Stress, which can come in many aspects, for example, economic and social form, can have a huge health impact on our lives. It could lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity— which can lead to heart disease and stroke especially in older folks (65 years and older). So it is imperative to learn to effectively manage everyday stress for a healthy and happy living.
There are many different methods that can aid in effectively managing and combating stress. And this is aside from simply avoiding stressful situations if it can be helped. But sometimes, these situations are simply unavoidable.
So, when avoidance is not an option, the following methods can be used to minimize or eliminate stress from one’s life.
1) Using music to provide a stress-free distraction, for overwhelming stress-inducing thoughts, can be a very effective way of managing stress. Listening to music, which is a popular and simple method of distraction, is an effective and readily available stress relieving distraction. This is because music is easily accessible to almost everyone in virtually any situation, especial with the advent of mobile and portable devices. One can access music that is calming or distracting as long as one has one’s headphones and a cellphone. These methods can be used on the go and in immediate stressful situations.
Some folks also find it very helpful to turn the music up loud and sing along, especially when they are by themselves, pouring the stress and anxiety out into the words of the song and releasing them.
2) Another method of relieving stress, especially in moments of heightened stress is to ground oneself, as this can be a very effective method of distraction as well as a calming exercise.
Grounding oneself involves taking a minute to concentrate on each of the senses: what you can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. This activity helps to connect one with one’s surroundings and distract one from the cause of the stress by redirecting one’s thoughts in a positive way instead of remaining focused on negative stressful thoughts.
3) Exercise is also a healthy and proactive way of distracting oneself from stressful thoughts, and this is in addition to keeping one in good shape. The exercise could range from simply going for a walk or running.
4) Other activities such as coloring or bullet journaling have become more popular in recent years. Studies have shown that coloring can be very effective at managing stress and anxiety and many therapists have recommended it as part of an anxiety battling program for their patients.
Similarly, bullet journaling gives the mind something else to focus on as it is very particular, requiring precise lines and measurements to complete each layout. It is simple enough that anyone with a ruler and pen can do it. It also has the added bonus of helping one to organize one’s life which in turn can help to reduce stress caused by scheduling issues.
5) Long-term stress management is another option to help manage or eliminate stress.
A couple of ways to deal with stress over the long term include changes to one’s diet; ensuring one is eating healthy and minimizing junk food intake can reduce overall stress levels. A healthy body is essential for a healthy mind.
In addition to a healthy diet, making sure one is getting enough quality sleep is essential for long-term stress elimination. The effects of sleep deprivation on the brain are many and varied and can have long-term negative impacts on mood and brain function. Making the necessary adjustments to ensure a comfortable sleeping environment is essential, and don’t put off visiting the doctor if one suspects that one may have a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea.
6) Meditation and mindfulness practices can also help in reducing overall stress levels by helping to let go of the day-to-day stresses we all carry within us. It does this by giving your brain some time to recharge every day.
There are many different methods of meditation, the simplest being to simply set aside ten or fifteen minutes a day and spend that time in a comfortable, and in a quiet place clearing your mind of any and all thoughts.
Guided meditation is also an option which involves listening to a pre-recorded audio of either meditation instructions or soothing sounds like a rainstorm or forest at night.
7) Creating a comprehensive daily, weekly and monthly schedule can help reduce stress by taking the guesswork out of everyday activities. Writing down the schedule on a calendar you can see in a prominent place, in your house, can serve to remind you and reassure you every day that things are being taken care of.
Alternatively, programming your schedule into your cell phone with reminders is an easy and effective way to manage your schedule and help reduce any stress or anxiety related to it. In addition to scheduling all the important things in your day, week or month it is also important to schedule time for hobbies.
Making time for yourself to engage in an activity you find enjoyable can help to eliminate the stress of the day and gives you something to look forward to in stressful situations.
8) Finally, another effective way of managing stress is to talk it out. This could be either with a friend or in more serious cases of debilitating stress, with a counselor. Getting to the root cause of the stress can help to eliminate it all together, if possible.
Counselors and therapists will likely give many of these same tips but talking through problems and triggers can help to either eliminate them from your life or discover why the triggers exist and combat them so that they don’t affect you anymore.
Everyone feels stress on a daily basis, with stress and anxiety triggers increasing every year, especially as the world around us changes at a rapid pace. But regardless, the most important thing to remember when dealing with stress is that it can be managed, and there are many different ways to deal with it including the ones already listed here. Also, remember that help is available and do not be afraid to ask for it if needed.
It is time to seek out ways to manage it, or in a best-case scenario, eliminate it all together if stress or anxiety triggers begin to interfere with your overall happiness or ability to live a healthy and long active life.