We live in a fast paced, information overloaded, digital world. With tough economic times, rising inflation rates and work and family pressures, stress is ever-present in most of our lives.
Stress comes in many guises; its effects are numerous and often go unnoticed until it’s too late. It can then manifest itself with both physical and psychological symptoms – no wonder stress is often called the silent killer.
The good news is that stress can be reduced and managed, making it less harmful to your well-being.
Here are five proven ways to reduce stress in your life:
1. Identify your stressors.
This is critical, it is difficult to reduce stress if you don’t know where it’s coming from. List all aspects of your life and identify where the sources of your stress are. Relationships are a loving and fulfilling part of our lives but emotional connections also cause stress. Work causes major anxiety and your financial and physical wellbeing can be both causes and symptoms of stress.
The first step to counteracting stress is to identify its source. Once you’ve done that, you can start lessening its effects.
2. Effective time management
Part of our daily stress is the busy lives we lead – kids, work, partners, friends, Facebook, Instagram – it can be exhausting and demanding.
Effective time management will help you organise your life. Write lists and use a digital (or traditional) diary to schedule tasks, appointments, chores and general admin. Most importantly, schedule time for play and fun, it is as critical to your physical wellbeing as anything else is.
Organising your time effectively, will allow you to be in control. It will ensure you become more efficient and accomplish more in a day, leaving you with more free time to relax and have fun; this is one of the best stress reducer’s out there.
Exercise is critical to everyone’s well-being. The advantages of regular physical exercise are manifold and well documented but exercise is also an excellent stress reducer.
Physical activity produces endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. You’ve heard of the runner’s high, it’s just endorphins. It makes you feel good and, as an added bonus, look good…naturally.
Regular physical exercise can be as effective, if not more so, in reducing stress, than many anti-depressants on the market.
Exercise will improve your self-confidence and general mood, as well as lower any symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise is also known to improve sleep and reduce depression and anxiety.
4. Stress management coaching
There are a variety of stress management tools and courses to help you live a more stress-free life. They teach a range of techniques including breathing and meditation exercises that can help you respond in healthier ways to stressful situations, and effectively manage any stress in the workplace or your everyday life.
Stress management coaching provides tools and methods to change the way you respond to stress. You might think yoga is for new age hippies, but the stress release benefits of yoga are well known.
5. Read more
Some solutions to stress relief are so basic, almost unnoticeable, that we are not even aware of the stress reducing qualities. Reading is one of them.
We often take reading for granted, we read emails, instructions, news, articles on the web, blog posts all to find information, but how often do we read for pleasure? Reading is the perfect tonic to the stresses of everyday life. Depending on what you read, it can transport you to a world far detached from reality and sometimes that is exactly what we need.
While stress may be constant in most of our lives, it does not have to be harmful or excessive. Luckily, there are many ways to reduce the stress in our daily lives and the solution you choose does not have to cost a fortune or anything at all. The most important thing is to take control of the stress before it takes control of you.