. What does this mean? You need to learn to reduce stress by using these 10 simple techniques:
- Accept that there are events you can’t control. You can’t predict the future, and you can’t go backwards in life. The best you can do is learn. You can plan ahead, but don’t obsess over it. This means there are things in your life that you just need to let go of. If you don’t, they will hold you back.
- Learn to prioritize. This means you need to learn to manage your time. Don’t waste time doing things you don’t need to do, or that don’t serve your purpose. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t have some down time or have some fun. Just make sure you have time to do the things you need to do.
- Don’t rely on a substance to reduce stress. This means don’t rely on drugs or alcohol to help you calm down or to sleep. This never ends good. You could end up with an addiction, and that would lead to worse problems.
- Get moving. You can go to the gym or go for a walk. The point is, you don’t want to sit all day. That is not good for your body or your mind. Take a stretch break and get some fresh air. This will help you feel much better and stay more focused during the day.
- Get enough sleep. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. This is a really important one. Your body and your brain need to recharge. You are more likely to make mistakes and be forgetful when you are tired. Eight hours is a good amount of time to shoot for.
- Learn to assert yourself. This means, don’t say yes when you mean no. If you can’t handle another project at the office, then don’t take it on. If you need help around the house, then ask for it. Be specific, people are more likely to help you when you are specific. Don’t feel guilty about asking for what you need.
- Don’t ‘should’ on yourself. This is an easy one for a lot of people. You should spend more time with the kids, or make more money, and the list goes on. Learn to appreciate what you have. This will help you feel better about yourself and others.
- Make time for yourself. Spend time doing things that you enjoy. Watch a comedy, go on a hike, or spend time having coffee with friends. If you’d like spend a little time alone. This will help you revive. You also won’t feel resentful or left out.
- Eat food that is good for you. What you eat, or don’t eat, affects how you feel. Meaning it can affect your mood. If you eat too much sugar or carbohydrates, you will eventually come down and feel lethargic. If you starve yourself, you can do all kinds of damage, like slow down your metabolism. Find a healthy balanced meal plan that works for your lifestyle.
- Have a positive mind set. What you say about yourself, affects how you feel. Everyone has a running dialogue in their head. This is actually healthy. What’s not healthy is when you put yourself down all the time. The next time you have a negative thought, end it with a positive thought.
If you find that you have used these techniques and they aren’t working, then it’s time to seek help from a professional. You can contact a mental health professional that has experience in stress management. This is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many adults reduce stress in their life, and thrive. For more information, please visit www.LessonsforLove.com.