Managing your stress level is an important factor to living a healthy and happy life that is often ignored. Most will simply accept the stress rather than try to find ways to reduce it.
However, you should not take stress so lightly. Yes, stress is a natural part of life that everybody experiences and has to deal with in one way or another but there are simple things you can do to help reduce stress or at least manage it better. Taking the steps necessary to manage your stress level will lower your blood pressure, lead to higher energy levels and many other benefits to your health and overall well-being.
Below are a few simple but powerful tips to help you reduce stress in your life.
Eat Healthier & Exercise
It may sound cliche but eating healthier and exercising are the two best things you can do to manage your stress. And mostly everyone already knows this intuitively; treat your body right, give it the nutrients it needs, and it will operate better and more efficiently. The problem comes with actually taking the initiative or finding the motivation to eat healthier and exercise more.
Making dramatic changes to your diet and exercise routine can be an added factor to stress in and of itself, so you’ll want to make very small incremental changes. This not only makes such changes easier to handle and less stressful but it also makes those changes more likely to stick and become a habit. Do a few pushups in the morning at first, take the stairs instead of the elevator, add a banana or an apple to your lunch. Start making these very small changes and add on as time goes on.
De-clutter and Organize
You’d be surprised how much a difference it can make in reducing your stress by simply cleaning up and organizing your home and office. Living in a chaotic mess seems to reflect itself in our lives. Most people find that simply removing the clutter on their desk will improve their mindset and help boost productivity.
Being disorganized also leads to more stress in certain situations, such as when you can’t find your car keys in the morning and you end up running late to work. Or perhaps you need to find an important paper or report but it is lost somewhere in the stack of papers on your desk. You can remove little stressors like these that add to your overall stress level simply by becoming more organized.
Take Your Sleep Seriously
Lack of quality sleep is one of the biggest factors to stress and yet it is the one most ignored. You can get through your day with only four hours of sleep, sure, but it is going to negatively affect your health and add to your stress.
Researchers are continually confirming and uncovering new negative affects of sleep deprivation.
If you find yourself having trouble getting to sleep there are free resources available on the internet that may help. The common tips to falling asleep easier include:
1) Don’t drink any caffeinated beverages 3 to 6 hours before you plan to go to sleep.
2) Avoid electronic screens such as computers or television 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to go to sleep because electronic light exposure before sleep disrupts natural body rhythms, excites your visuals and suppresses the release of the hormone melatonin which promotes sleep.
3) Try different relaxation techniques such as meditation.
4) Try reading a book in bed before going to sleep. Reading often helps people become drowsy and the drowsy effect is increased by reading in your bed.
5) If you don’t feel tired when you plan to go to sleep, simply lay in bed and close your eyes and try not to think about anything. You may find that you’ll soon become tired this way and is a better option than turning on the tube which, like mentioned, disrupts your quality of sleep and makes you even less tired.
Get a New Hobby or Join a Group
New experiences or taking up a fun hobby can dramatically reduce stress. Pick up hiking as an outdoor recreational activity for example. Studies actually show that getting out into nature can have a positive effect on our moods. Or you could join a book club or some other group activity. Having fun and enjoying yourself with hobbies and activities is a great way to reduce stress and enhance the quality of your life.
Quit Destructive Habits
If you drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes you may want to consider reducing if not stopping these habits completely. Smoking cigarettes actually does help reduce stress while you are smoking them but cigarettes damage your blood vessels and nerve endings which consequently lead to more overall stress. Alcohol has a similar effect as cigarettes. It may temporarily reduce your stress in the moment but the health disruption it can cause may lead to a net increase in your stress level.
Other destructive habits may include eating unhealthy, over-spending or procrastination. Look for areas where you can improve yourself. Setting goals and reaching for excellence makes you feel better about yourself and will ultimately lead to less stress.