Life can be hectic, complex, and often overwhelming at times when least expected.
Each day we add more tasks to our to-do list, yet feel anxious and frustration set in when we can’t complete each task in a timely manner. And, if we are unable to check-off every task by the end of the day, then we have probably let someone down or feel like we have failed ourselves.
You’re not alone in this battle.
In fact, 75% of adults say they are stressed daily, especially around the holiday season. And, stress is the number one cause of illness leading to bigger health issues over the years to come.
So, how do you destress this time of year and set yourself free from worry?
Here Are 9 Effective Ways To Minimize Stress In Your Lifestyle:
If your plate is fuller then you can manage right now, then you may be a people pleaser. Adding more tasks or events to an already existing full plate can lead to additional stress. Sometimes the best way to destress is to simplify your lifestyle and say “NO” to what isn’t fulfilling or supporting your goals.
Before saying “YES” to every work project, family gathering, friendship dinner, ask yourself “Do I have the time?” If you don’t, then simply say “Thank you for the invite. I’d love to make it, however, I’m swamped right now. Definitely keep me in mind for the next one.” This validates you value the relationship with them, but you need some time to yourself and want to catch up at a later date.
By selectively choosing what you can and cannot fit into your schedule, allows you to have more clarity and certainty. And when you have more clarity, your mood shifts for the better lifting your spirits. Having personal boundaries for yourself is vital to your mental and physical health, as well as living a meaningful lifestyle full of positive intentions.
Physical activity is one of the healthiest ways to reduce mental stress. Not only does it relieve your body from heightened stress hormones, like cortisol, but it also releases mood boosters like endorphins. An overall win-win for a steady flow.
And, if you’re not one for going to the gym, then find an activity that suits your personality. The simplest movement can have the biggest impact on de-stressing. You can try rock climbing, skiing, tennis, yoga, dancing, walking, swimming, or hiking. And if you need an accountability partner to keep you motivated, join a fitness/activity group to help support your goals. Only you can decide what type of exercise you will enjoy and reap the benefits.
3.Create To-Do Lists
Sometimes stress levels increase due to the act of overthinking. Your thoughts consume your mind which leads you to ruminate over and over about everything you need to do. When you get stuck in this auto-pilot pattern of thinking, it creates additional stress.
As simple as it sounds, writing it out on paper will give you peace of mind and release the stressful tension from are experiencing from your thoughts. This allows you to prioritize goals and conquer them one by one. It can also be beneficial to space out your tasks throughout the week versus trying to cram them all in one day. This keeps you from creating too many tasks in one day which defeats the purpose of what you want.
4.Laugh Your Heart Out
Stress isn’t always related to everyday life but from an illness or an event like a break-up. And, when your stress is related to a condition that is out of your control there is not much you can do but focus on your mindset. One way to ease the stress from your worries is to laugh your heart out.
Whether it’s hanging with friends, heading to a comedy show, or pulling an all-nighter on comedy central, laughing is sure to lift your spirits. It has been proven to help lighten the burden of pain and suffering, knowing better days are ahead.
5.Spend Time With Positive Influences
Relationships are the core fundamental to bringing meaning and purpose to your life. Spending time with family and friends who are positive influences can help you reduce stress and put your mind at ease.
When you engage with those who have a positive impact on your life, studies show it releases oxytocin, which is known as the “connector.” This hormone helps give you the feeling of belonging which is shown to help reduce stress and feel like the weight of the world is no longer on your shoulders – you have a support system.
When you’re feeling stressed, the easiest way to avoid it is to run from it like the plague. While at the moment it may relieve you from the stress you, in the long run, it will only exacerbate the stressor. Not only does the stressor not disappear, but it has also only become more challenging to face due to the multi-facet layers that get added onto it.
It’s best to face your stressors head-on to actually alleviate the stress. The more you prioritize resolving the stressor, the more you will feel at ease with one thing less on your plate.
7.Listen To Music
Personally, music has always been a go-to for us. Music is a fantastic way to help relieve the body of stress by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
With so many options for streaming music these days, finding which genre best soothes your soul when feeling overwhelmed is key. You can create a playlist that lightens your mood, or tune in to a specific station that helps bring you back to your emotional baseline of feeling balanced. Just make sure you choose a genre that brings you happy vibes and good memories.
8.Practice Deep Breathing
Mental stress activates your nervous system signaling it to go into flight or fight mode. When it does this the body will usually react physically through an elevated heart rate and shortened breathes. To calm the body, deep breathing exercises can be implemented slowing the body back down.
To practice deep breathing, you will want to take deep breaths through your nose and fill your belly with air until it’s completely full while you are doing this simultaneously count to about four or five. Next, you’ll want to hold you breathe for roughly seven seconds. Lastly, slowly release all the air from your stomach while counting to eight or so. You’ll want to repeat this exercise three to seven times until you feel calm.
When you experience the sensation that nothing is going right in your life and you just want to hide under the covers, its time to find gratitude. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to create a gratitude list to help recenter and align yourself.
Being grateful for everything you have in your life helps provide a perspective that you probably have more than you need to survive. And, most importantly to be happy. It also allows you to see that life isn’t as bad as it may seem at this very moment. When you take your focus off of the stressor and see your life from a bigger picture, the very thing you are stressing about may not even be important in two weeks from now or even it two years from now.
Creating a gratitude list of three things you are grateful for each day for thirty days can really help minimize stress and allow you to focus on what truly fills your heart.
Life will always be full of ups and downs and no one will ever be free from stress. But, how you handle stressors can make all the difference in living a stress-free lifestyle.