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Let’s face it, we all live fast-paced lives. There is a motto – started during the Industrial Revolution – that humans should work for 8 hours, have recreation for 8 hours, and rest just as much.
In most cases, we don’t practice living by these guidelines. We over-work ourselves, and rarely stop to enjoy and appreciate all that life has to offer. The Ecellulitis team knows how hard it can be to practice stress management, which is why we have provided you with this stress relief manual.
So let’s talk about stress.
Why is it so Important to Relieve Stress?
When stress is present, it is hard to go away, but be aware that stressful situations are completely acceptable and manageable.
The most significant part of stress relief is learning to control your thoughts and emotions and taking charge of your life.
Why should you take charge of your life? Because in addition to creating an emotional rollercoaster, stress also affects your physical health.
How Does Stress Affect Your Physical Health?
There are several ways stress can affect your physical health. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the human body recognizes stress the same way it does fear: sweaty palms, rising blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and there is a big change in your energy level. That being said, multiple studies have shown that sudden stressful reactions can cause heart attacks and sudden death.
Also, stress makes existing problems worse. A study, Stress, Age and Immune Function: Toward A Lifespan Approach, by J. Kiecolt-Glaser and R. Glaser, found that stress in early development has an impact on the nervous and immune system.
Stress may not be a disease, but it has many effects on your body and spreads like a virus.
Now that you are confident you should make a change to improve your lifestyle, let’s now look at some tips on how to relieve stress. But first, we will identify the sources of stress and then provide useful tips that can help you manage stressful situations.
Also, be sure to stay with us until the end of this article, because we have a surprise for you 🙂
Be aware that not all of these tips are going to work for you – it all depends on your personality, stress level, and many other factors beyond the scope of this article.
Identify the sources of stress
Step 1: Identify Stress – Is it Temporary or Chronic?
According to helpguide.org, the first step of stress relief is to identify the source(s) of stress.
Try to identify the longevity of your stress. Are you feeling stressed right now, while you are reading this text, and is it ongoing? Or is it always a particular situation that triggers negative emotions?
Temporary stress can be caused by intense work situations (when you have a million things to do) or when your partner/kids are “causing trouble.” Those situations come and go and we are all familiar with them. However, if you believe you are experiencing chronic stress, then there are more serious steps to take, which we will explain later.
Step 2: Identify Stress – Where Does it Come From?
There are two main sources of stress: Situations in your personal life (family, friends) or business-related ones.
So, ask yourself: Is the source of my stress coming from personal or business-related situations?
Step 3: Identifying Stress – Who is to be Blamed?
Blaming stress on others is like complaining to your mother that your cousin has hit you. Remember, there are two sides to each story.
If you are connecting stressful situations with a person or an event, you have to be able to see your part in a stressful situation. It is not easy, but over time, and with our stress relief manual, you will be able to achieve just that.
Useful Tips on How to Manage Stressful Situations
Tip 1: Analyze a Stressful Situation
Once you have identified sources of your stress, you can focus on analyzing your emotions. Ask yourself these 4 questions:
- What is the cause of stress?
- How did it make me feel?
- How did I act?
- What did I do to lose control of my emotions?
These may seem like the easiest questions in the world, but they’re not. Try to be descriptive while answering them.
This process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes each day.
Tip 2: Approach People Who are the Source of the Stress Differently
According to an article in Psychology Today, there is one thing that you could do if you can’t end toxic relationships or avoid them completely. You should change how you approach them if you want to experience relief from stress.
Every human interaction is based on action and reaction, just like in physics. So, when a person (the source of the stress) acts one way, try to respond differently than you would normally do. As Beverly D. Flaxington, the author of the article would say – change the game! By doing this, you can observe changes in the person’s actions.
Tip 3: Look at the Bigger Picture
According to Ali Luke, in a post for pickthebrain.com, humans’ attention in day-to-day activities focuses on the details – small things we do to “survive” the day. This is why it is so easy to miss the big picture.
Stepping back for a moment to analyze your actions, can help you to prioritize your day better and focus your energy on what’s important. This is not an easy tip to implement. Still, if you take some time for yourself and learn how to relax (while reflecting on the past or thinking about the future), you will be able to distinguish between what’s important and what’s not in terms of people/situations in your life.
Tip 4: Learn the Power of No
This is one of the most important tips from our stress relief manual that you absolutely must use.
Dr. Judith Sills, in a post for Psychology Today thoroughly explained the difference between saying Yes and No. By saying Yes, we perceive ourselves as the courageous ones, the ones who are willing to take risks and be open-minded to almost anything. On the other hand, by saying No, we are closing some doors behind us, and this brings on a feeling of guilt.
Sills further points out that by saying No we accept our boundaries and become aware of our strength. Therefore, saying No means taking charge of your life and focusing on your goals.
On the other hand, saying Yes to everything and anything are something that teenagers do, to find themselves, and discover what works best for them. As a mature adult, you should be aware of your objectives and the right to say No.
Tip 5: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
Yes – the perfect stress relief song, just like Eric Idle once sang. However, this is usually easier said than done.
The first step towards accepting yourself and your surroundings is knowing there are some situations that you cannot control. Accept that you cannot change the unchangeable, no matter how hard you try.
For example, do you normally lose your temper while waiting in traffic? Not anymore! This is a situation that you cannot change. Maybe you could have taken a different route. But you didn’t. So try to make the best of it. Turn on the radio and enjoy those 15 extra minutes in the car.
Tip 6: Change Habits That Can Trigger Stress
This is why we mentioned earlier the importance of identifying stress sources. There are some activities you are in the habit of doing daily that can cause nervousness and trigger stress.
For example, if you turn on the television to watch the news right after entering the house. After a 10-hour workday, it is probably not the smartest thing to do. Who wants to hear more bad news? This would be a stressful habit that you need to break.
As you can see, the path to stress relief consists of trying to find habits that do not only cause stress but can have an impact on your mental health.
Tip 7: Make a To-Do List
Making a To-Do list can help you organize better, which can lower your stress levels. Mind Tools has provided some great steps on how to prepare a To-Do list:
- Write down all the tasks. If there are larger tasks, break them into smaller actions.
- Go through all the tasks and prioritize them. “A” should stand for the most important tasks, while the ones that are not important should be labeled as “F.”
- First, do the most important tasks – go from “A” to “F.”
- Once you have completed each task, strike it off.
By doing these steps, you will be able to relax, knowing that all the important tasks are done.
Tip 8: Show Emotions
According to Dr. Barton Goldsmith in a post for Psychology Today, showing your emotions leads to being a better partner and parent. How come?
Because showing emotions help you solve issues leading to stress relief. Plus, showing true feelings is another way of communicating with others.
Goldsmith emphasizes the need to express our pain and sadness. He states that some people are afraid to do so because they believe once they start, they won’t be able to stop. Just the opposite – “Expressing your pain is a good way to make it stop,” he says.
Daily, learn how to communicate your feelings properly. You don’t have to be rude to get someone’s attention. Just be clear about what is bothering you, but do it politely.
Tip 9: Learn To Compromise
When you hear the word compromise, you usually relate it to compromising in a relationship. Don’t you? Next to commitment and trust, there is always the need to compromise. But, try to look outside of the box and recognize situations that do require you to compromise.
The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you are losing your personality or attitude if you compromise. Just the opposite – you are maturely finding common ground with the person of interest.
That’s it! Can you believe these tips are just a “few” that can lead you to a stress-free life? There are dozens of tips for stress management, but we have provided you the ones we found most useful.
If for whatever reason, you are not willing to invest some time in your journey to stress relief, and you need helpful tips that work instantly to help you feel more relaxed; don’t worry, we got you covered. Just apply these 3 steps:
Useful Tips That Work Instantly
Step 1: Light a Candle
According to a post on frontgate.com, the reason candles are used in many spiritual and religious rituals is due to the flame’s illumination touching the soul. “The calming effect of candlelight can be a simple yet sacred tool to help reduce stress and increase self-awareness.”
So, why don’t you give it a try? Light a candle or two, dim the lights, and let the stress-free magic happen.
Step 2: Drink Peppermint Tea
In December 2017, Huffington Post published an article, 6 Natural Tea Remedies for Stress and Anxiety, in which one of the remedies listed was peppermint tea. But why is peppermint tea good for stress?
According to the writer, Toby Nwazor, peppermint contains menthol, which causes muscle relaxation.
If you would like to learn more about the health benefits of drinking tea, hop on to one of our previous posts.
Step 3: Exercise
According to Mayo Clinic, exercising is not only good for the body but for the mind as well.
When we exercise, our brain produces more endorphins, receptors that reduce how our body perceives pain. The more you exercise, the happier you will be.
We Said We Had a Surprise…
We hope that you found all these stress relief tips helpful and that you are going to try at least one of them.
However, there is one more thing we would like to share with you and that is a story about the King and the ring.
The story goes something like this.
King Solomon had a Chief of Army, called Benaiah, son of Jehoiada. One night, the King held a meal with his ministers and he spoke to Benaiah, saying that he knows that somewhere there is a ring that can change a person’s mood – a happy person becomes sad and vice versa. He then asked Benaiah to find this ring and bring it to him within six months.
Benaiah looked all over the streets of Jerusalem and couldn’t find it anywhere. At last, he turned to an old silversmith. The silversmith made a laugh, pulled out an old silver ring and engraved something on it. When Benaiah read the words, he knew that was the ring. At last.
Benaiah brought the ring to the King and told him that the ring had Hebrew letters engraved on it: Gimel, Zayin, Yod. When the King looked at it for the first time, he felt sad and started to cry. But when he looked at it again, he started smiling. The three letters represented three words – Gam Zeh Ya’avor, which means, “This too shall pass.”
Love, laugh and enjoy every second of life!
Image credits: DepositPhotos.com
Last article update: 11/26/2019