The lives we live in the modern world are simply full of stress, and worst of all, it is mostly low-level stress that is persistent over months or even years. Stress is very bad for us, particularly this low-level stress, so it is particularly important that you understand what causes your stress and how you can alleviate it.
If you want to remove some of the stress from your life, there is plenty that you can do by being proactive about it. Here are a few simple tips to take the load off:
Write Down The Causes Of Your Stress
The first step is to recognise that you are stressed, if you’re reading this then you have probably done that already. Next, you need to assess what in your life is causing you stress – some causes may be obvious, but others may not be.
Once you have written down your causes of stress you can start to figure out how you can fix them. If money is an issue, then consider taking better control of your finances, most people can save some money somewhere if they need to.
In particular, tackle the main causes of stress if you can. If your job is causing constant over-bearing levels of stress then you need to either change the situation or change the job. This might seem drastic, but if your stress is affecting your health then it may be necessary.
Exercise & Eating
Stress impacts your physical health and causes physical symptoms which your body has to handle. Making sure that you eat healthily and exercise regularly will ensure that your body is strong and able to cope – thus increasing your resistance to stress.
Better yet, if you are overweight or unfit then losing weight will certainly make you feel happier and give you more energy. This will mean that you can actually get more done and be more active. If a part of your stress is causes by a lack of free time then getting fit will probably help you to get more done.
On top of all of that, exercise is a great way to unwind and short bursts of physical stress followed by well earned recovery will help to flush out the symptoms of your long-term stress.
Likewise, eating a healthy diet and avoiding junk food will help you to be more energetic and more productive. Seeking comfort in comfort foods will just cause more feelings of lethargy which can create a vicious cycle.
Unhealthy Ways Of Coping
There are plenty of unhealthy ways to cope with stress, don’t do them, and if you are already doing them, make an effort to stop. The best option is to take note of your less healthy vices and replace them with healthy ones.
For instance: Stop smoking and start running!
- Drinking too much
- Over-eating / comfort eating
- Zoning out in front of the TV
- Social withdrawal
- Sleeping too much
Remove Unnecessary Stressors
Some stress is probably unavoidable, or at least may feel unavoidable. But a lot of stress is avoidable if you change your attitude. If you don’t know what your avoidable stressors are, try asking your friends, they have probably noticed a few:
- You take on too much because you can’t say no
- You worry about money all the time
- You have too much to do at work
- You worry about other people’s problems
The list goes on, but once you recognise those patterns you can do something about them. One option is to cut them out, but if that’s not possible, there are other options:
- Budgeting can help to save money or at least reassure you about it
- Saying no occasionally will cut down your work load
- Formalising your schedule and keeping a diary will improve productivity
- Schedule some time each week for relaxation – no excuses
- Schedule some time each week for exercise – also no excuses
If your stressors cannot easily be resolved and if they are not irrational (if they are irrational then consider seeing a doctor or psychologist) then you may need to consider bigger changes such as down-sizing, changing your job or career or counselling.
Talk About It
Above all else, you need to avoid social withdrawal – time spent with friends and family is a great way to relax and talking about your stresses will help you to resolve them in your own mind. Even if you don’t think your problems are big, talking about them will help.
So what do you think? How have you reduced stress in your life?
This guest post was contributed by Jesse from Seven Seas. Jesse is a hard working health and fitness fanatic. He has lived with stress and has always tried to reduce stressors in his life wherever possible. He loves to eat well and keep active and finds that going for a run is the best possible way to clear his head and improve his productivity.