Stress is one of the worst emotions to feel next to anger and depression. Stress can affect your everyday life, including your health and the way you interact with other people. Here’s 7 of my most favourite tips to reduce stress, whether it be the bad kind of stress, or the good kind. (Yes, there is a good kind; it can be a motivator to work harder at something which will later result in you feeling more confident.)
Nothing can be solved until you do this step. If you do not find out what it is that is bothering you, it can make you feel even more stress and prolong the issue. Is it something personal? Something work related? Did you have a lot to do this weekend, but you slacked off? Or are you and your best friend in a fight? You’re in charge of planning a dinner party at your house? Whatever your reason for the stress you’re feeling may be, it’s crucial to detect what it is first so you are able to target the problem directly.
It’s always a good idea to ask yourself this question before taking action to deal with your stress. Is this something that will affect you in a year? How long has it been affecting you? And most importantly, is it in your reach to control, or out of your reach to control? For example, if you have three big projects due by the end of the week, that is definitely in your reach. With enough motivation you will be able to get them done, and done well. But if you’re stressed over what someone said to you, or what you said to someone, or maybe you’re stressed because your phone fell on concrete and smashed and there is no way to fix it, is not in your reach to control. Instead of taking action, you will have to find another way to cope with the stress in a healthy manner. Make sure you understand the size of your stress before proceeding.
This is my favourite way to reduce stress. Whenever I have a problem, I take out the note application on my phone and/or iPod and jot down a plan or action. This could mean anything from a timeline to a couple paragraphs explaining how you’re going to resolve a certain issue. For example:
7:00-8:00 PM = Work on Math Project
8:00-8:30 PM = Work on Science Project
8:30-9:00 PM = Break (etc, etc, etc . . . )
By listing every little thing that needs to be done, will save you a lot of pressure, stress, and is good for time management. By creating a to-do list with a timespan, you are able to set goals for yourself and when completed, give yourself a reward. If you’re going to be making a plan of action for something else, such as how you’re going to resolve a social issue, you can write a paragraph or two with steps and explain how you will resolve the issue. By doing this you can have a thorough plan made up and when you go to put it into action, you’ll never feel unprepared.
Whether that be a family member, a friend, a partner, or a therapist, talking about your problems is very therapeutic. To hear yourself speak the words you are thinking is helpful on its own. But by talking about it, you’re also letting your emotions run out and others to take that in. When someone sympathizes with what you’re telling them, you will feel better, too. If you are also seeking advice, make sure you go to someone who either has had the same situation as you, or someone you feel comfortable talking to. Even if it’s a small problem, and you wouldn’t mind telling the lady sitting next to you at the bus stop. Anything goes – talking about your problems helps you let go of some of that anger and stress, and allows others to give you new tips to cut down on that stress in your life.
Much like talking about it, writing about it does the same thing except you are not letting anyone else into your thoughts. This is a much better solution for some, because they get to read what they wrote over and over again and come to conclusions on their own. Writing for many (including myself) is also like an escape from the real world; a place where you can write and say anything you want, and when you want to say it. Writing can be relaxing, and it’s almost as if you are venting to someone. If you are willing to let the cause of your stress go, then writing all of your feelings down somewhere can be a big help.
No matter how much you hate it, you feel amazing when you accomplish a great workout! Movement melts away stress, gives you energy, and makes your endorphins pump all over your body. When you exercise, you not only feel good about yourself, but stress reduces because of the chemical that is being released throughout your body. You forget about your problems and are focusing on yourself and your workout, and the endorphins make you feel happy and strong. So, go hit up the gym!
Like stated at the beginning of this article, being tired can cause stress. Whether it’s because you only got two hours of sleep, you aren’t eating right, or it’s your T.O.M, being tired can make you feel very irritable and angry. Although getting 8 hours of sleep is a myth, because everyone needs a different amount of sleep, you still need to be rested in order to perform properly. Not only does it cause stress, it also makes all of your problems feel ten times the size that they really are. Have you ever had a really bad day, went home, took a nap, woke up, and then realized that there was nothing really to be cranky about to begin with? If you’re ever feeling stressed and exhausted, go take a much-needed nap. Your body and mindset will thank you later.
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