As he pounded his fists on the desk, he shouted, “I haven’t got time to relieve stress!” Sound familiar? Stress results from our response to events, and it can wreck our health, careers, relationships, and lives.
Here are seven actions to help relieve stress and reduce anxiety. These actions are a minimal, yet excellent, investment of time.
1. Get Enough Sleep. Inadequate sleep affects one’s mood negatively and increases stress level. Adequate sleep helps people to be healthier, happier, more creative, more productive, less accident prone, and more effective in relationships.
2. Optimize Your Schedule. Look at your priorities and choose those activities that are essential for your purpose and objectives. If you find that you are over-scheduled, opt out of the nonessentials. Work with excellence on what is most important at the time.
3. Keep Expectations Realistic. Expecting others or ourselves to be perfect is certainly not realistic. However, expecting continuous improvement is realistic. Compliment others for a job well done. It is common to become stressed over something that cannot be done well without help. Ask for help when you need it.
4. Stay Physically Fit and Eat a Healthy Diet. Moderate exercise helps to reduce stress. A healthy diet with proper vitamins and minerals provides the fuel to help our bodies function optimally, especially under stressful conditions. Get regular checkups from your physician, and follow his or her recommendations to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
5. Relax Everyday. Each day, do at least one activity that you enjoy. This is like replenishing your emotional energy account. Meditate for mental and emotional health. We feel the best when our emotions are in a moderate stage of engagement. When emotions run too low or high, they also negatively affect our physical tension, posture, and feelings of well-being. Use simple breathing and relaxation exercises if you are in stressful situations. This will trigger a relaxation response, the body’s opposite to stress, producing a sense of well-being.
6. Change your Routine. For many people, monotony in a daily schedule can drive stress through the roof. Occasionally, take a different route to work. Begin reading about something you have always wanted to learn about. Change the design, lighting, or colors of your home or workspace. Introduce a new leisure activity to your family. Try that delicious-looking recipe you saw in a magazine. Do something just for you that you have always wanted to do – no more putting it off. Do one small thing that is completely new for you every week!
7. Solve Problems with Action. Much of the stress and anxiety we experience comes from dwelling on our problems and feeling a lack of control. This attitude only attracts more anxiety as we begin to worry about things that will never happen. Instead, put yourself in the driver’s seat. Look calmly at your problem and take stock of your options. Then, take one positive action toward a solution. Action leads to confidence, and it will help relieve stress and anxiety, giving you a greater feeling of control.
Begin to Relieve Stress and Anxiety Today
Which of the actions above could help you relieve stress or anxiety today? Begin now by choosing one of these actions. For example, ask yourself, “Where do I feel a lack of control in my career or personal life?” Then create a list of ten possible ways that could give you greater control over the situation. Choose one of these steps and implement it today. Continue this process for the thirty days, looking for barriers to your well-being, and implement one constructive solution at a time.
When you begin to choose positive reactions to stressful situations, you will remove many self-imposed limitations. You will relieve stress and anxiety, creating a greater sense of control and well-being.
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