Stress is probably up there with death and taxes in terms of how unavoidable and inevitable it is. While you may not be able to completely avoid stress, there is a lot you can do to manage it better. Stress is associated with a myriad of medical problems, so the sooner you work to get it under control the better. Here are ten things you can do to improve the way you cope with stress:
Regular exercise is not only good for your waistline, but it can also be an excellent stress reliever. Try to spend 30 minutes each day engaged in some kind of physical activity. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, just as long as you are moving.
Clear away the clutter
Disorganization can make it very difficult to concentrate and make an already stressful situation worse. Get in the habit of putting things in its proper place instead of just laying it somewhere. Make to-do lists and throw away old papers and junk.
Slow down and relax
Thanks to modern technologies such as cell phones, email, PDAs, etc, we are now more distracted and preoccupied than ever. Our obsession with “multitasking” has put us into sensory overload and has robbed us of any time to ourselves. As a result, we are all constantly feeling drained, anxious and tense. It is important to turn off all the noise and chatter and take a few moments to relax. Take time out everyday for yourself and your thoughts. If you have not taken up yoga before, you may want to consider taking a few classes.
Make sure you get adequate rest
Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a day is crucial for optimal health and well-being in addition to stress reduction. Chronic sleep deprivation has been associated with a wide range of medical problems ranging from obesity to depression.
Have a positive attitude
Being sullen and pessimistic will not only make your stress worse, but you will also end up alienating your friends, family and coworkers. When you find yourself thinking negatively, remind yourself of the things that you should be grateful for. Instead of dwelling on what you are unhappy about, focus on the good parts of your life.
Addiction is not the answer
Abusing drugs, food, alcohol or any other vice will not make your stress go away, but it will lead to a lifelong addiction. If you are having a problem with an addiction, get help and join a treatment program right away.
Have a little fun
Make time for hobbies and activities that you enjoy. Don’t take yourself so seriously and try to smile or laugh at least once each day. Organize a corporate challenge at work to inject some fun into your work day.
Learn how to say “no”
Women are especially vulnerable when it comes to the “disease to please”. Always wanting to help and never wanting to hurt someone’s feelings chronic people pleasers will constantly give and give to others, often at the expense of their own well-being. Afraid to ever say no, they routinely overcommit themselves for too many events, perform endless favors for friends and relatives, perform endless volunteer work and agree to unreasonable deadlines. If this sounds like you, then it is time that you grow a spine and set limits when others ask for your time, your assistance or your money.
Many people attempt to manage the stress in their life by simply avoiding all tasks that they find unpleasant. This almost always backfires because the more things the procrastinator puts off, the more overwhelmed they get by their ever-growing list of demands.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you are having more difficulty coping than usual or find yourself feeling depressed or anxious, do not hesitate to seek outside help. There are many counselors and specialists out there who are trained in helping people successfully manage the stress in their lives.