Proactive Steps to put Stress in its Place
Sleepless nights, sweaty palms, short temper, blue mood, grumpy disposition, trouble focusing, difficulty enjoying anything, continuously worrying… if you can relate to these symptoms you are likely falling victim to prolonged stress. Prolonged, unmanaged high stress has been linked to numerous health and mood problems. If steps are not taken to actively reduce stress, this can lead to relationship problems, illness and injuries and even life-threatening diseases—leading to even more stress. This is a vicious cycle plaguing countless Americans; people just like you. As alarming as this might seem, there are natural things that you can do today to help reduce stress in your life now and forever.
- Exercise: Increasing your heart rate for at least 15-30 minutes daily doing some physical exercise will help you manage your stress levels and improve your overall mood along with other aspects of mental and physical health. To really enjoy this and to help develop a daily routine, incorporate activities you enjoy such as hiking, swimming, sports, paddle boarding, etc. Doing a variety of activities will benefit you enormously and help to keep you from seeing exercise as a boring, chore and maybe even have you looking forward to it.
- Rest: Get plenty of sleep each night—about six to eight hours—and feel free to include short naps (about 15 minutes) in your day to help keep you energized and refreshed, able to manage the day’s stressors. At least six hours of uninterrupted sleep is critical to help prevent stress and prevent your body from overreacting to stressful impulses. Power naps in the mid afternoon or early evening can also help energize you and allow you to more easily deal with stress. Try not to nap for more than 15 minutes as too much napping can interfere with your ability to sleep soundly at night and actually prevent you from managing stress very well.
- Shorten Commute: Long commutes tend to be stressful. Commuters are more prone to run into traffic jams, car accidents and irritating drivers that can cause a stressful day before much of the day has even begun. To reduce stress, try to commute less, if possible. Try to work closer to home or maybe work from home certain days of the week and seek out shopping and activities that are closer to home.
- Healthy Relationships: Keep friends and family close who are positive, happy and supportive. Make attempts to nurture such relationships in your life. Sharing time with positive, happy and supportive people can help to reduce stress significantly through sharing time, stories and activities and maybe even solutions to stressful situations.
- Spend Time in Nature: Hang out under a tree, go to a park, find a beach, river, stream or lake, garden, hike, swim, sit outside or walk. Being outside in nature, listening to birds and watching squirrels can help ground you and distract you from stressors. Just this act alone can help place stress into a more manageable perspective, and nature has a unique way of captivating the imagination and refreshing thoughts.
- Give Back: From volunteering at a local nonprofit or church to helping a neighbor with a chore or project, giving back can help you feel empowered and improve your self-esteem while contributing to a greater good. Also, giving of yourself to help others can sometimes remind you of how good you actually have it.
- Smile: Smiling because you’re happy, when you greet a stranger, when you see a good friend or loved one, when your mind drifts to a happy memory and even for no reason at all—smiling helps you feel better and reduces the impact of stress. Especially if you’re having a difficult time finding something to smile about—smile. Find just one reason to do it, and let that lead you to finding more reasons to do it every day—stress will impact you far less.
- Plan an Adventure: What do you really want to do? Go on a trip, try a new activity, create a new art or craft project—whatever you really want to do, start planning it. Even if you have no idea how you’re going to make it happen, plan it anyway. The pleasure derived from dreaming and scheming can have a significant impact on reducing stress and help you focus on your dreams, aspirations and having fun.
- Meditate One of the most effective ways of managing stress is to maintain focus on the present—what you are experiencing right now versus regretting the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool to help you ground yourself in the moment. Sit quietly and focus on your breath, abandoning all thoughts beyond what you are currently hearing, feeling and experiencing is a great discipline to help release the hold of stress and impose a sense of balance and perspective.
- Gratitude: Take note of everything you have to be grateful for—maybe it’s your good health, your family and friends, your home, that you have food to eat and people who love you, a beloved pet, dreams and goals, that you enjoy nature or art or physical activity. No matter what you have to be grateful for, think about and feel your gratitude deeply. This will also help to re-set your perspective, which can greatly reduce the impact and importance stress has in your life.
- Seek Peace Within: Usually the most stress is attributed to external forces such as a job, relationship, finances, medical problems or other hardships that are not about the core of who you are. Seeking peace and happiness from within your own spirit will help to strengthen the core of your being, preventing you from defining yourself by the sum of your problems and help you find the peace and strength you need from within yourself.
For a great selection of all natural remedies to help ease stress and tension, please click here: Natural Remedies for Stress