The Oxford dictionary describes stress as the following: “A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”
Life can be extremely stressful at times. Every person, to varying degrees, has stress in their lives. The amount of stress depends on an individual’s circumstance and the intensity of it depends on how well a person copes with it.
There are a number of things that can cause stress: Work, finances, school, and relationships are the biggest things we all stress over from time to time. Regardless of the situation, if not dealt with in an appropriate manner, over time stress will wreak havoc on your body, mind, and spirit. However, there are seven ways you can minimize stress in order to prevent physical and mental illness and live a happier life.
1. Talk to a Friend
Don’t swallow your emotions and let them bottle up inside. Talk to a friend. If you just had a fight with your spouse or other family member, call up a friend and meet her or him at a local coffee shop to talk about your situation.
Good friends are always there to lend a listening ear and comfort you when you most need it. A true friend will give you advice that will help peaceably resolve the conflict you’ve had with your spouse or other family member.
When you’re open and honest about your feelings with the right people, you release the anger and pain you’re feeling on the inside. This helps reduce stress, but it also helps you move on with your life in a more positive direction.
2. Think Positively
This can be easier said than done, especially when the going gets rough. Regardless of how many blows life deals you, stay positive. A positive outlook will do the following:
– Keep your mental health in good shape
– Prevent you from having a mental break down
– Strengthen your coping skills
– Make you more resilient
However, if the situation is volatile and completely out of your control, get out of it. Nothing is worse than being stuck in a relationship or any other situation that threatens your safety and wellbeing. Also, nothing and nobody is worth that kind of stress.
It could be anything you’re feeling stressed out over. Your boss yelled at you and practically wrecked a day that otherwise would have been good. Or perhaps you’re a student and you’re studying for a math final. You’ve been studying for hours, but you still don’t understand all of the material.
Take a deep breath and take a break. Go for a long walk or workout at the gym, or wherever you feel like working out, for that matter. Regular exercise will clear any confusion or stress you are feeling. It will help rejuvenate your mind so that you are much better prepared to tackle that math exam or deal with that difficult boss. In any situation, being active will keep your body, mind, and spirit healthy and happy.
4. Eat Healthy
Substitute the sugary sweets and deep-fried foods for meals that are nutritious. Include a combination of fruit, vegetables, chicken, lean ground meat, whole grain rice, greens, and nuts in your diet. Ideally, you want to maintain the right balance of carbohydrates (that’s your fruits and vegetables), protein, and fats so that you’re not getting too much of one thing and not enough of the other.
A good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to diet: At least half the food on your plate should be vegetables with one fist sized portion of meat, chicken, or fish.
These types of foods help maintain weight, reduce the likelihood of getting diabetes, heart, and other cardiovascular related diseases. They also give you more energy, which helps with mental clarity. When you’re feeling well physically, you will also feel good mentally and that also helps with stress management.
5. Organize Your Time Wisely
Get out a day time planner and organize your priorities in order from the greatest to the least. This will help you prioritize chores and other daily activities. In doing so, you will maximize your free time and things will generally run much smoother when you’re on a routine. In the end, you will feel much more relaxed and will not have to worry about scrambling to make ends meet at the last minute.
As you organize, be sure to communicate your ideas, goals, and plans with your spouse and children – if you have a family of your own. Make sure everyone is on the same page and in agreement with your plans before you proceed with them. Good communication will save you from a lot of stress and heartache.
6. Take a Holiday
This can be hard to do, especially when finances are tight. However, holidays are necessary for mental health and overall wellbeing. Besides, a holiday doesn’t have to entail getting on a plane to go to a far away place. You can enjoy a beautiful holiday right at home for that matter.
Holidays are meant to relax, recharge, and have fun while spending quality time with friends and family. It’s probably the best way to declutter your mind and relieve stress.
7. Quit Worrying about the Future
This is much easier said than done, especially after coming through two tumultuous years where careers and businesses were destroyed and well laid out plans botched. Yet, we’ve all managed to pull through one way or another. However, to many of us who live for the future and thrive off making plans, it’s time to slow down.
While it’s great to think ahead and have ideas of where you’d like to live and what you’d like to be doing for a career, dwelling and worrying about your future is completely futile, especially at a time like this when things are still so uncertain. It causes too much stress and anxiety.
Set goals for yourself and pursue them, but as the saying goes, “Let go and let God.” Keep yourself grounded in the present and have faith that everything will work out okay. Because they will.
You can minimize stress, but do realize that you will never completely eliminate it. Life will throw a wrench into your well laid out plans, throwing you off course and it can even get downright nasty at times. However, with the right mindset and attitude, you can rise above the negativity, weather the storm, and come out of it much stronger, better able to handle stress when it rears its ugly head.