Stress is an unavoidable fact of life. Job, health family, even recreational activities – as contradictory as that sounds – all contribute to everyday stress. Not all stress is negative, but any form of stress takes a toll on our energy levels and physical health. It is very important to our overall well-being that we learn how to process stress in a positive way.
Dealing with stress in a constructive manner is a conscious choice. Too many people say, “I can’t help that I get stressed out! It’s my (fill in the blank: job, marriage, kids, etc). I can’t change that!” You may not be able to change the circumstances that cause your stress, but you alone are responsible for how you allow it to affect you. Easier said than done, you may be thinking. So let’s take a look at a few ways to deal with stress – any type of stress – in a healthy and beneficial manner:
1. Discover A New Hobby
Regardless of whether or not you already have a hobby you enjoy, find a new one which will be specifically for indulging in when you feel stress taking hold. Drawing, knitting/crocheting, yoga, walking, anything that you can go off and do alone. The idea is to train your brain to recognize this specific activity as down-time to let the stress go and focus on something relaxing and refreshing just for you.
2. Give Yourself A Pep Talk
You know how you are the first person to call yourself stupid or grumble in your head when something goes wrong? Start doing the same thing every morning, as soon as you wake up, only tell yourself only positive things – what you are going to accomplish in the new day ahead, things you’ve already accomplished that make you feel good, what you have to look forward to, and how you are going to deal with any obstacles that may try to come your way. Having a game plan to derail any potential problems is THE best way to conquer stress before it happens!
3. Give Your Body An Edge
Giving your body an advantage over stress and it’s effects is one of the best ways to nip problems in the bud. Take some time to analyze your diet and make any necessary adjustments to get yourself healthy. Throw in a little bit of physical activity. If you’re constantly feeling run-down mentally AND physically, you’re not going to be able to kick the stuffing out of stress when it rears it’s ugly head. Get in shape and show it who’s boss.
4. Do Not Become A Stress Scapegoat!
It’s very easy to take on other peoples’ stress and problems without even realizing it. If everyone you know is always coming to you with their problems, before you know it you will start to feel as though they are YOUR problems. Our bodies read that as stress regardless of who it belongs to, so lend a sympathetic ear, but know when to set limits and empty the mental wastebasket of everyone else’s garbage on a regular basis.
5. Delegate Responsibilities Whenever And Wherever Possible
Do you come home from work and immediately start preparing dinner, doing all the “little” chores that never seem to get done otherwise like putting away the clean dishes, picking up this and that and putting it back where it belongs, feeding the pets? Stop that. If you live alone, let some of it wait. It will not kill you to take a few minutes to just breathe and relax. If you have a family or roommates, make sure everyone is helping out.
Remember, it’s up to you to CHOOSE to deal with stress in a positive manner and then follow through with it. No one will benefit from doing so more than you!