12 Easy Ways To Reduce Stress
Work, family and health problems, as well as financial obligations, are part of everyday life that usually contribute to increased levels of stress. However, stress affects us differently - it affects both our genetics, and traits of our personality.
Types of stress
Stress research is receiving increasing attention, but stress is mostly associated with negativity, and the positive aspects of stress, such as mobilization of the body, acceleration of the reaction, and increase in the body's defenses and endurance, are often overlooked. It is in stressful situations that many of us find sudden and / or non-standard solutions to problems, and it is in stressful situations that we are able to “open up” internal reserves and do the amount of work we would not otherwise be able to do.
There are 2 types of stress:
- Positive stress or Eistress - arise in situations that we perceive as affected and that:
- We are motivated and focused by our energy;
- Improves our performance;
- Creates positive emotions - joy, satisfaction, arousal;
- It is relatively short-lived.
- Negative stress or Distress - arise in situations that we perceive as unaffected and that:
- We are disorganized;
- Lowers our performance;
- Creates negative emotions - anxiety, fear, depression;
- It can be both short-term and long-term;
- May cause mental and physical disorders.
Everything is mainly based on your perception - each specific situation can be perceived both as a decision with negative consequences for you, and as influential, solvable, motivating…
It is important to understand that what is actually happening and how you perceive it may be completely unrelated to each other, and more important than what is happening is how you perceive what is happening. Thus, whether a particular situation will motivate and help you focus or disorganize causing anxiety, fear or depression depends on your self-efficacy (Your judgment as to whether and how you can perform the required task, action or role). That is, everything is in our heads.
The negative effects of stress begin when we either forget to "undo the alarm" or live in or wait for it. Chronic stress harms our health by increasing heart disease, anxiety and risks of depression. And, of course, emotional eating (which is the main reason that prompted me to write on this topic).
It is important to understand that stress is not the same as mental health problems that require medical attention. The advice provided can reduce various types of stress and reduce the health risks of stress, but it will not help, for example, in the case of depression.
12 ways to reduce stress
1 Be physically active
A 6 - week study of 185 university students found that aerobic exercise at least twice a week significantly reduced overall stress levels and stress due to uncertainty.
In addition, it has been shown to be regular physical activity, especially high-intensity training, reduces the symptoms of common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
What to do?
Start with simple activities such as walking or cycling. Choose activities that you enjoy - that do not stress you out on their own and that you can do on a regular basis in the future. Regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes 3-5 days a week is enough to bring about change. Activities that relieve thoughts and help to relax are also suitable for reducing stress, such as yoga.
2 Follow the preconditions of a healthy diet
Healthy and nutritious diet will provide your body with everything you need for its optimal functioning and will not lack nutrients that help regulate stress levels.
What you put in your mouth affects both your physical and mental health. Studies show that people who eat a lot of industrially processed foods are likely to have higher levels of stress.
When stressed, it is easy to overeat and absorb a lot of extra calories (emotional eating) and, if such situations are regular - being overweight, which in turn can harm your health and mood - cause guilt and dissatisfaction with yourself, which in turn can lower your self-esteem… and you have a reason to eat something again.
In addition, if you are on a healthy diet, you may be deficient in nutrients that are essential for managing stress and mood, such as vitamin B and magnesium deficiency.
What to do?
Try not to use industrially processed foods and sweetened carbonated drinks in your diet. Cook using fresh, unprocessed products such as vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, dairy products, nuts and seeds. If you provide your body with everything you need - your well-being and stress resistance will also improve.
3 Reduce the amount of time you spend on screens
Smartphones, computers, tablets and TV are an essential part of everyday life for many people. We need these devices, but using them too often can increase stress levels and vice versa - reducing the time they use can help reduce stress and improve sleep for both children and adults.
There have been several studies on the link between excessive smartphone use and iPhone addiction increased stress levels and mental health problems.
What to do?
Try to find an occupation / hobby that is not related to watching on screen. For example, I spend 4-10 hours a day at the computer - answering questions, writing menus and training programs, writing this and other articles… But every day I spend several hours cooking in the kitchen - this is my hobby that helps me divert my thoughts from daily worries and lets please my loved ones.
4 Drink enough water
Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating and an inability to make effective decisions. Thirst is often confused with hunger and can lead to cravings for food - which in turn causes very sharp fluctuations in blood sugar and the accumulation of excess weight. Don't wait until you're thirsty, but always have water on hand. Read more about the importance of water HERE.
5 Take time for yourself
Do what you love to do or what makes you feel good, like:
- Go for a walk;
- Lie down in an aromatic bath;
- Light candles;
- Read a good book;
- Surprise your loved ones with a delicious meal;
- Go to a massage, to the hairdresser, do a manicure…;
- Find a hobby
Several studies show that as well aromatherapy can reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
Studies show that people who take time to improve themselves / their well-being have lower levels of stress and overall quality of life, while lack of self-care is associated with a higher risk of stress and burnout. To live a healthy life, it is important to dedicate time to yourself. There is no need to excuse the lack of time - if you are worried, grumpy, dissatisfied with yourself - you will not be happy at work or in your personal life. This is especially important for people whose daily lives tend to be tense and stressful - nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers…
6 Reduce your caffeine intake
Excessive consumption of coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks can increase your susceptibility to stress and lower the quality of sleepbecause these products stimulate your central nervous system.
Although many studies show that moderate coffee consumption is healthy, it is not recommended to take more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to 4 to 5 cups (0.9 to 1.2 l) of coffee. The response to caffeine is different for each of us - if you notice that caffeine makes you nervous or restless - reduce the amount of coffee you drink or replace it and energy drinks with herbal tea or water.
7 Spend more time with family and friends
We are social beings and cannot stand loneliness. Contact with our loved ones is very important for our mental health. Spending time with people we like encourages creativity, joy and carefreeness - they are all great antidotes to stress. The support of family and friends can help you cope with stress much better.
8 Learn to say NO
You can't control everything, but many things are still controllable. Taking on too much will increase your stress load and reduce the amount of time you can devote to yourself.
Taking control of your personal life can help reduce stress and protect your mental health.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to say no more often. Yes, sometimes it's not easy, but remember that "everyone is closest to themselves." That, of course, sounds a bit selfish, but burnout will not benefit you, your family and friends, or your employer. If you feel that you will not be able to do something due to a lack of time, skills or a positive attitude, it is better not to take it on.
It is important to create healthy boundaries in your life by refusing to take on more than you can accomplish. "No" is one way to control stressors and protect your well-being / mental health.
9 Learn to plan your daily routine
Each of us has work that is unpleasant for us to do. Some just do it and forget it, some postpone it until the last minute. And these unfinished business is with us all the time - we think about it, but we can't get it…
Start planning your daily routine - it's best to create a to-do list and prioritize your work. Give yourself realistic deadlines and just do them one by one.
10 Understand yourself
Self-knowledge and attachment to the present moment, for example - even short but regular Meditation can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. If you want to try meditation, there are countless books and websites that can help you learn the basics.
Another good method of self-awareness is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT - Cognitive behavioral therapy), which helps to identify negative or useless patterns of thought and behavior. Many experts consider this to be the gold standard in psychotherapy. Unlike many other therapies, CBT does not focus on knowing and talking about your past.
CBT is based on the belief that your thoughts, emotions, and actions are related. In other words, how you think and feel about something can affect what and how you do it. For example, if you are exposed to a lot of stress at work, you may see situations differently and make choices that you would not make in other circumstances. With CBT, you can learn to recognize and change your patterns of thinking and behaving.
11 Think positive
Stress can also be caused by your negative thoughts, such as "I can't do it." "I'm sure I won't succeed," "Everyone thinks I'm stupid," "Nobody likes me, etc." Remember that such thoughts often lack a real basis or are greatly exaggerated.
Negative thinking predicts a sad future that prevents a person from living in the present and is most often based on our assumptions rather than facts. Ask yourself:
- How do I know what others think of me?
- Are my colleagues really behind me, or do I just feel that way?
- Is this particular failure the "end of life"? Can / how can I change it?
- If a job is too hard - do I have to do it alone? Can I ask someone for help?
12 Avoid unnecessary competition
Mutual competition motivates us and helps us to develop, but there are many situations in life where competition is unnecessary or even harmful. If you constantly want to be the best in all walks of life, you will create extra stress, which can make you unnecessarily aggressive.
What to do if you are in a situation of increased stress?
One of the most effective and fastest ways to overcome stress is to hold your breath. Changing the rhythm and depth of breathing - from a rapid and shallow inhalation to a slower and deeper breath - also helps:
- Focus on breathing;
- Take a longer exhale and a shorter inhale;
- Imagine inhaling positive energy;
After a few minutes, you will feel calmer breathing in this way.
Another method is to tighten and relax muscle groups:
- Tighten the muscles of the feet, legs, buttocks, abdomen and lower back;
- Pay attention to your feelings and relax;
- Tighten the muscles of the feet, legs, buttocks, abdomen and lower back;
- Take a deep breath;
- Pay attention to your feelings, exhale and relax.
Where to start?
If you want to reduce stress and make a difference in your life, first talk to the people closest to you so that they understand what you are trying to achieve and why. You can ask them for help with some daily tasks or tasks, redistribute daily responsibilities, and so on.
Try to set aside more free time for yourself.
Don't work for many hours - take breaks. This will make you feel more active and work more productive.
If you have any special problems (health, financial or otherwise), consult someone for advice on how to deal with them better.
If you have found a hobby or decided to take time for a sport or other activity - invite a friend to participate. This way you will get more satisfaction from these activities.
Changes in your life are the result of a real assessment of your current situation and should not take long. By reducing your stress level, you will be more productive and get your work done faster. You will have more time for yourself, your family and friends.
We enjoy life watching it without pink glasses 😊.