Six Ways to Take Control of Your Stress
Do you often feel overwhelmed or stressed-out? If you have a fast-paced lifestyle, ongoing demands, relationship conflicts, or money problems, the stress from these situations can really take its toll.
Did you know that small lifestyle changes, simple relaxation techniques, or even just changing your outlook can help you manage stress?
Research suggests that your body and mind are designed to recover and recharge after periods of stress. But this cannot happen if stress is persistent. That is why finding healthy ways to manage stress is vital.
Try these six strategies to help you take control of your stress:
1. Find the cause of your stress and make a change.
Not all stressors can be avoided, but many can. For instance, let’s say that you tend to overcommit.
Learn to set limits and be ready to say “no” without guilt or excuses.
If you have job stress, ask your boss to set clear priorities.
Be willing to work out conflicts and misunderstandings with the people in your life.
2. Reframe your stress.
It’s easy to build up stress in our minds to the point that we lose perspective. Setting expectations that are too high can have the same result. Try to take an objective look at the stressors in your life.
- Are you seeking perfection where perfection isn’t needed?
- Can you view a stressful challenge as an opportunity rather than a burden?
- How would you advise a friend or co-worker in your situation?
Often, by changing your outlook, you can better understand expectations and gain control of your stress.
3. Get enough sleep.
Yes, we all can do better!
This may seem impossible, especially if your stress keeps you lying awake at night.
But did you know that your sleep troubles may stem, in part, from poor bedtime habits. Try these tips to improve your sleep quality:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Avoid late-night snacking, alcohol or rousing activities.
- Don’t read, work or watch TV in bed.
- Make your bedroom cool, dark and comfortable.
4. Take time to relax.
Find a few minutes each day to let off steam and wind down.
Relaxation techniques, like deep breathing and meditation, have been proven to induce your body’s relaxation response. This is how your body naturally recovers from stress and restores normal body function.
5. Eat right and exercise.
Stress is very good at spoiling good intentions to eat right and exercise!
So, as you can, make small changes to improve your lifestyle.
First, avoid emotional eating—that is, eating too much or eating unhealthy foods to deal with stress.
Second, find a physical outlet, such as brisk walking.
And keep in mind, exercise is also a physical way to release stress and can improve your sleep too!
6. Lean on others.
People feel stressed when they don’t have the resources to cope with the demands of life.
Ask other people who love and care about you for help during stressful times.
Identify others who will help you by listening to your cares and concerns.
Get ready to manage your stress.
Making a change—even one that is good for you, like taking steps to manage stress—is easier said than done.
Take on one change at a time. Otherwise, making too many changes at once will become a source of stress. Don’t expect all your stress to go away; but do expect to feel less stress and more in control.
When stress won’t go away
Some people feel trapped by stressful relationships or situations. The good news is that you have options to deal with stress so that you can start feeling better. If stress continues to be a problem for you even after making changes, get help. Talk to your doctor or a mental health provider.