Once a problem is brought to the level of consciousness, it is said to be 50% solved! We have shared a lot of information about stress in the previous articles of the Stress management series, bringing to consciousness where stress originates from, its effects on health, triggers of stress and common signs and symptoms of stress. It may seem like nothing can be done about stress as there will always be events in life that will cause more stress however, it is refreshing to know we have more control over our lives than we think. Taking charge of your life is the next step towards the realistic and attainable goal of proper management of stress. Simply put, gaining control over your thought patterns, emotions, behaviour, attitude, reaction to situations/problems, time management skills and more will go a long way towards improving your everyday functioning thereby empowering you to manage stress.
Stress management can be achieved primarily through deliberate lifestyle changes such as:
Exercising on a regular basis: Exercises such as brisk walking and swimming, are very beneficial to relieving stress as it is a way to free the body of some stress hormones. Take out time each day to exercise for 10-15 minutes and free yourself of some stress.
Eating well: Eating a balanced diet cannot be over emphasized when it comes to managing stress, healthy foods, fruits, vegetables and water are essential to living a healthy life. Keeping the body hydrated is also very necessary because when the body is dehydrated, it releases cortisol which is a stress hormone. Always remember to stay hydrated throughout the day to keep stress away.
Proper sleep: Our bodies need proper rest after so much work during the day. Sleeping well refreshes the body and mind. Ensure you get enough sleep every day.
Time management skills: People often complain that they don’t have enough time to do what they want to do or what is expected of them. the truth is there will never be more than 24 hours in a day, therefore proper time management skills such as prioritizing important tasks and having a to-do-list with short breaks at intervals, are essential to proper stress management.
Learn to enjoy yourself and relax: Yes, there are things beyond your control but when you are at peace, your entire equilibrium will follow suit. Taking some time out to relax and enjoy yourself is important to managing stress. Here is a tip, learn to enjoy the people in your life also, learn to enjoy your family, friends and just enjoy life every day. Try as much as possible to avoid fights and quarrels.
Learn to let go: Forgive yourself and others for any wrong done and just let go, no matter how painful it was or still is. When you hold on to pain, you hold on to stress! Free yourself of stress today by searching within you to release and forgive yourself and others that may have wronged you.
Mindfulness meditation: This is a non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment. Constant practice of mindfulness meditation enables you clear your mind and helps you achieve focus, calmness and tranquility. In achieving these, stress can be eased off.
Biofeedback therapy: Is a clinical intervention for stress management. It is a tool that gives an insight to what goes on your body. Information about your heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension are provided with biofeedback. Biofeedback is a powerful tool which can help improve your mental functioning by combating the effects of stress. It works with a number of relaxation techniques which help you control you body’s’ processes and keep you from being stressed. A common relaxation technique is deep breathing.
As a gift to you this holiday season, Click HERE to begin a deep breathing exercise.
Be calm. Relax. Enjoy.
As you practise these very useful ways to manage stress, you will begin to see how much control you have over your life as you become better, more emotionally stable and healthier!