10 Steps to Reduce Stress
Stress has become a normal part of modern-day life. With the busy pace of our daily lives, it's easy to get overwhelmed while trying to balance work, family, friends, and time for yourself.
However, constant stress has a negative impact on one's physical and mental health. It is important to learn how to manage stress. Here are 10 ways to reduce stress.
1. Get More Sleep
Lack of sleep is one of the biggest causes of stress. Stress also interrupts sleep so the cycle continues. If possible avoid relying on medication and instead focus on achieving as much relaxation before going to sleep. Also, try to minimize stimulants in your bedroom and create a quiet space with tranquil colors to help relax your mind. Taking a warm bath or reading a calming, undemanding book is another great way to relax your mind. It is also important to try to go to bed at a set time each day to allow your mind and body to adapt to a bedtime routine.
Working out regularly has been proven to relax the body and mind. Exercise also improves your mood. It is imperative to exercise up to 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise including walking. Alternatively one can do 75 minutes of vigorous exercise such as swimming laps, jogging or other sports.
3. Eat Healthier & Avoid Stimulants
It is important to limit or avoid consumption of nicotine and any drinks containing caffeine and alcohol when trying to manage stress. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can increase stress levels. Alcohol in large quantities is a depressant but acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities.
Instead, swap caffeinated and alcoholic drinks for water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fruit juices. These hydrate the body and help it cope better with stress. It is also important to control the intake of refined sugars that lead to energy crashes. A healthy, well-balanced and nutritious diet can greatly reduce stress.
4. Eliminate the Stressors
An intolerable level of psychological stress depends on the intensity of the situation and the person experiencing it. Your individual perception of a stressor is directly linked to your response to it.
While it may not be possible to avoid a stressful situation, it is possible to reduce the stress you experience. Evaluate what change you can make to the situation this can include giving up some of the responsibility associated with the situation, relaxing your standards, or simply asking someone to help you.
Research shows that mindful meditation can greatly reduce psychological stress and anxiety. There have been promising results from short-term meditation programs' work. Set aside five minutes in a quiet place to sit and breathe while focusing on the present moment.
6. Reconnect With Nature
Studies also show that spending time in green space improves mood. There has been promising evidence that even watching a nature video can speed the recovery from stress whereas videos in urban settings do not have the same effect. When you are feeling stressed, take a moment outdoors to appreciate the simplicity of the nature around you.
7. Relax Your Muscles
Another great way that reduces physical tension is to relax your muscles. Taking moments to spoil yourself with a hot bath, massage or even a nap can greatly help. Stretching, yoga, or acupuncture are also great measures to reduce muscle tension.
8. Spend Time With Friends
Sometimes, the best way to relieve stress is to spill your problems to your friends. When you are stressed out, take a break and meet up with a friend who you can talk through your problems and get helpful advice. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important in a balanced lifestyle. A new set of eyes can sometimes see a solution we have missed.
9. Be mindful
A lifestyle change that can be more effective in the long run is the concept of “mindfulness.” Part of meditative and somatic approaches to mental health, mindfulness is incorporated in everything from yoga and tai chi to meditation and Pilates. They incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from taking over your thoughts.
10. Manage Your Time
Sometimes it is simply our lengthy 'To Do' list that overwhelms us. It is important to prioritize and diarize your tasks and accept that you can't do everything at once. Make a list of all the things that need to done then sort the list in order of importance. Then decide which tasks need to be done immediately, in the next week, in the next month, or when time allows.
This reduces the amount of pressure an unmanageable task list will put on you. Having it broken down and sorted out into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks gives you space to think about tasks and leaves time for any emergency unscheduled tasks without causing you panic.