Managing StressStress is the word that many people use when they are describing how the demands of their life seem to be becoming too great for them to cope with. This ability to cope varies from person to person and what one person finds stressful may not be a problem for another. Whilst many of us suffer with stress at times in our day to day lives, long term stress is known to be bad for our health and many of us would like to find ways to gain some control over it. A relentless build-up of pressure, without the opportunity to recover, can lead to harmful stress. The important thing is to recognise the warning signs while you can do something about it.
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Stress is a major problem for many people — a hectic, stressful job, a chaotic home life, bills to worry about, and bad habits such as unhealthy eating, drinking and smoking can lead to a mountain of stress. If your life is full of stress, there are some simple things you can do to get your life to a more manageable level. 1. One thing at a time.
This is the simplest and best way to start reducing your stress, and you can start today. Focus as much as possible on doing one thing at a time. Pick something to work on. Do only that. Remove distractions such as phones and email while you’re working on that task. 2. 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 gruelling to reduce stress. Exercise on a regular basis helps to burn off and use up the stress hormones and neurochemicals. Thus, exercise can help avoid the damage to our health that prolonged stress can cause. In fact, studies have found that exercise is a potent anti-depressant, anxiolytic (combats anxiety), and sleeping pill for many people, without taking any pills. 3. 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 a soft drink. 4. Use your breath.
This means taking a long, slow breath in, and very slowly breathing out. If you do this a few times, and concentrate fully on breathing, you may find it quite relaxing. Some people find that moving from chest breathing to tummy (abdominal) breathing can be helpful. Sitting quietly, try putting one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. You should aim to breathe quietly by moving your abdomen with your chest moving very little. This encourages the diaphragm to work efficiently and may help you avoid over-breathing. 5. Protect space for you.
Ring-fence time in your day to unwind and reflect - it will help you recharge your batteries and get things into perspective. Set specific times aside to relax positively. Don't just let relaxation happen, or not happen, at the mercy of work, family, etc. Plan it, and look forward to it. Different people prefer different things: a long bath, a quiet stroll, sitting and just listening to a piece of music, etc. These times are not wasteful, and you should not feel guilty about not 'getting on with things'. They can be times of reflection and putting life back in perspective. Some people find it useful to set time aside for a relaxation programme such as meditation or muscular exercises. You can also buy relaxation tapes to help you learn to relax.