Stress is a normal aspect of most of our lives that most of us can’t get around. Stress can also dramatically impact our health if it’s constant or prolonged (fight or flight). Rather than eliminating stress from our lives, the important thing is to find ways to manage stress effectively. The following are some simple but powerful tools to help you manage stress and improve the quality of your life.
1. Assist your body and nervous system to function at their best. A regular yoga practice (or physical exercise regime) has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stress on the body and improve your capacity to cope with stress.
2. Eat well – Eating healthy, fresh and nourishing foods is essential to fuel your body and help manage your stress levels.
3. Avoid stimulants such as nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine as they can elevate your heart rate and affect your sleep.
4. Exercise regularly – Moderate activities such as walking, or swimming can help relieve stress as well as release natural ‘feel good’ hormones.
5. Breathe – deeply into the base of your lungs rather than taking short, shallow breaths. This helps you to feel calm and centered.
6. Meditate, relax, rest and sleep – these are all essential things to restore balance in the body and help to quiet a busy, sometimes ‘racing’ mind.
7. Communicate – Talking to friends and loved ones or seeking help from professional counselors can help with feelings of stress and overwhelm.
8. Focus your attention on what you are doing at any particular moment rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
9. Plan ahead – prioritize things in your day, doing the urgent and important things first. Letting pressure build up can heighten your level of stress.
10. Make time for fun – leisure activities like playing sport, socializing or spending time in nature are essential for you health and happiness.
And voila, you’re stress-less!
I gave myself a challenge of not drinking ANY alcohol for the next 30 days. It was hard at first, but then you just have to change your routine. So instead of hanging out in a bar after work, go home and watch Netflix or hang out with your friends in a coffee shop. I’m on my 23rd day already and I must say that I respond to stress much better than before.
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