It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. ~ Hans Selye
Stress is a part of daily life. This state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from the demands and pressures of life and work can result in headaches, fatigue, problems sleeping, difficulty making decisions and a host of other symptoms.
Below are 19 tips on how to manage and minimize stress.
- Choose a chocolate that is indulgent or that you’ve never eaten. Dark chocolate is especially ideal for this exercise.
- Open the packet. Inhale the aroma. Let it sweep over you.
- Break off a piece and look at it. Really let your eyes drink in what it looks like, examining every nook and cranny.
- Pop it in your mouth. See if it’s possible to hold it on your tongue and let it melt. Chocolate has over 300 different flavours. See if you can sense some of them.
- If you notice your mind wandering, simply notice where it went and gently escort it back to the present moment.
- After the chocolate has completely melted, swallow it very slowly and deliberately. Let it trickle down your throat.
- Repeat this with one other piece.
2. Write down worries in a journal
The physical act of writing things down helps minimize stress by moving them from inside ourselves to an outside space.
3. Peel an orange
Studies show the smell of citrus is a tension tamer.
4. Experience nature
Getting outside and enjoying nature is a great way to minimize stress. Focus on the sights, smells and sounds around you. Breathe deeply. Feel the movement of your body.
Queue up your favorite funny movie and watch the funniest parts. Read some jokes online. Laughter is indeed one of the best medicines for dealing with stress.
6. Hug someone
The connection we feel when we embrace calms and centers us, helping to alleviate tension. Studies show that hugging lowers blood pressure and boosts our feel-good levels of oxytocin.
7. Count your blessings
Take a moment to consider all of the things for which you are grateful. Recognizing the good in life allows us to better deal with the things that cause us worry and stress.
Research has proven that exercise is an ideal way for both the body and brain to handle stress.
9. Disconnect from technology
Put down your Smartphone. Turn off the television. Stop checking your email and social media. All of these things can amplify our stress level with their immediacy and invasiveness. Make it a point to disconnect daily, especially an hour or so before bed.
10. Say no
Many of us take on too much, overloading ourselves to the point where we create our own stress. When asked to do something, take a moment to really consider whether it is something you are able to or want to do. If it is something you have to do, find ways to set parameters and expectations.
11. Get enough sleep
Ample sleep allows our bodies and minds to recharge and enables us to better deal with the day ahead.
A messy office or home causes creates a cluttered mind. Whether we realize it or not, clutter intensifies our stress level. Take time to tidy up and notice the decline in anxiety.
13. Forego multitasking
Our stress increases when we attempt to do too many things at once. Instead, prioritize your tasks and tackle them one at a time.
14. Spend time with your favorite people
Get together with your best friend or spend time with your spouse or partner doing something enjoyable. Balancing work with play gives us something to look forward to, deepens our relationships and helps diminish tension.
15. Pay it forward
Doing something nice for someone else has a two-fold benefit, boosting the happiness of the giver and receiver.
16. Count to 10
When stress overwhelms you, take a deep breathe and count to ten slowly. Then, reverse it and count backward to zero.
17. Soak up some sun
Take a few minutes to step outside and sit in the sunshine. Close your eyes and focus on the warmth of the sun on your skin.
18. Listen to music
Listening to calming music helps the body and mind relax. Take ten minutes, pop in those earbuds and let the music sooth you.
19. Meditate mindfully
This video will guide you through a ten minute meditation, helping you achieve a place of calmness.
The next time the demands of life cause you stress, try one or more of these helpful practices to help manage your tension.
May your day be filled with gratitude and good things.