Deal With Stress

6 Ways to Lower Your Stress Levels

Being with loved ones can help when dealing with adversitiesThere are many reasons why people feel stressed. Sometimes it is a result of an issue related to work, a relationship breakdown, problems with friends or family, maybe even a combination of personal and professional situations. Whatever the cause is, 54 percent of Americans are concerned. They are concerned about how much stress they have in their daily lives.

Often therapy or sitting with a life coach are thought of as a way to counteract stress and find relaxation, however there are some things you can do yourself through the day to help with stress. Here is a list of ways to reduce – and prevent – stress so that it doesn’t get the best of you.

1. Sleep

It is well known that stress can cause you to miss out on sleep. Not only that, but losing sleep can cause higher stress levels. This is a big issue affecting many people. A vicious cycle of missed sleep and heightened stress can wreak havoc on your brain and your body, as the hormones that allow you to relax are less available over time and leave you in a constant state of stress. Sleep is something your therapist or life coach can suggest, but you have to take action in order to obtain the benefits.

Get your eight hours of uninterrupted sleep even if you have to take a nap. It has been shown that sleep even in the form of napping reduces cortisol levels, therefore, reducing stress.

2. Water

Drinking water is a simple way to de-stress, it may sound too easy, but studies have shown that staying hydrated can keep your stress levels down. Being dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels. Stress and dehydration both cause similar responses in the body. They both result in responses such as increased heart rate, nausea, fatigue and headache.

Studies show that you should drink at least ½ an ounce (up to 1 ounce) of water for every pound of body mass. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds would drink between 75 and 150 ounces. Increasing the amount of water you consume in a day, in higher range when experiencing stress, can reduce the extent of the physical responses your body experiences. When drinking enough water on a regular basis, your body will be well equipped to deal with any situation that may arise.

3. Meditation

Meditation can help you become more aware of how to make choices that lead to well-being and happiness. Practicing meditation regularly allows you to learn to let go of emotional states that are stressful and that lead to physical tension. Your life coach can maybe direct you to a good source to learn to meditate. However, you can take simple steps to begin to do this now.

Initially only take 5 – 15 minutes (this can increase over time) and sit quietly without distraction and simply notice the thoughts that are running through your mind. Allow them to be there, but don’t try to work them out. Notice any tension you hold in your body, any emotions that may be present and just notice. Meditation isn’t about doing something, it’s about allowing yourself to be just as you are in any moment. Many people use mantras to quiet the mind or guided visualizations to keep their mind occupied, but if that is not available, all that is needed is to sit with yourself and become mindful. Observe yourself in the moment and be content. If you find this exercise creates more anxiety remind yourself that it is OK. The purpose is to create awareness so that you can find relaxation in times of stress. Most important is that you be gentle with yourself. Accept that anything you are doing is OK. There is no right or wrong.

4. Quiet Time

Quiet time is a TIME OUT from what is happening around you. Quiet time is participation in an activity that allows you to stop the chatter of your mind, relax and unwind. By disconnecting from the stressors in your life, you give yourself time to recharge your battery, rejuvenate and regain energy. The result is a fresh perspective on the challenges you are facing.

Reading a book, watching a movie, having a bath or even meditating are examples of quiet time. From the popular book Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus, John Gray discusses the idea of men going into their “Caves”. John says:

“When a man is in the cave, he tends to lose all awareness of a woman’s needs. He’s focused on occupying himself with activities that distract him from his stress. So you might find him doing anything but working to solve the issue he’s dealing with.”

A reminder to women not to take on the stress when a man is in need of his space. While John’s books are definitely worth reading, there is a lot of indication that women also need time to go within and recharge. So women, while your man is in his cave take time for yourself.

5. Social Time

Studies show that a social support system contributes to psychological well-being. Maybe your friends play the role of your life coach. When you have a healthy social support network, you benefit in many ways. You would feel a sense of belonging and therefore may prevent feelings of loneliness. Socializing promotes an increased sense of self-worth, by reinforcing that you are likeable and good. Feelings of security are also provided as you have people to turn to when you need them. It can just be fun and enjoyable, as you find yourself connecting with others who have similar interest, goals and/or values.

So, go to dinner with close friends. Hang out with your buddies. Make time for your family. Who already provides you with this type of social support? Go find them. Some ideas to help you find a social network are to volunteer for something you love, join a gym, look online for a MeetUp event that matches your interests. Sign up to play a sport or join a book club. There are many activities, clubs and groups out there that offer opportunities to connect.

6. Intimate Connections

Physical connections can reduce stress and offer an emotional link between individuals. Being around people who love and accept you has a great impact on your well-being. Hugs have the power to impact stress in a positive way. Even just an understanding touch on the arm can go a long way to support someone who feels alone.

Greater more intimate physical connections have an even higher impact on stress. Cuddling, kissing and sex decrease the physical symptoms related to stress, such as blood pressure. Research studies support that married people are generally healthier than people who are single, although, women who are in unsupportive relationships that lack intimacy have weaker immune systems. Remember, your healthy sex life can have a positive effect on the quality of the rest of your life, including your professional life.

Although life will continue to provide you with situations that create feelings of tension and feel out of your control, you have the ability to manage your response and come out on top. By using the tips listed above you will be able to practice more control over how you respond to those stressors. Your improved state of relaxation will lead to a better quality, more healthful and fulfilling life.

As always from love ♥
Katrina Bremner
Life Coach

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