With so many modern improvements to our lives today, it’s ironic that we still live under so much stress. Stress not only affects our quality of life, it impacts our self-esteem, mindset and our general health. Yet, there are ways to eliminate the stresses and strains of daily life in order to feel happier and healthier. The following tips can hopefully help you to manage your daily stress and achieve optimum mental health.
Get More Sleep
Sleep deprivation not only causes stress in your life, but it can also be the result of stress. This can become a vicious circle, as stress continuously interrupts your sleeping pattern. Rather than relying on over-the-counter medication to enjoy a good night’s rest, you should find time to relax your body naturally before going to sleep.
One way to relax naturally is to avoid caffeine or alcohol before bed, as it’s been known to interfere with sleep. If you are struggling to manage your stress without an alcoholic drink and believe you are dependent on alcohol, please consider alcohol recovery treatment. It’s also recommended to avoid computers, smart phones, and tablets an hour before bedtime so your brain can slow down. Other relaxation tips include taking a warm bath or reading a book, which can relax your body before sleep. In addition, aim to go to bed at the same time each night to develop a reliable sleeping pattern.
Talk to Someone
Talking can often be a helpful way to de-stress, as it allows you to release tension while putting your problems into perspective. Talk to a friend or family member for support, but it can also be a good idea to consider speaking with a licensed counselor or psychologist. These trained professionals can be incredibly helpful as an unbiased third party and can help you make sense of your problems, your stress, and how to manage daily life.
Take Control of the Problem
An effective problem-solving technique to handle stress would be to write down the problem or stressors you are currently facing. Brainstorm possible solutions and write them down. After, consider both the good and bad points of each possible solution. Once you have identified the pros and cons, you should be able to discover the best solution for your needs.
Basically, you need to write down:
- WHAT action you need to take
- HOW you will complete it
- WHEN you will complete it
- WHO you might need to help
- WHERE you will undertake the task
Meditation has become increasingly popular over the past decade because of its significant benefit in our busy lives. However, many people are resistant to try it or don’t understand how to meditate. Meditation is awareness training. You are simply learning how to observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them. Meditation trains you to become mindful in the present and engaged in the moments of everyday. Find information about meditation online, pick up a book, or use one of the many apps out there to help you meditate and alleviate your stress.
Managing Your Time
Eventually, each person needs to realize that he or she cannot possibly do everything all at once and all by themselves. Therefore, it’s a good idea to prioritize your tasks to eliminate stress from your life. Write a list of all the jobs you need to complete and number them from high-priority to low-priority. Find out what’s important enough to do today, what can wait until tomorrow, and what can wait until next week.
Also, consider if any tasks can be delegated to other people and identify the urgency level for each job. Don’t forget to leave a little buffer time in between each one for unexpected emergencies, which can reduce stress at home or in the workplace.
Write in a Stress Diary
A stress diary can be a handy stress management tool, as it allows you to write down your stress related events, release the built-up tension from your body, and also makes you more aware of the situations that are causing or leading to your stress.
Write down the location, date, and time of each stressful event, and note who you were with and what you were doing. Also, try to articulate how you felt both physically and emotionally during the stressful episode, and rate your stress levels from one to ten. By analyzing what you write in the stress journal, you can better identify what causes your stress, thereby avoiding any triggers, situations, or people who may be causing your life more harm than good.
Take Care of Yourself
Too often in our busy lives, it’s easy to overlook our own needs for physical and mental health. When we don’t have enough time, we skip exercising, opt for take-out instead of cooking, we don’t get enough sleep, and rarely find time for ourselves. During times of stress, it’s especially important that you take the time to focus on your own needs. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink enough water, stay away from alcohol, and get plenty of sleep.
With the help of the CDC, here are some resources that can help you or someone you know, who needs immediate help:
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-888-628-9454 for Spanish-speaking callers)
- Youth Mental Health Line: 1-888-568-1112
- Child-Help USA: 1-800-422-4453 (24 hour toll-free)
I hope the tips above can help you identify the small things you can do on a daily basis to reduce the burden of stress in your life. Life’s too short to spend most of it stressed!
sources: cdc.org, headspace.com
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