So many of us struggle to find more hours in the day to deal with our demanding career and family responsibilities, while finding nothing but more and more stress in this struggle. This heightened stress level makes us become irritated, anxious, frustrated, and annoyed much more easily. These stress-induced short fuses wreak havoc on our lives and cyclically contribute to more and more stress. Obviously, it’s important to start managing stress, and preventing stress before it takes hold, in order to give yourself the opportunity to enjoy your lifestyle. And this enjoyment has the power to reverse the cyclical stress suffering practically immediately. So get on it. Take a look at these life changing, healthy way to manage and prevent stress.
Identify the Sources of Stress
Stress management starts with identify those things that really stress you out. To get at the core issues, you’ll have to ask yourself some tough questions and actually reflect on three different levels: your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It might be your procrastination that causes the stress rather than your job’s deadlines, or vice versa. Try writing down regularly your stressors and your responses to them in a ‘stress journal.’ Once you have these patterns logged, you can move forward to improving the ways you cope with stress and identify areas of your life where you would greatly benefit from saying ‘no’ to energy sapping tasks.
Regardless of the specific content of your daily stressors, there are plenty of healthy lifestyle changes that you can make that will significantly improve both your physical and mental abilities to cope with and manage stress. Yoga gets you, by far, the most bang for your buck. In less than thirty minutes per day, practicing yoga poses and meditations, can work absolute wonders.
Practically as simple of a lifestyle change as yoga, deep breathing exercises have also been proven to be extremely effective in both ad hoc stress management and long-run stress prevention. Take at least five minutes out of your daily grind, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, or ‘as needed’, to close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. You won’t lose any more time out of your workday than the big shots of yore used to lose taking a smoke break, and you’ll actually be delivering more oxygen to your brain cells – all of your cells actually. This delivery better equips them to deal with stressors and keeps your body and mind simultaneously calm and sharp.
Regular Physical Exercise
Virtually any type of exercise can act as a stress reliever. And while the less athletic among us might find this strategy to be daunting, it is really possible to make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Regular physical exercise improves your mood on many fronts, from endorphins flooding your brain with good vibes to the self-confidence associated with feeling your body move, which will help you to better cope with stress. The meditation that it takes to focus on a singular task during the exercise can also help you to shed your daily tensions to find calmness and clarity. Try jogging, aerobics, or brisk walking for at least 20 minutes every morning and watch the stress-free days pile up.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation contributes significantly to pretty much all things that make stress entirely unbearable – inability to focus, poor mood, lack of physical coordination, crankiness. Basically, get more sleep and you’ll find stress is just not as stressful!
Poor diets are the precursors to many chronic diseases and to chronic stress as well. You need more antioxidants in your diet to allow your body and its stress hormones to react effectively to all kinds of stressors. This means, you need to eat fruits and vegetables of a wide variety of colors and go for whole grains and nuts and seeds. These antioxidant-rich foods are rarely found at fast food restaurants, so steer clear of them, no matter how much of a time crunch you are on.