Stress Management Tips - Helping You Reduce Stress
Stress is inevitable in life but that doesn’t mean that we have to be passive about it and risk being stressed out. With some stress management tips, coping or dealing with stress should not be difficult.
There are many ways to reduce stress but before we start listing some stress relief tips, take a simple test to see if you are really stressed.
Here are the top 10 key stress indicators. Just simply tick on the ones that have affected you.
- sleep difficulties
- loss of appetite
- poor concentration or poor memory retention
- performance dip
- uncharacteristic errors or missed deadlines
- anger or tantrums
- violent or anti-social behaviour
- emotional outbursts
- alcohol or drug abuse
- nervous habits
Your test score.
No.of Stress indicators ticked
You could be stressed
You are probably stressed
You are almost certainly stressed
4 or more
You are definitely stressed
So, have you got an answer?. If yes, read on as the following would definitely be useful in teaching you how to relieve stress.
Stress Relief Tips
1. Start a stress diary
Keeping a stress diary is an effective way of finding out both what causes you stress, and what level of stress you prefer. In this diary note down your stress levels and how you feel throughout the day. In particular, note down stressful events. Record the following information:
a. The time and place where the event took place
b. The Intensity of the stress felt (On a scale of 1 to 10)
c. Duration of stress felt. How long did you feel unhappy, angry, agitated etc
d. The event, situation or people causing the stress
e. What was the triggering event (The preceding event that has led to the stressful situation that you are in right now)
f. Your reaction i.e. emotional or physical towards that event.
Here is a sample of a stress diary that you can copy.
By keeping track of all causes of stress that have affected you, you would be in a better position to find ways to manage them. Looking retrospectively, you should be able to avoid running into such situations again and hence reducing your exposure to stress.
Taking frequent effective exercise is probably one of the best physical stress-reduction techniques available. Exercise not only improves your health and reduces stress caused by unfitness, it also relaxes tense muscles and helps you to sleep.
Exercise has a number of other positive benefits you may not be aware of:
- It improves blood flow to your brain, bringing additional sugars and oxygen which may be needed when you are thinking intensely
- When you think hard, the neurones of your brain function more intensely. As they do this they build up toxic waste products that cause foggy thinking in the short term, and can damage the brain in the long term. By exercising you speed the flow of blood through your brain, moving these waste products faster. You also improve this blood flow so that even when you are not exercising, waste is eliminated more efficiently.
- It can cause release of chemicals called endorphins into your blood stream. These give you a feeling of happiness and well-being
Being fit and healthy also increases your ability in managing stress as it arises.
3. Relaxation and Meditation Techniques
Learn how to relax yourself and this can best be done through meditation.
The idea of meditation is to focus your thoughts on one relaxing thing for a sustained period of time. This rests your mind by diverting it from thinking about the problems that have caused stress. It gives your body time to relax and recuperate and clear away toxins that may have built up through stress and mental or physical activity.
Meditation is particularly useful where:
- you have been under long term stress,
- you have been under short term stress which has caused adrenaline to be released into your bloodstream,
- you have been worrying about problems,
- you have been physically active.
Relaxing using meditation can have the following beneficial effects on our health.
- slows breathing
- reduces blood pressure
- helps muscles relax
- gives the body time to eliminate lactic acid and other waste products
- reduces anxiety
- eliminates stressful thoughts
- helps with clear thinking
- helps with focus and concentration
- reduces irritability
- reduces stress headaches
4. Time management
Stress is often cited as a result of poor time management. These are often the people who do not prioritize their jobs or tasks. They tend to over-commit and over scheduled. In such cases, good time management skills are critical for effective stress control.. One way to help in developing time management skills is to always try to use a calendar or planner, and check it faithfully before committing to anything. You can also learn to identify time-wasting tasks by keeping a diary for a few days and noticing where you may be losing time.
5. Develop your social support network.
When under intense stress, it is very natural to withdraw from the world and concentrate exclusively on solving the problem that is causing the stress yourself . However, this may not be an ideal option. One person working on his or her own simply cannot achieve tasks beyond a certain size. Similarly, many stressful situations cannot be resolved without the help of other people.
As such, learn to be more sociable. Expand and develop your own social network of friends so that there are always these groups of people that you feel comfortable with that can help you in times of need.
Simple as they may seems, these stress management tips when put into use can greatly help you in managing and coping with stress. Stress should never be taken lightly especially on a long term basis. Acknowledging the presence of stress and dealing with stress as they arises is the only way to lead a more healthy and stress-free life.