3 Ways You Can Reduce Stress
National Stress Awareness Day is November 4
Stress Can Be Good
Everyone has stress. It’s actually necessary and has a purpose in our lives. Not all is bad, and it’s needed at times to light that flame under our butts to get us moving in the right direction. The good kind of stress, termed eustress (pronounced YOU-stress), is what you feel when you’re facing a challenge that requires your energy and focused attention. It could feel like excitement, determination, or courage. Good stress comes in handy when you’re playing competitive sports, pushing to meet a deadline, or presenting in front of a crowd.
Stress Is Necessary
The human body reacts much better to negative stress when it occurs with a quick recovery period immediately following. You know this as the fight or flight response. This type helps protect you in life or death situations. In everyday life, you might experience this when you’re driving and suddenly have to swerve to avoid the large branch in the road. The restful state then returns fairly quickly, allowing your body to once again relax and resume your normal driving. That recovery period immediately following your stress response is important to keeping your levels balanced.
Too Much of a Good (Or Necessary) Thing
The fight or flight response can flip into the bad zone when there is too much or long term exposure to it. You probably know all to well, that too much worry and anxiety is definitely bad. In the United States, 43% of adults report feeling overly stressed. The worst type for your health is chronic stress. Our bodies were not designed to handle this kind of long term, pervasive physical state. Chronic stress can impact your mental and physical health, possibly leading to depression, trouble sleeping, frequent headaches, elevated blood pressure, and other symptoms. Chronic stress is one of the top complaints cited by patients when visiting their doctor.
A Continuous and Costly Loop?
Being chronically stressed, or burned out, could cost you big time. Besides extra visits to the doctor, you might also be missing work or not performing as well as you could. Then it’s a vicious cycle because you could become anxious over your situation, at work or elsewhere, even more. In an attempt to restore the balance you might try to soothe yourself by going out and making purchases to help you “feel better”. Not only are those extra purchases not helping you feel better, but they’re also putting a dent in your wallet. Maybe that extra stuff is actually contributing to your discomfort even more in the form of clutter.
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Three Actions to Start Reducing Your Stress Today
What are some ways you can regain balance and feel happier more often?
- Change your frame of mind
- Be conscious of negative thoughts and try to replace each one with seven positive thoughts
- Be a “no” person. You don’t have to do everything you’re asked to do. It’s okay, and necessary to say no sometimes
- Be true to your personal vision as much as you can. Don’t know what your personal vision is? Develop one
- Think quality rather than quantity
- Develop a routine to minimize mental pressure
- Dedicate time each day to breathe deeply, meditate, or write down thoughts of gratitude
- Work time into your schedule to exercise, take a walk and stretch
- Get enough sleep
- Ask for help (we all need it sometimes)
- Call a friend to talk to or spend some time with
- Clear the clutter with the help of friends, family, or even a professional organizer
- Delegate some of your “to-do’s” out to someone you trust
How do you reduce chronic stress in your life? Share in the comments below.