Have you ever said, “I’m so stressed out!” and wished for help? Honestly, who hasn’t? Many of us are stressed! Yes, I said us…I’m not any different than you. However, I can share ways that have helped me deal with stress. Sure you can pick up a book and learn how to reduce your stress. You can even look online for ways to reduce stress. But, here’s the real issue. You can do all the research, but how often will you apply it to your life? Exactly! Below I’ll share some tips that have truly worked for me and many folks that I know. If you happen to choose just one or possibly two, you’ll see a change in your life.
Tip #1: Organize
No, I’m not going to tell you to move your furniture or clean out your closet. But chances are if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed you may have to declutter your life. If you find that you don’t have enough hours in a day to accomplish what’s on your list, then your list is simply too long! So where do you begin? You must have a plan and the plan starts with learning to cut down your list to the Top Five. When you create a list of the five most important tasks you need to complete for the day, chances are you will complete this list. The trick is to place the task that you want to do least on the top of the list in order to prevent procrastination. When you’re able to accomplish the most difficult task first, you’ll be in a positive groove and this motivation will carry you throughout the day. The list doesn’t have to stop at five tasks. Once you’ve mastered this list you can add more, but let’s not get back to where you began with too much to handle in one day.
Tip #2: Breathe
Breathing is essential and it has a dramatic impact on muscle relaxation, tension reduction, heart rate and your mental clarity. Breathing is the primary focus in meditation and yoga because it is connected to your inner core system. The goal is to breathe with your diaphragm instead of your lungs. It will take some practice but it will enable you to relax a lot quicker. Here’s how to master the technique of breathing with your diaphragm. Lie on your back with a small pillow under your knees. The pillow or support pillow will help to relax your lower back muscles. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Now slowly inhale through your nose, making sure that the only hand that moves is the one you placed on your abdomen. Try to keep the hand on your chest as still as possible. Exhale through your pursed lips and repeat. You may feel a bit lightheaded after the first few breathes, but rest assured that this is a normal response to the increase in oxygen uptake by the body. Practice this breathing technique and you’ll feel your stress melt away.
Tip #3: Water
It’s important to drink plenty of fluids, more importantly water. Dehydration stresses your body and your nervous system. Water is essential for cellular processes, tissue regeneration and detoxification. When you have not ingested adequate amounts of water you may notice fatigue, tiredness and a decrease in mental clarity, not to mention a decrease in the ability for your immune system to ward off illnesses. So how much water is an adequate amount? Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.5 and 0.7. This will generate a range in ounces of water you should drink each day. If you don’t want to calculate this number, simply be sure to increase your intake over a four week period. Never wait until you are thirsty, that is a sure sign of dehydration setting in. By the way, coffee or any caffeinated beverages are natural dehydrators, so for every cup of coffee you drink, be sure to replace it with two cups of water.
Tip #4: Focus on good news
Have you noticed that every time you turn on the television you’re bombarded with bad or depressing news? Honestly, who needs this constant reminder? It’s understandable that you should be informed of current events but a constant reminder isn’t necessary. Turn off the television, listen to music, or better yet go outside. Enjoy the fresh air and perhaps get some exercise while you’re outside. What you focus on becomes your reality. Stop focusing on the negative and focus on the positive instead.
Tip #5: Sleep
One of the biggest proponents of stress is lack of sleep. Sleep is necessary for the body to regenerate and heal. The mind needs to relax and it can only do that when you’re sleeping. Lack of sleep leads to stress on your immune system and will in turn make you more susceptible to illnesses. Less sleep will also increase your fatigue resulting in irritability. It’s important to listen to your body. If you wake up exhausted, then chances are you didn’t sleep enough. Your body needs at least eight hours of sleep per night for maximum benefit. Try taking a warm bath or shower to help relax your body in the evening and develop a routine that will help your body know that it’s time to rest.
These are some tips that will help reduce your stress. Implement some of them into your daily life and you’ll see your stress diminish.