Tips for Stress Relief
We all live with one level of stress or another. And, in fact, a certain amount of stress is actually beneficial. At its most elemental, stress is simply an energy burst that informs the body of the need to either tackle a problem, challenge or threat, or to flee from it. You’ve probably heard this referred to as the Flight or Fight Instinct. It’s one of the oldest instincts known to every animal. And humans are no exception. The problem is that Flight or Fight is an instinct, while knowing how to bring stress relief into our lives isn’t.
In small doses, stress is actually beneficial. It helps you deal with day-to-day challenges. It serves as a booster in reaching your objectives, whether in work or your personal life. It has the potential to aid you in accomplishing tasks with better efficiency. Stress at appropriate levels can even enhance memory. Research indicates that a suitable amount of stress even fortifies the immune system. Under the right circumstances, stress improves the function of heart, and can defend you from infections.
All too often, however, stress gets the better of us…literally. Unrelenting, chronic stress is known to lead to serious health problems. Insomnia, persistent headaches, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes are among the most common ailments that stress can create or worsen. Ninety percent of visits to the doctor are for stress-related health problems.
Chronic stress damages and kills the brain cells of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that’s associated with episodic memory. And, now, there’s strong evidence that chronic stress prematurely ages the brain.
The bottom line is that we all live with stress. But when stress gets out of control, that’s when the trouble begins. The good news is that there is a lot we can do to bring stress relief into our daily lives, bringing anxiety and stress under control. We can even get stress to work for us.
Here are a few easy ways to relieve stress and make it work for you instead of against you.
Stress Relief Tips That Work
Plan. At the beginning or the end of each day, organize tasks. Prioritize and set sensible day-to-day goals and deadlines. Think you don’t have time for that? It can take less than 15 minutes, help you complete projects and tasks more efficiently and “pay” for itself in returning time back to you that you thought you didn’t have. On top of that, having a plan for what is ahead of you is a sure fire way to relieve stress.
Think About It. The best minds in the world know how valuable it is to take just one or two minutes to think through an action before acting on it. Consider what you want the outcome to be, and what the best course of action is to achieve it. Just a minute or two of careful thought will significantly reduce start-overs or backtracking, once again paying off in “time returns.” More than that, it will also pay off with a positive work reputation that can garner benefits you may not have realized could be yours. Stress relief makes you more productive and an asset to your company.
Focus. There’s a saying in sports such as rock climbing that goes something like this: “three feet around you.” What that means is, concentrate only on what is within your power to control. Pay attention to what is at hand and focus on how to best tackle the task. Stressing about what you can’t control, whether it’s a car accident that’s backed up traffic or a supervisor or co-worker with their own agenda, becoming upset or anxious about things beyond your control does nothing whatsoever to resolve the problem. But what it can do is negatively impact your own tasks and health by limiting stress relief.
Respect Your Body. Oh, you’ve heard this before, no doubt. Exercise and eat healthy to relieve stress. But did you know that exercise doesn’t need to be aggressive or intense? Studies have long proven that moderate exercise goes a long way in stress relief and improving heart health. Likewise, eating healthy doesn’t require extremes or unrealistic goals. It doesn’t necessarily mean giving up all the foods you love. Eating healthy simply means making good choices and enjoying the not-so-healthy treats in moderation.
Trust A Professional. There will be times when, in spite of our best efforts, stress can become more than can be handled. There are professionals who specialize in time management skills and stress relief techniques that help you get back in control. Whether you find you need help in maintaining good stress management skills as you begin a shift in your new work or health habits, or you find you can use some advice later in tweaking your stress management down the road, a knowledgeable pro will have the tools you need to manage your time, your health and your stress.
Don’t Stress If You Fall Off The Stress Relief Wagon. There is always a learning curve when we develop new habits. If you forget to act on a new regimen or habit designed to relieve stress, there’s no need to be upset with yourself or give up. Forgive yourself and start again.