No matter what you do, you can’t get away from stress. We all know that stress can be very detrimental to our health and our productivity in our work. So what are we to do?
Many times I hear people say “I work best under stress” …“I do my best work at the last minute.” In truth, we all force ourselves to work well under some stress. Every one’s tolerance for stress is different. For some people, just a small change in their environment can put them over the edge and others seem to thrive when they’re under pressure. This doesn’t mean that in either case the stress is any healthier for either of these types of people.
Stress is often categorized into good stress and bad stress. Many believe only bad stress can be detrimental to their health.
Examples of bad stress could be: marital problems, death of a loved one, an accident, health problems etc. We all know that under these types of conditions, we feel the effects of the stress.
Examples of good stress could be: getting married, planning for a vacation, buying a new house, getting a new job, moving to a new city, going to a party etc. What makes these types of stressors different is that they are exciting and thought of as being good for the individual.
In fact, both good and bad stress has negative effects on our health. Symptoms could be increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, fear, lack of sleep or too much sleep, loss of weight or weight gain.
So what’s a person to do? There is an arsenal of tools which you can add to your stress busting toolkit.
Tool 1 – Mindful Meditation
Meditation practices are as old as human civilization. With practice meditation can be used to relieve stress, relieve pain, slow heart rate. Meditative exercise such as yoga or tai chi has the same stress relieving benefits.
Tool 2 – Just Breathe
Most of us only do shallow breathing. Learning to take deep breathes can be restorative as it bring oxygen to all the body tissues.
Tool 3 – Visualization
Visualization is a way to transport yourself away from your current situation, to a more pleasurable place or time. Learning this technique can help with relaxation, sleep, anxiety, and total well-being.
Tool 4 – Muscle Relaxation
The process of bringing awareness to each part of the body and progressively relaxing each muscle one at a time, can bring true stress relief. This is the perfect technique to do before going to sleep.
Tool 5 – Healthy Lifestyle
Incorporating healthier habits for those which are less healthy can reduce stress and reduce guilt.
Tool 6 – Journal
Keep a journal of any kind is a great way to build awareness and funnel your energy into more positive thoughts. Examples of journals could be a food journal, a gratitude journal, goal journal.
Tool 7 – Manage Your Time
We all have the same number of hours in a day. How you manage your life is the way to make the best use of the time you have.
Tool 8 – Organize Your Life
Being organized both physically and mentally is a true stress buster. Knowing where important items are how to get to them is a time saver and gives us a sense of being in control.
Tool 9 – Tame Your Inner Critic
Knowing how to control the inner voice, which gives us negative thoughts, is a sure way to accomplish what we were meant to be.
Tool 10 – Remove Stressors
Sometimes we need to physically remove what is the cause of our stress. Examples are: getting rid of junk food, getting rid of cigarettes, not going to bars, saying no to events which are stressful to us, removing negative people from our circle of friends.
Tool 11 – Regular Exercise
Exercising is a wonderful way to increase endorphins and reduce stress. We all know how much better we feel after a vigorous workout.
Tool 12 – Socialize
As humans we need the companionship of those who bring us joy and happiness. Socializing and making social events part of our schedule keeps us emotionally healthy.
Experiment with these techniques and find which ones work for you. At different times in your life you might find several techniques more helpful and then later you might find adding a few more has a great benefit. Remember, it’s not about doing it all, just doing what works for you!