Are you stressed out?
Does thinking about your to-do list overwhelm you? Do you ever feel tempted to run away and leave it all behind?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone. According to a recent Gallup Survey, 35% of participants worldwide reported struggling with stress.
In our information-dense age, feeling overwhelmed is an all too common experience. Keeping up with life and all its responsibilities seems nearly impossible at times.
Juggling the multiple roles and never-ending tasks that demand our attention is mentally exhausting. And the stress of “doing it all” goes far beyond just draining our mind.
Stress is a Full Body Experience
We feel it physically too. Our brain and body are connected. And they both function with the same main objective: to keep us alive.
So it’s only natural that whatever happens in one has at least some effect on the other. Especially in situations that are overwhelming.
The Mayo Clinic lists headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, upset stomachs, and trouble sleeping all as symptoms that stress can cause.
And That’s Not All
Stress also affects our behavior. When both our brain and body are overwhelmed, it gets harder to keep up with our typical daily routine and experiences.
And with all these stressful thoughts and feelings bubbling under the surface, it’s definitely more of a challenge to keep our cool.
The Mayo Clinic also lists overeating or undereating, exercising less often, angry outbursts, and social withdrawal as some of the different ways stress can manifest in our actions.
Let’s Face It
Stress is part of life. But it’s adverse effects are both alarming and concerning.
Living in a constant state of stress clearly isn’t healthy. Yet it’s impossible to avoid the feeling completely.
So how do we break free of its vicious cycle if stress is something we have to face every day?
It’s true that stress is inevitable. But there are ways you can minimize its negative effects.
There are particular habits and practices you can put in place to help you navigate through stressful moments more smoothly and quickly.
Below are 5 proven techniques that you can use to manage the daily stressors in your life. Strategies that have been tried and tested by both the experts and the ordinary overwhelmed people of the world.
So are you ready to handle your stress like a pro?
Let’s Get Started
1. Write Things Down
Whether it’s a jotting down a to-do list, journaling about what’s on your mind, or any other stream of consciousness, writing things down is powerful. When you deposit thoughts and feelings onto paper, they weigh a little less on your mind and body.
Writing helps you make sense of and organize your thoughts so they don’t feel quite as overwhelming. And it allows you to process some of the stress that you’re carrying as you do.
Not only does writing clear your mind – it can also improve your health overall. Studies have even shown that journaling can strengthen the immune system.
2. Prioritize “Nothing” Time
Give your brain and body a break. Whether it’s 3 minutes or 3 hours, taking a breather can make a world of difference.
The idea is counter-intuitive, but taking a break can make you more productive. It just depends on how you use the time.
This technique is most effective when you truly unplug and focus on activities that help you stay present. Practices such as meditation, taking a walk, and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) are all great options for this particular purpose.
Disconnecting from the world around you, even for a little while, allows you to reconnect with yourself. It gives you a chance to refresh and reset your system. And there’s plenty of research about how practicing mindfulness can lower stress levels.
3. Break Your Pattern
Another option when life gets overwhelming is to change an aspect of your daily routine. Try doing something you don’t normally do. Wear a color that you typically don’t, take another route to work, or listen to something different on the radio.
Taking a small step like this and switching things up will add a slice of excitement to your day. Breaking your pattern is a simple way to invite a little bit of mystery into your life. And it’ll get you thinking and seeing things from a different perspective.
It’s a practice that can help you reframe the stressful factors in your day by making them a bit more fun. And interrupting your physical pattern this way can also help you do the same with your thought patterns. Cognitive reframing is a therapeutic technique for doing just that.
4. Move your Body
Movement is also a powerful practice for releasing stress. Particularly any that you’re carrying in your body.
Exercising releases endorphins into your system – the “happy hormones” that are known for lifting mood and reducing stress. So it’s an excellent way to work out any tension that you may (consciously or unconsciously) be holding onto.
Yoga and qoya are two movement practices that focus on stress relief, but any form of moving your body is beneficial. Trust your gut and go with what feels good for you. Just get moving!
5. Ask for Help
This final technique for managing stress is one that’s often overlooked. But when it comes down to it, stress is usually a sign that you’ve got an overwhelming load on your plate.
So what would happen if you asked for support? Maybe you just need someone to talk out loud to and figure out your next steps. Or perhaps you actually need somebody to take over a task.
Asking for help might feel awkward or uncomfortable in the moment, but it can offer you long-term stress relief. And social psychologist Dr. Heidi Grant, teaches about how to get a yes when you do ask for help.
Wrapping it Up
Life is full of overwhelming moments and experiences. Although you can’t escape stress completely, you can navigate through these times in a way that invites more ease into your life and lessens any negative impacts. And the 5 methods above are a few of the best ways to do just this.
So are you ready to change your relationship with stress? Any one of these techniques is a great way to get started!