Every day we are confronted with challenges that take a toll on our stress levels. Not only do most of us have a long commute to work, but once we finally arrive, we then have to deal with heavy workloads, demanding bosses, and of course, that pesky smartphone is always trying to divert our attention from the task at hand. It’s no wonder that few of us have any time to relax and to just hang out anymore.
All this stress is having a detrimental effect on our health, and on society in general, so what follows is a quick guide comprising of 7 easy tips to help you get your stress levels under control before it all starts to boil out of control.
1. Learn To Breathe
Sure, everyone knows how to breathe, but there are ways of doing it that can help to expel a little bit of stress with every breath. The trick is to slow it down and learn how to breathe slowly, using the diaphragm to its full effect.
Using controlled and calm breathing techniques, take a series of slow and deep breaths. When you’ve done this, you can return to normal breathing levels for a short time and then repeat.
Breathing in this way helps to calm the autonomic nervous system, soothe the body, and increase the feeling of peace and contentedness.
2. Visualize Your Happy Place
Think of a favorite place where you always feel content and learn to visualize it down to the tiniest detail. Hear the breeze rustling through the leaves, or the waves gently lapping the shore. Repeat calming affirmations such as “I am at peace,” or “I feel calm and content.”
Do this before undertaking any stressful event such as confronting your boss, or even before a big speech. Picture the scene unfolding in your mind and see yourself dealing with the event in a calm and collected manner, ultimately bringing it to a satisfactory conclusion. It also works great while you’re caught in traffic.
3. Create A “To Do” List
Sometimes when we think about all the things we have to do in a day, it can seem impossible. The trick to managing a big problem is to turn it into lots of little problems.
Think about the tasks you have to do each day and write them down in a list. Assign priorities and get the most important tasks finished first. If you do this every day, you will find that you are more productive and able to achieve more in a smaller time frame. You will probably end up wondering why you became so worried in the first place.
4. Talk About It
It’s amazing how much we bottle up inside. Recent surveys discovered that the number of people who confide in friends and family in times of stress is as little as 22 percent.
This is somewhat unsettling news considering that one of the best ways to solve a problem is to share it with someone who has a vested interest in your well-being and cares about you.
Always remember that two heads are better than one when it comes to problem-solving, so make sure you let others know what you are going through. They may be able to help.
5. Go For A Walk, Swim, Or Bike Ride
Stress saved our lives in ancient times as it gave us quick bursts of speed to get away from dangerous situations. Unfortunately, in the modern world, running away from a problem is not looked upon favorably, and may even look a bit silly on occasion.
For this reason, we need to take up some exercise to work that stresses out of our bodies. It doesn’t take long, and as little as 15 minutes of running will work out the kinks. If you work in a tall building, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You may just live longer and be happier about it as well.
6. Laugh Away Stress
Laughter has often been cited as being the best medicine. Whether this is true or not, nobody will tell you that a good laugh isn’t right for you.
In fact, evidence has been coming to light, which proves that laughter does indeed improve our health. Stress hormones are reduced, we experience a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol is reduced, and our immune system is given a boost.
So have a good laugh with your mates at least once a day, your body will thank you for it.
7. Socialize With Friends
Humans are social animals, and our bodies respond favorably when we spend time with our closest friends. The latest research on how friends affect our health is also showing that we need it for our well-being. Just hanging out with our buddies makes us feel better about ourselves.
Don’t forget that friends can also provide some support during our most stressful times. As a result, we live longer and keep our brains in good working order as well.