There are lots of lists out there describing what people consider to be the most important things to do in life. And these lists have lovely sentiments. Find love. Appreciate your family. Do something you are passionate about. I don’t disagree with any of that advice. Those are important things. But all those lists avoid […]
It is easy to succumb to unhealthy behaviors when we are under stress. Drinking alcohol, over-eating and watching too much television are some of the tempting ways that people deal with stress. The problem is that these behaviors ultimately end up making our lives even more stressful.
However, there are healthy ways to deal with stress, ones that will not only make us feel better in the short term, but that will end up improving our lives in the long-term, as well. Below are some ways to reduce your stress levels and bring peace and beauty to your life in the process.
Exercise Regularly: Sometimes, when people go out for a run, they say, “I’m going to go burn off some steam.” That is because when we exercise, we seem to “burn off” our stress. After an hour of walking, running or biking, your stress seems to melt away.
The beauty of exercise is that it produces endorphins in our bodies. And these endorphins improve our mood! As a result, after exercising, we are in a better frame of mind to deal with any problems that we are facing. And those problems may not seem so bad after an hour’s bike ride!
Moreover, when we exercise, our bodies look and feel better, which boosts our self-esteem. And the better we feel about ourselves, the more likely it is that we won’t be bothered by the little irritations of life.
Get Organized: Very often, we get stressed out because our lives feel out of our control. And truth be told, many things are out of our control. We can’t control the economy. We can’t control if we get sick. And we can’t control the way other people treat us.
But we can control certain aspects of our lives. We can control our finances by being careful about our spending and our saving. We can control our personal space by being tidy. And we can get organized so that certain aspects of our lives are organized and under control.
If you are stressed out and feel like your life is out of control, start to regain some control by getting organized. Start with something small. Organize a closet. Or organize your clothes by throwing out those things you haven’t worn in ages. By clearing and tidying up your personal space, you will immediately feel more at peace.
The same holds true for organizing your finances. If you get into debt, it can feel like your life is out of control and hopeless. However, by establishing a budget that includes monthly payments toward reducing your debt, you will start feeling better about your financial situation.
Get More Sleep: Nothing good comes from staying up late. When we don’t get enough sleep, we aren’t able to handle even the most minor irritations that can occur during the day. Worse yet, when we aren’t well-rested, we are incapable of handling any of the big problems that we may face in life.
If you are a self-declared “night owl,” you are only increasing your own stress. The reality is that the world operates during the day and sleeps at night. If you want to be a highly functioning member of society you need to do the same.
The best way to get yourself on a healthy sleep cycle is to get up early each morning. Wake up with the birds, as they say. Then treat yourself kindly in the morning. Don’t speed through breakfast and gulp down a cup of coffee. Have a healthy and relaxed breakfast. Read the paper. Sip your coffee or tea slowly. Make your morning ritual a positive one to start your day.
If you get up early, I can assure you that by 9:00 p.m., you’ll be tired and ready to call it a day. You also should make your bedtime ritual equally peaceful. Get ready for bed in a quiet manner. Set your clothes out for the next day. Then read something spiritually edifying before going to sleep.
If you have a routine in which you rise in the morning and go to sleep at night in a civilized fashion, you will train yourself to have proper sleep habits. And the more sleep you get, the better you will be able to handle any stressors that you may encounter during the day.
Bite Your Tongue: When we are under stress, we can say and do regrettable things. It takes a great deal of self-control to bite your tongue when you are feeling overwhelmed. But exercising restraint when you are stressed out is one of the most important things that you can do.
If you react to others in an angry or mean way while under stress, it reflects poorly on you. It shows that you lack self-control and maturity. It also shows that you are controlled by your emotions rather than your ethics. In short, doing and saying negative things while under stress shows that you are mentally weak.
The best way to reduce stress is to deal with life in a calm and reserved manner. When I take a deep breath and calm down rather than getting upset over a problem, I immediately decrease my stress.
Many years ago, I had a boss who never appeared to get flustered, no matter what was going on. I asked him why he never got overwhelmed. He said to me, “Oh, I get stressed out. I just don’t show it. It is important to have a calm demeanor.” He was right. Significantly, his reserved exterior meant that difficult situations never got out of hand.
When you are facing a situation in which you want to react negatively, make a decision. Are you going to allow the situation to control you? Or, are you going to control your reaction to the situation? Be mentally strong. Reduce your stress by approaching difficult situations calmly and de-escalate the drama.
Do A Good Deed for Someone Else: Sometimes we make our stress worse by obsessing about the issue we are facing. But obsessing about a problem never makes it better.
Of course, it is good to brainstorm and think of creative ways to solve our problems. But some problems can’t be solved. Or, they can’t be solved easily. In those situations, you can reduce your stress by simply getting your mind off of your problems. And the best way to do that is to help someone else.
Helping others is empowering. When we are able to help another human being, that makes us feel capable. And if we are capable of helping another person, that makes us feel like we are capable of solving our own problems.
Moreover, when we help others, we realize that everyone has difficulties. Sometimes, when we are in a tough spot, we go down the path of self-pity. We think that no one else in the world has problems but us. However, nothing could be further from the truth!
By helping another person in need, we learn that everyone has problems. We may even learn that some people’s lives are much harder than our own. And that may lead us to be grateful for the blessings that we do have. In fact, there is nothing like gratitude to reduce stress!
We all face stress in life at one time or another. The people who are most happy are the ones who are good at dealing with stress. This week, if you are facing a difficult situation, reduce your stress by using some of the approaches described above. You’ll find that as you apply these approaches, you will get better at reducing your stress and dealing with life’s inevitable bumps in the road.
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Books: “The Secrets to Success for the Working Mother” by Meerabelle Dey (https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Success-Working-Mother/dp/1546329544 )