Stress is inevitable. There’s no way you can go through life and completely omit it. There are different levels of stress and some are more taxing than others.
The key is learning how to deal with stress. It’s easy to go nuts and have a pity party or freak out. That’s ok for a bit, but then you have to pick yourself up and Let Go.
Here’s 10 tips for reducing stress. Use some of them, a combination of them, or all of them. Find the ones that work best for you.
1. Take Action
Difficult situations are temporary. Think of how many times you’ve had to deal with really difficult situations, and how you overcame them. The key is to think it through, identify what you can do to move forward and take action steps to move along. Write down your action steps and check them off as you achieve them, that will reduce your stress levels. Then let it go.
Yes, this is a great exercise, not only for stress, but if you’re tired. It’s called the 5-5-5-5 breathing exercise. Why? Because you inhale for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, exhale for five seconds and repeat this five times. Here’s how you do it. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, if you can. Inhale through your nose, deeply and slowly, to the count of five, until you can’t inhale any more. Hold your breath for five seconds. Slowly exhale through your mouth to the count of five until you exhale completely. Count slowly, breath slowly and exhale slowly. Watch and see how this can relieve tension in your body and help you get through the moment.
Ya know the old saying “grin and bear it?” Well, it works. According to Psychology today, smiling activates the release of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. This relaxes you and it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. I make it a point to smile as much as possible. Even when I’m by myself driving, shopping, you name it. It really does improve your mood. Years ago, I was a customer service representative for AT&T. Part of our training was that we had to answer the phone with a smile. People can hear it in your voice, and it’s a good way to start a conversation.
4. Go For A Walk
Like it or not, exercise relieves stress. Walking is easy and you can do it anywhere, anytime, any season, no matter what the weather is. I’ve worked in buildings where we would have walking groups. We’d start at the top floor (6th floor), walk around that floor then down the flight of stairs. We’d do that for every floor. Once we hit the bottom floor, we would walk back up all six flights of stairs. With all that huffing and puffing, you will forget about whatever you were stressing over.
5. Play With Your Pet
Being around a furry, friendly, non-judgmental, loving being that will just listen to you is comforting. Think how happy little kids in the hospital get when they bring a dog around for them to pet. Or how having pets in nursing homes help the elderly people feel like they have a purpose of taking care of another living being. It’s because it’s soothing, you temporarily forget about your worries and it makes you smile. (YAY! You get a two-fer adding #3 into the mix.)
6. Don’t Whine About It
Did somebody say Wine? ohhh Whine – dang. You had me at WINE. 😉 The more you whine and complain about what’s going wrong, the more stressed you’ll be. Don’t ask “why is this happening to me?” Ask “what can I do to change this situation?” It’s easier than you think and it becomes your new way of handling every situation in your life.
7. Get A Massage
Massages relieve toxins in your body, relax you and relieve tension that you hold in your muscles. Massages also help relieve anxiety, stress related insomnia, headaches, symptoms of depression and dozens of other symptoms. Besides that, it just feels flipping awesome.
8. Watch A Funny Movie
Laughter is the best medicine. Think about that good, real, deep, belly gut laugh. Ya know, that one that makes you cry? How do you feel after that? Pretty good, right? Laughter increases your oxygen intake, relieves your stress response and increases circulation, which in turn reduces muscle tension.
9. Spend Time With Someone You Love
Sit at home and cuddle, watch a movie, go for a walk, play a game, have a few cocktails, or do absolutely nothing. Just know that the person you’re with loves you and loves being with you. What’s there to stress about?
10. Start A Journal
Journaling is a huge release. It’s best if you can do it every day, but if you only want to do it when you’re stressed out, go for it. It’s free therapy. Just write down everything you’re feeling, anger, happy, worry, chores you have to get done, you name it. Write it down. Pretend you’re at a counseling session and really let it all pour out. It’s a real cleansing process and you will feel so much better.