How do you manage stress?
Stress comes in many forms. It can be triggered by good and happy things like a new job, getting married, the birth of a child, packing for vacation, or moving to a new home. And it can also be triggered by hardship and suffering like the death of a loved one, job loss, marital problems, illness, financial woes, unfulfilled dreams—the list goes on. There’s also the regular, everyday stresses that leave you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, scattered, and aggravated.
Taking things off your plate can be hard, but even if it’s just one thing your load will be lighter.
Stress is a pervasive problem, but it doesn’t have to run your life. Here are eight simple tips that really work when it comes to managing your stress, no matter how it comes:
1. Do less
Examine your life. Are you doing too much? Is there anything you can let go of — activities, commitments, plans, tasks? Taking things off your plate can be hard, but even if it’s just one thing your load will be lighter.
2. Prioritize your health
Food and exercise play a huge role in stress management. Remember to eat nutrient-dense foods, avoid refined sugars and processed food, cut down on caffeine, and drink plenty of good-quality water! Combine this with regular cardio exercise. Make a point to exercise at least 3–4 times per week and get your heart rate up for 20–30 minutes each time. Whatever you can do to get yourself moving will help you cope better with daily stress — a daily walk, for example, can work wonders.
3. Find a sacred space
Whether it’s a corner in your home, a nearby church, or even a chair on your back porch, find a quiet spot that calms you and puts you in God’s presence. Commit to spending at least 10 minutes a day in that spot. Take this time to pray, journal, and reflect.
When we experience stress, our breath becomes short, rapid and erratic. The next time you feel overwhelmed or anxious, stop and breathe deeply. Take deep breaths of air in through your nose and out through your mouth, taking the air all the way into your diaphragm (imagine it’s going down into the pit of your stomach). Your heart rate will slow down and you’ll feel better able to cope.
5. Pour some tea
If coffee is the great energizer, tea can be excellent for calming things down. Sipping a non-caffeinated herbal tea is a beneficial ritual before bedtime—or any time of the day when you need to de-stress. Chamomile tea is known for its relaxing properties and ginger tea quiets the stomach and reduces nausea. There are other soothing teas as well.
6. Reach out and touch someone
Research shows that human touch brings down our heart rate and blood pressure. You may already be an affectionate person, but if you’re not, try it! Hug your family and friends more often, hold your significant other’s hand, cuddle with your kids more.
7. Work with your hands
Using your hands in a creative and often repetitive task is highly therapeutic . . .
Using your hands in a creative and often repetitive task is highly therapeutic; it takes you away from daily cares and puts your mind in a restorative and relaxing state. Whether it’s painting, drawing, planting flowers, knitting, or stringing beads, you will feel calmer.
8. Play music
It’s long been established that music affects our mood and thoughts, so it’s an effective way to manage stress. Listening to music—especially slow, classical music—can relax your mind and body and lift your spirit. Consider making a playlist with calming music for the next time you need to de-stress.
So the next time you’re feel overwhelmed by something in your life, try some of these stress-busters. They will help you to better manage and cope the inevitable stress that come your way.
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