Stress and stress management is a major problem for most people. Pressure from work, maintaining a home, raising a family and financial worries can all contribute to us feeling stressed out. Who doesn’t have a long list of jobs that need doing and never enough time to do them all! Managing your stress is essential for your wellbeing and practising natural ways to reduce your stress levels is the only sensible way to mantain the long term benefits. Chronic stress can lead to both minor and major health problems such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, depression and asthma. It can also push you towards an unhealthy lifestyle such as not getting sufficient sleep, smoking, not exercising and eating an unhealthy diet.
A completely stress free life probably isn’t possible to achieve. In fact stress can be beneficial in that it challenges and motivates us to accomplish our goals and desires. However, most of the stress we encounter through our lives is unnecessary and can be eliminated or at least reduced to a more manageable level by taking a few simple steps.
In this article I’ll share 12 natural techniques that if performed daily can not only have a positive effect in lowering your stress levels, but can actually help you to build a resilience toward stress. Pick and choose the habits that you think will work best, give them a try and watch your stress levels plummet.
1. Do One Thing At A Time
Doing one thing at a time is the simplest and quickest way to start reducing your stress levels. No more multi-tasking, just perform one task at a time. Need to pay some bills, wash clothes or make dinner? Do only one of these jobs at a time. Preparing a meal while simultaneously making a phone call and loading the dishwasher is a recipe to send your stress levels through the roof. Focusing on just one task will take practice and some self-control, but keep practicing and your stress level will reap the benefits.
2. Slow Down
Stop rushing through your day and learn to take things slow. You may feel by performing tasks quickly, having a quick lunch or missing tea breaks you are being more productive, but you are probably also sending your stress levels through the roof. Just slowing down can make a dramatic change to the amount of stress you feel throughout the day.
3. Be Silent
Schedule five minutes a few times through the day when you disconnect yourself from the world. Turn off your phone, TV, radio, doorbell, tablet and laptop. Anything that makes a noise or can distract your mind. Then just sit back, relax and enjoy the silence.
4. Stop Procrastinating
Everybody has a tendency to procrastinate, putting off unwanted tasks to another time or even forever. The problem with allowing work to pile up is that it can often lead to more problems that could have been avoided had the job been completed earlier, thus causing even more issues you need to solve and sending your stress levels through the roof. The good news though is that making a few changes to your lifestyle will help you overcome a tendency to procrastinate and help stop you feeling so stressed. My article 6 Tips To Stop Procrastinating will give you the information you need to take action today.
5. Take A Brief Walk
When you are feeling particularly stressed, if possible, stop what you are doing and take a short walk. It doesn’t need to be a trek, just a 2 or 3 minute walk can be enough to clear your mind and calm you down.
6. Get Active
Our bodies weren’t made to sit in a chair all day. Studies show that getting outdoors and taking daily exercise is a great stress reliever as well as all the other well-known health benefits. So make sure to do some physical activity every day – take a brisk walk, go hiking, ride a bicycle, take up a sport etc. It doesn’t need to be an intense session to de-stress you, just get moving.
7. Organise Your Workspace
A disorganised work area can cause you to have difficulty in concentrating and have a lack of focus, both of which can make a task more difficult and time consuming and make you feel stressed. Try removing any unnecessary items from your desk keeping only what’s needed for your work in front of you.
8. Eliminate Non-Essential Tasks
Eliminating any jobs that are non-essential from your day will give you more time and energy to focus on the remaining important tasks and in turn reduce your stress. Also consider which tasks you perform daily that stresses you the most. Weigh up the amount of stress caused by performing the task by the value to you of completing it. It’s quite possible some jobs just aren’t worth the anxiety they cause.
9. Schedule Some Relaxation Time
Relaxation is different for different people, one person may find rock climbing relaxing, another lying on the sofa reading a book. Whatever your preference, making time to relax and forgetting your worries is vital to managing stress.
10. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is the time for your body to repair itself and your brain’s chance to put it’s feet up and relax. Insufficient or inconsistent sleep can have many detrimental health consequences but it doesn’t only affect our physical health. A lack of sleep can also increase our levels of anxiety. Taking steps to sleep well means you’ll start the day rested, refreshed and less stressed. A few suggestions include eating a light dinner and not snacking during the evening and not looking at any screens an hour or two before bed.
11. Avoid Difficult People
We all have people in our lives who we find difficult to deal with or ask too much of us. They usually manage to push just the right buttons to make us feel stressed and anxious. If possible just avoid them, or at least limit your exposure to them.
Stress can cause your mind to race making it difficult for you to relax or sleep. Meditation is a popular form of stress management and can not only control your racing thoughts, your emotions and relax your body, but can also increase your self-esteem and feelings of optimism. As little as 15 minutes a day of quiet meditation can make a huge impact in reducing your stress levels and improve your general well-being.