Showing posts with label stress awareness month. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stress awareness month. Show all posts

Monday, April 8, 2013

Seven Ways to Reduce Stress

My guess is that you are already well aware of many of the stresses in your life.  Then why do we need an official Stress Awareness Month?  Actually, there are good reasons: 
  • While situations that create stress may be unavoidable, stress levels can often be managed if you know how, and often only if you can quickly identify the stress, how it’s affecting you, and what to do about it.
  • Stress is a serious problem in the hectic life of the average American, hurting us emotionally and, as many studies show, also eroding our physical health. 
Stress Awareness Month is a national effort that seeks to help us reduce and manage stress by informing us of the dangers of stress, providing coping strategies, and correcting prevalent harmful misconceptions about stress. 

So, if you believe that knowledge is power, then read on, because the following information on stress management can help you improve your health and happiness far beyond the confines of Stress Awareness Month.

Stressed man


Seven Stress reduction tips for home and work


Is all stress bad?  No – stress in its most basic sense is a force working against another force.  Proper stressing of muscles strengthens muscles.  And even certain mental or social stresses can potentially improve our ability to handle stressful situations and to respond well to danger. 

But extreme or continual stress should be prevented, or at least managed, to avoid emotional harm or physical risks, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and obesity.  By following these seven stress reduction tips, you can improve the quality, and maybe even the length, of your life.


Stress Reduction Tip #1 – Know Thyself


The first step to proactively reducing or managing stress is identifying stress.  Even if you’re not feeling stressed at the moment, take time for introspection.  Identify any of the common emotional symptoms of stress, such as feeling worried, angry, irritable, depressed, or unable to focus.  Also look for physical symptoms of stress, such as headaches, back pain, problems sleeping, upset stomach, weight gain, weight loss, tense muscles, and frequent or serious colds. 


Stress Reduction Tip #2 –Plan Ahead


Stress often comes from anticipation of an approaching event that you fear.  Reduce stress by preparing ahead of time for impending stressful events, like a job interview, an annual review meeting, or a difficult conversation with a relative.  Try this:
  • Picture the event in your mind.
  • Stay positive.  Envision positive resolutions.
  • Imagine what the room will look like and what you will say.
  • Have a back-up plan.


Stress Reduction Tip #3 – Take a break


Sitting or standing for hours at work can stress your body and your spirit.  Taking a break to do something substantially different, even just a few minutes, can create a freshened state of mind and help you relax.  Take a short walk, sing a song, grab a power nap, read a chapter of a novel, or engage in a non-work-related conversation.  As the song goes, “The change is gonna do you good.”

Couple riding bikes


Stress Reduction Tip #4 – Get physical


Study after study shows that regular, sustained or vigorous exercise is one of the  best stress tonics.  Not only does the activity improve your overall physical health, but the endorphins released improve mood and reduce anxiety.


Stress Reduction Tip #5 – Help Others


Much of the stress we feel comes from wallowing – replaying the stressful thoughts over and over.  It’s hard to focus elsewhere without some kind of replacement activity.  The most effective alternative to inward focus is outward focus – make someone or something else the focus of your time.  Any helping-others activity can break you out of the spiral – volunteer at a soup kitchen, make a gift for a friend, visit a shut-in – you get the idea.


Stress Reduction Tip #6 – Sleep Enough


Sleeping less than six hours nightly will depress your immune system, reduce your daytime patience, increase fatigue, and decrease motivation or productivity – all factors that increase stress.  So, sleep it off instead. 

Woman sleeping


Stress Reduction Tip #7 – Bail!


Just about all stress is related to the “fight or flight” survival instinct.  A healthy “fight” response is to fix a bad situation.  But what if you can’t?  What if, for example, a bad situation with a co-worker or employer cannot be resolved? 
When you find yourself in a situation in which you have no control, and for which there appears to be no resolution, your stress can go through the roof, wreaking havoc in your life and potentially endangering your health.  In these situations, consider an exit strategy.  It may be the best solution for you and those around you.


Download FREE Stress Relief and Anger Relief E-Books


If you want to up your stress management game, then take advantage of these downloadable e-books while they are temporarily being offered for free:
More stress reduction and stress management resources:

Final thought: Self-help solutions are great but, for serious mental or physical stress issues, seek medical help.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer