Because stress comes from unexpected places and is often unpredictable, our best defense at handling it is to learn how to manage our own stress and find ways to avoid or minimize those predictable or more avoidable stressors in our lives.
The daily habits that you need to help you better manage stress include those that teach you how to avoid it, how to cope with the stress you can’t prevent and practice that make you stronger and better capable of dealing with those stressful events that will still occur, despite your best efforts.
Stress is a very personal construct, and what may feel stressful for you may not for someone else.
That is why many of the daily habits recommended are more universal or teach you thinking skills rather than teaching you how to handle specific scenarios.
Find those daily habits that work best for you, and stick to them, if you want to learn to manage your stress better. Here are my favorites from which you can choose.
Make Exercise A Part of Your Morning or Evening Ritual
Physical activity is an excellent strategy for relieving mental or physical stress. When you exercise and get your blood moving, you feel more energetic, which enables you to cope with stress better.
Exercise releases endorphins, which can boost your mood and help you feel better prepared to tackle stressful challenges.
And exercise clears your mind, which can help you think better about solutions to stressful problems you may have.
Here are some ways to get more movement into your day.
• Exercise first thing in the morning to start your day on a positive note and ensure you get your workout in each day.
• Take a walking lunch where you snack on portable, healthy foods while you walk around the block or take the stairs up and down at your office.
• Engage in sports or other activities you love to do.
• Join a club or group that enjoys the same activities as you, which will encourage you to do it more.
• Try stretching each night just before bed to relax you and to help you sleep more soundly.
Listen to Music
Whatever type of music you like, you should listen to it frequently. Music can reduce blood pressure and lower your heart rate.
When you hear music, it begins to lower your stress hormone levels quickly and helps boost your mental and emotional health.
When you are feeling especially stressed, try listening to your favorite song to get a quick pick-me-up.
It is important to choose what you love, not what others tell you to love, for the effects to be genuine.
And if you love to sing, by all means, sing along, as this can help boost your mood and reduce your stress even more.
Drink Green Tea
When your stress is causing you to feel anxious or jumpy, reach for a green tea instead of coffee or something else.
Green tea is exceptionally high in antioxidants, which combat the effects of stress on the body and mind.
Drinking a hot mug of tea can also be a relaxing, rejuvenating experience because it gives you time to unwind and consider what is bothering you.
If you do not like tea, try drinking a green juice or smoothie filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, which are also high in antioxidants and plenty of other nutrients to help you combat the effects of a stressful day.
Many times, we are causing ourselves even more stress by over-committing our time and rushing about trying to fit too much into our busy lives.
Your packed calendar and busy list of obligations are creating more tension in your life than you probably realize.
When you start to notice that your to-do list causes you to panic, it is time for some changes.
Start with these simple steps.
1. Make a list of all your commitments, obligations, and tasks for one week. Next to each, place a brief explanation of why this is important to your life.
2. Rank these in terms of priority according to your goals and values.
3. Those that are not important or are not serving your needs should be delegated to others or eliminated.
4. Review your calendar every week for two months to determine which events and tasks can be cut back or stopped altogether to create more space in your schedule.
Record Your Worries
Always keep a small notebook with you. When you find yourself worrying about something or being plagued by anxiety, write down your thoughts.
Getting these out of your mind and onto paper is a helpful strategy for relieving your stress, and when you see the words written, you are better able to process them and see viable solutions.
Writing down your stressors helps you identify those that are less important and have more energy to focus on the ones that present real challenges.
Accept That You Cannot Control Everything
One significant cause of stress for many people is fretting over or focusing on the things in your life over which you have little or no control or ruminating on things that you can’t change.
When you get stuck thinking about these aspects of life, your stress level rises, and you start thinking negatively about your own ability to control your life.
If you want to reduce your stress, you need to learn to accept that life is chaotic and often out of your control, and that the only thing you can influence in your reaction to it.
Accepting this reality can help you learn to shrug off a little of the worries that cause many people stress and anxiety.
When something happens that is causing you stress, ask yourself these questions:
• Is there anything I can do to influence to outcome of this?
• What in this situation is within my control?
• In the long run, will the really matter for my own happiness or well-being?
• How will I choose positively to those people and events that are outside of my control?
- Reducing stress is vital for protecting your physical, mental, and emotional health.
- While there are certainly things in life that cause stress that you cannot get rid of, there are ways to reduce your stress as well as control your response to stressful events.
- These daily habits are an excellent start for learning to manage your stress better.