Stress is bad news. The medical community agrees that prolonged, unmanaged stress can lead to long-term health problems, depression and insomnia. The worst part is that stress can come from any aspect of our lives: work, relationships, our own insecurity or those bills that won’t stop coming.
So what can we do about it?
The medical community also agrees that stress is (unfortunately) a natural part of life. And if managed properly, regular amounts of stress can even help us thrive! So the answer to stress isn’t to eliminate it, but to manage it in responsible ways that allow us to move forward and enjoy life, health and our loved ones.
Here are nine simple ways to manage stress.
Express Your Feelings
Everyone experiences anger and sadness, and everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. Don’t be afraid to share your feelings with loved ones, and don’t agree to take on more tasks than you can handle. Say no when you have to. Above all, don’t be afraid to speak up!
Spend Time in Nature
The therapeutic value of a long walk or hike should not be underestimated. Taking the kids or the dog to the park is a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine.
There’s no more efficient way to release stress-fighting endorphins than to get your body moving. Whether you get a membership and personal trainer at a pricey health club, or simply take Rover for a jog around the block, raising your heart rate and working those muscles is a great way to manage stress.
This doesn’t have to mean a calorie-restricted diet. Stressful dietary changes can compound your existing stress. Instead, be mindful of the amount of refined sugars you are taking in. Opt instead for fruit, yogurt or whole grains. Starting your day with breakfast will keep your mind clear and your energy high throughout the day.
Surround Yourself with Supportive Friends and Family
Loneliness and stress seem to go hand-in-hand. You may have a lot going on in your life, but you don’t have to face it alone. Having a strong support system of loving family and laughing friends put the stress of life into perspective. Talking with friends or family can make stressful situations seem distant or even humorous when viewed from a different angle.
Manage Your Time
Don’t overdo it. Schedule your tasks carefully to make sure you still have time to enjoy yourself and your loved ones.
Like exercise for your mind, finding artful ways to express yourself — such as music or art — can be a great help in managing your stress levels.
Do Something You Enjoy
All work and no play leads to stress and depression. Making time for fun is extremely important in leading a balanced life. Read a book, get a massage or play a game to keep your stress level in check and remind yourself what you are working so hard to achieve.
Try to Keep a Positive Attitude
Sometimes staying positive can be tough, but remember that your situation will improve. When you have to stress, just remember what it is you are struggling to achieve. Being kind to others, offering compliments to those around you (and to yourself!) and looking for the silver lining of every situation will help you manage your stress.
Stress Management at Pathways Real Life Recovery in Utah
We all respond to stress differently so, there’s no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. If the stress in your life is out of control, Pathways is here to help you. Through stress management techniques, we can teach you healthier ways to cope with stress, help reduce its harmful effects and prevent it from spiraling out of control again in the future. If your stress and anxiety are still too much to handle, we offer anxiety treatment and will create a plan designed specifically around your needs.
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