Nobody likes to be stressed out. It makes you not like other people and it makes other people not like you. On top of that it literally kills you. Unfortunately most people who deal with stress cannot control the thing that stresses them out. What can be controlled however is how that person reacts to what is stressing them out.
There are multiple ways of dealing with this. The simplest is just relaxing, or some light meditation. Clear some time out of every day where you can sit alone if quiet and just think. No other noise. This form of meditation has been used for centuries. But if sitting in silence isn’t your thing you can watch TV, read a book (non work or school related), go fishing, or do whatever it is that relaxes you. The point is that you are giving yourself a break from thinking about and dealing with the things that stress you out.
1. One thing at a time. This is the simplest and best way to start reducing your stress, and you can start today. Right now. Focus as much as possible on doing one thing at a time. Clear your desk of distractions. Pick something to work on. Need to write a report? Do only that. Remove distractions such as phones and email notifications while you’re working on that report. If you’re going to do email, do only that. This takes practice, and you’ll get urges to do other things. Just keep practicing and you’ll get better at it.
2. Simplify your schedule. A hectic schedule is a major cause of high stress. Simplify by reducing the number of commitments in your life to just the essential ones. Learn to say no to the rest — and slowly get out of commitments that aren’t beneficial to you. Schedule only a few important things each day, and put space between them. Get out of meetings when they aren’t absolutely essential. Leave room for down time and fun.
3. Listen To Music. Finding a music therapist isn’t the only way music can help as a stress reliever. Creating play lists for various moods (a cathartic mix for when you want to process feelings, an upbeat mix for when you need more energy, etc.) can help you to relieve stress passively, enjoyably, and conveniently.
4. Get moving. Do something each day to be active — walk, hike, play a sport, go for a run, do yoga. It doesn’t have to be grueling to reduce stress. Just move. Have fun doing it.
5. Yoga. Yoga incorporates breathing Exercises, meditation, and light exercise. One session brings initial stress relief, and continued practice brings greater resilience to stress. It’s one of the more potent stress relievers.
6. Develop one healthy habit this month. Other than getting active, improving your health overall will help with the stress. But do it one habit at a time. Eat fruits and veggies for snacks. Floss every day. Quit smoking. Cook something healthy for dinner. Drink water instead of soda. One habit at a time.
7. Do something calming. What do you enjoy that calms you down? For many people, it can be the “get moving” activity discussed above. But it could also be taking a nap, or a bath, or reading, or having sex (which can also be considered a “get moving” activity if you do it for longer than 5 minutes). Other people are calmed by housework or yardwork. Some people like to meditate, or take a nature walk. Find your calming activity and try to do it each day.
8. Exercise. This is common advice for stress relief, and that’s because it works … but it’s also a stress prevention method. Exercising helps relieve the stress buildup, it gives you some quiet time to contemplate and relax, and just as importantly, it makes you more fit. A fitter person is better equipped to handle stress. Another important factor: being unhealthy can be a major stressor (especially once you have to go to the hospital), and exercise can help prevent that.
9. Simplify your finances. Finances can be a drain on your energy and a major stressor. If that’s true with you, figure out ways to simplify things. Automate savings and bill payments and debt payments. Spend less by going shopping (at malls or online) much less. Find ways to have fun that don’t involve spending money.
10. Journaling. Journaling is another great way to get rid of some stress, and it goes hand-in-hand with treating stress. Dumping all of your emotions from the day out on the page is a great way to put that day in the rear view mirror. It is almost like magic, just a few flicks of the wrist and poof, you feel better.
11. Have a blast! Have fun each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I like to play with my kids — they take my mind off everything and are really hilarious. I also like to play sports (again, often with my kids). Board games are fun. Sex, again, can be a fun activity. Whatever you choose, be sure to laugh.
12. Eat healthy. This goes hand-in-hand with exercise as a stress prevention method, of course. Become healthier and a major source of stress will disappear. Also, I’ve found that greasy food, for me, puts me in a worse mood and can contribute to stress levels immediately.
13. Get creative. Throwing yourself into a creative activity is another great way to de-stress and to prevent stress. I like writing, but others like to paint or play music or sketch or make pottery or do interior design or build things.
14. Drink Green tea. Sitting with a glass of green tea and planning for the day ahead, or reflecting on the day behind (remember–decaf at night!) can provide you with a nice break and a taste of peace. You’ll experience the health benefits of green tea as well.
15. Relax throughout the day. It’s important to take mini-breaks during your work day. Stop what you’re doing, massage your shoulders and neck and head and hands and arms, get up and stretch, walk around, drink some water. Go outside and appreciate the fresh air and the beautiful sky. Talk to someone you like. Life doesn’t have to be all about productivity. You should also avoid using online activity too much as your de-stressing activity — get away from the computer to relax.
16. Declutter. This is a favorite of mine. I like to take 20-30 minutes and just go through a room, getting rid of stuff we don’t use or need anymore. I look around at anything that’s cluttering up a room, and get rid of it or find a better place for it. When I’m done, I have a nice, peaceful enviornment for work, play, and living. Do this a little at a time — it can be one of your “fun activities”.
17. Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy has proven benefits for stress relief–it can help you to become energized, more relaxed, or more present.
18. Be early. I will admit that it’s hard to be early when you have to get 6 kids ready (seriously — try it!). But being late can be very stressful. Try to leave earlier by getting ready earlier, or by scheduling more space between events. Things always take longer than normal, so schedule some buffer time: extra time to get ready, to commute, to do errands before you need to be somewhere, to attend a meeting before another scheduled appointment. If you get somewhere early, it’s good to have some reading material.
19. Plant a garden. Getting outside and enjoying the scenery is just one of the ways that gardening can contribute to stress relief. Read about the other stress reliever benefits of planting a garden.