From work commitments to personal challenges, experiencing periods of stress is a normal part of living. Particularly in such a fast-paced society, for many stress is an everyday occurrence and something we deal with regularly both individually and when speaking with family and friends.
Stress and anxiety can be debilitating – the physical and mental strain caused by prolonged periods of stress can have an adverse effect on your health and quality of life. With so many different things demanding our attention, more than ever it’s important to find simple, practical tips to manage and deal with stress as it happens.
Whatever the cause of stress in your life, the good news is there are a number of tricks you can use to help you cope. Everyone experiences and manages stress differently – there’s no one way to deal with stress so don’t be afraid to experiment with a few different techniques to find the one that works for you.
Dealing with stress
The best way to tackle stress is to deal with it head-on. Many of the most popular techniques take just a few minutes and are simple enough to do on the go. By taking a moment out to relax and understand what’s causing stress in your life you can be mindful and prevent the same reaction in future. Next time you’re feeling stressed, try:
Deep breathing – When you’re feeling tense you might notice changes to your breathing as well. It’s not uncommon that your shoulders will tighten and you’ll start taking shallow breaths when you’re feeling ill at ease. Take a moment to relax your body and spend a few minutes taking long, deep breaths – fill your lungs as much as possible and focus on the air going in and out of your body.
Focus your attention – Stress and worry often go hand in hand, and if you’re stressed you might find yourself worrying about things that could go wrong in future. Next time that happens, take a moment to focus your attention. From meditation to a few minutes of focused activity like a puzzle or knitting, stopping your mind from wandering might be just the trick you need to help mounting stresses melt away.
Take a walk – A little fresh air and a different perspective is sometimes all you need to get back in the right frame of mind. If you feel yourself getting stressed or irritable, take a short break and get outdoors and walk. Stepping away from a stressful situation and taking some deep breaths might be all it takes to help you return to the challenge.
Listen to music – Music is an excellent way to help soothe stress. If you have a busy day ahead or are preparing for a situation you anticipate will be stressful, try listening to some relaxing songs or classical music before you go to help calm you and put you in the right frame of mind.
Exercise – Exercise is one of the most simple and effective stress-busters out there. Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can help your body better handle physical and emotional strain and can help you clear your head and feel strong and ready to take on new challenges as they come. From running to swimming or tennis, there are plenty of options to help blow off some steam.
Write a journal – Articulating your thoughts and feelings is a great way to help understand and recognise what’s going on in your own mind. Try keeping a journal and writing down some of the things that are causing you stress – often a soon as we write things down they don’t seem as scary anymore, enabling us to find solution or simply work through something that’s been bothering you.
The web is filled with resources you can draw from to find simple tricks to manage stress. For example, the NHS has published several comprehensive guides on everything from stress busters to ways to manage stress at work, and many of the guides are accompanied by interesting videos as well.
Reader’s Digest has also published its own guide to 37 stress management tips, compiled from leading stress and anxiety experts. No matter what your style, this list should have one or two tips you can incorporate into your daily life to help you tackle stressful situations or moments of anxiety.
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