Healthy Ways To Manage Stress
Stress management can take several forms, and sometimes it can be unhealthy. Drinking excessive alcohol, bingeing on unhealthy foods, or smoking a lot of cigarettes are examples of unhealthy stress management.
To avoid destructive habits and also to obtain some stress relief, it’s a good idea to explore healthy ways to manage stress.
Here are suggestions to help keep those stress levels down:
1. Count Blessings – With a Twist
You’ve heard that counting your blessings can help you feel grateful; but studies have shown that a particular technique can be far more effective at relieving stress and the depression that often accompanies it. Here is how it works: each evening, write down 3 or 4 positive things that happened to you that day. They can be big or small. Just write down something that made you feel good or happy. It’s amazing how well this works!
2. Know Your Stress
To manage your stress, you need to know what triggers you. What stresses you out may not stress out someone else, and vice versa. Try to take some time to think about what causes you to feel anxious and tense, and “listen” to yourself in a non-judgmental way. This is not a time to try to talk yourself out of feeling stressed, or condemn yourself because you feel you “shouldn’t” be stressed by this or that. Identifying your triggers need not be public; it’s between you and your stress!
3. Meditate and/or Pray
Countless studies have shown how meditation and/or prayer can reduce stress. Maybe you could combine this with #1 above – after writing down the 3 positive things, take a few minutes to think about them and let them “sink in.” Or whatever meditation or prayer technique works for you – just make sure you do it each day, maybe even several times a day.
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4. Reach Out
Depending on how you’re “wired,” this may be the most difficult stress management technique. But it also has the potential to be the most effective one. Telling a trusted and supportive friend how you’re feeling can make a world of difference. You may also prefer to speak with a psychologist, counselor, or therapist.
5. Meeting Your Needs
One of the symptoms of too much stress is never having time to take care of yourself – and that doesn’t just mean doing something special for yourself. Overly-stressed people may have trouble meeting their basic needs for necessities like food and sleep. Try to find where you can cut back, whether it’s cancelling an activity or rescheduling something. When you’re stressed, you need to take care of your health so you don’t succumb to any of the many stress-related illnesses.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to find healthy ways to cope with your stress, and reduce some of the symptoms.
Here is a related resource about “Setting Personal Goals“.
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