How to Reduce Stress

Stress is simply a part of our lives. Some may have chronic stress where it can really take a toll on their well-being, and others experience stress periodically. At the end of it all, we just have all been stressed in one way or another. Because of this we will dive into how to reduce stress for a happier, healthier life.

What is stress & how can we handle it?

As stress is our body’s reaction to challenges and demands, we must know and understand healthy ways to deal with them. As the famous saying goes, “we can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond to them”. 

Read below some of the best ways to manage and reduce stress from Cleveland Clinic:

  1. Eat and drink to optimize your health. Some people try to reduce stress by drinking alcohol or eating too much. These actions may seem to help in the moment, but actually may add to stress in the long run. Caffeine also can compound the effects of stress. Consuming a healthy, balanced diet can help to combat stress.
  2. Exercise regularly. In addition to having physical health benefits, exercise has been shown to be a powerful stress reliever. Consider non-competitive aerobic exercise, strengthening with weights, or movement activities like yoga or Tai Chi, and set reasonable goals for yourself. Aerobic exercise has been shown to release endorphins—natural substances that help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude.
  3. Stop using tobacco and nicotine products. People who use nicotine often refer to it as a stress reliever. However, nicotine actually places more stress on the body by increasing physical arousal and reducing blood flow and breathing.
  4. Study and practice relaxation techniques. Taking the time to relax every day helps to manage stress and to protect the body from the effects of stress. You can choose from a variety of techniques, such as deep breathing, imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation. There are many online and smart phone apps that provide guidance on these techniques; although some entail purchase costs, many are available free of charge.
  5. Reduce triggers of stress. If you are like most people, your life may be filled with too many demands and too little time. For the most part, these demands are ones we have chosen. You can free up time by practicing time-management skills like asking for help when it’s appropriate, setting priorities, pacing yourself, and reserving time to take care of yourself.
  6. Examine your values and live by them. The more your actions reflect your beliefs, the better you will feel, no matter how busy your life is. Use your values when choosing your activities.
  7. Assert yourself. It’s okay to say “No” to demands on your time and energy that will place too much stress on you. You don’t have always have to meet the expectations of others.
  8. Set realistic goals and expectations. It’s okay—and healthy—to realize you cannot be 100% successful at everything all at once. Be mindful of the things you can control and work on accepting the things that you can’t control.
  9. Sell yourself to yourself. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself of what you do well. Have a healthy sense of self-esteem.

It may be a trial and error,  and a lot of practice in the beginning when finding the best stress reducing and relief strategies. but it is important to  persevere and continuously look for tools and ways to help you get through difficult situations in a healthy manner.  

Resources: Cleveland Clinic “10 ways to ease stress”

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