It’s a sobering truth but stress is a fact of life. Of course, there are people that regularly share that they “never feel stressed” and aside from you thinking that perhaps his or her life is completely perfect, there may be other options to consider, such as:
They’re not telling the truth
They have figured out how to successfully control and manage their stress
The other sobering truth is that stress can be highly detrimental to your health exacerbating serious ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer’s. Equally as harmful, stress can also undermine your immune system.
With this being said, it makes perfect sense to incorporate stress management activities into your life, including:
While the last thing you might want to do when you are feeling stressed is to get up and get moving, exercise is known to be an excellent stress reducer.
Exercise helps release endorphins which can help to improve your mood. Additionally, exercise can also help to lower your stress hormones, and why you often find that after a good workout, you simply feel better.
And while rigorous exercise can be just the thing, don’t discount the benefits of less strenuous activities such as a brisk walk, gardening, taking a bike ride, or dancing to music. They are great too!
Set aside a specific amount of time each day and make exercise a habit. It’s beneficial for your body and your mind.
2. Start a Gratitude Practice
Take time each day to reflect on the positive aspects of your life. I suggest keeping a journal, writing your daily “gratitudes” and turning to your words when you find yourself getting stressed.
Your “gratitudes” are personal and can be big or small. Often, people forget that the simplest of things can help to ease their stress. A scented candle, a flowering plant, access to clean running water, and the positive things that comprise our daily life can serve to make you feel a greater sense of calm if you get in the habit of acknowledging them.
You can do your gratitude practice on your own or join or form a group where you share your gratitudes with the members and always with the philosophy that gratitude can be contagious.
3. Spend time with loved ones
Spending time alone when you are anxious often serves to magnify the situation, where you may find yourself dwelling on the negatives for hours at a time.
An in-person visit or phone conversation with a friend or family member can help deflect your focus and may also help you to see the stressful situation from a different perspective. The old cliché “you can’t see the picture if you are in the frame” is especially true when the circumstances are causing stress and pain.
It may take nothing more than someone helping you to reframe the situation to find your way out of the negativity.
4. Reduce your caffeine
Many people feel more anxious and jittery after drinking caffeinated beverages and if you are one of these people, you should limit your intake of caffeine. Substitute non-caffeinated beverages and course, it’s important to drink water. Staying hydrated can help to improve stamina and energy; dehydration can lead to an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol, and this increase can make it more difficult for you to handle anxiety and difficult situations.
5. Practice yoga
A regular yoga practice can help bring you a greater sense of peace and wellbeing.
There are many different types of yoga (i.e., Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, among others), and you should explore your options as you might find that one particular type of practice works better for you than another.
Most health clubs and yoga studios run a variety of yoga classes at different levels. You can also explore the thousands of yoga classes offered on to get a better idea as to what type of practice makes you feel better.
Yoga can help to lower cortisol levels as well as your heart rate and blood pressure and combined with mindful breathing can serve to have a positive impact on your stress level.
Life can be stressful but that doesn’t mean that it has to undermine your health and lead to mental and physical pain. By engaging in simple stress management activities, you will find that you can better control your anxiety and feel better regardless of the circumstances.