15 Stress Busting Tips
It is now estimated that over 90% of all illnesses are stress related and at it's most severe it can shorten your life span and destroy your body from the inside life, long term prolonged stress can eventually manifest itself into depression, general anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
A little bit of stress can help to motivate and drive you on in some situations, but prolonged term chronic stress can seriously damage your health, it will block out your creative abilities, play havoc with your mental faculties, make you moody and bad company as well as making your life a living hell.
Everybody has a different stress threshold and people respond differently to different challenges and situations. Every individual can handle and respond to the same type of situation differently depending on the emotional and physical state their currently in.
If you're feeling calm than you would probably handle and react differently to the the same situation as apposed to if you were feeling stressed and tensed.
There are no stressful situations only stressful responses. You cannot always control your outside events and circumstances, but what you can control is how you wish to respond and perceive those situations.
So therefore are no stressful situation only stressful responses. Although everybody has there own individual trigger points and worries, there are generally several categories that are responsible for most people's stress, these are,
- Worrying and negative thinking
- Reacting badly to outside circumstances
- Rushing, inpatients and trying to meet deadlines
- Bad time planning and time management
- Wanting things to badly and to quickly
15 Tips To Relieve And Cut Out Your Stress
A little bit of stress wont cause you too much trouble and in small doses it can help to motivate you in certain situation, however most people suffer with prolonged long term chronic stress which if left untreated can have a negative and damaging effect and impact on your health, your life and your emotional well-being.
Stress is forever on the increase and long periods of stress can lead to depression, anger, general anxiety and even panic attacks. Most people do not know how to deal with it, yet with a conscious effort and by making some healthy life style changes you can learn to manage and eliminate that long term damaging stress which will not only make you feel better, you will also cope, perform and function better.
1) Pinpoint the root cause of your stress
Behind every bodies stress lies an underlying root source of it, so this means your first step to reducing your stress has to be to try and pinpoint and identify whats actually causing it.
There could be one or many different sources of your stress which you will have to tackle, but you cannot eliminate your stress until you know it's triggers.
There could be many different triggers and each individual is different and their own circumstances which will vary but there is only one way to treat your stress which is to tackle the root source of it.
There are techniques that will help you treat the symptoms of your stress but unless you deal with it at it's very chore then it will just keep on coming back.
So what causes stress ?
The answer to that is, just about anything. You may need to deal with your worries or problems, this means analyzing what's behind your worries and either accepting the worst case scenario then dealing with it or search and research for a solution then applying that information to your life.
You don't overcome a problem by focusing on the problem, you overcome a problem by focusing on the cause of the problem and attacking it at every angle, then you make any mental corrections and physical corrections and adjustments that are required, then you proceed to focus on positive or general things.
It could be that you may need to slow down and cut back on your work load or your other commitments, you may need to incorporate some healthy lifestyle changes and allocate some free time to yourself or stop allowing other people and events to control your emotions.
2) Accept what is and then let it go
We begin to feel stressed when we step out of the tranquility and peacefulness of the present moment or we allow what is and our current results to dictate our emotional and physical state and they allow there results to control them.
It is the three what scenarios that are responsible for so much of our stress and frustration,
- What has happened
- What is currently happening or not happening in our lives
- What could or might happen
Fear is closely related to stress and many of our fears are a result of bad or traumatic experiences that has previously happened to us, the past can cause you to worry and plan negatively for the future.
If you have a problem, forget about the problem and search and focus only on a solution. If a problem arises, take some slow deep breaths and relax your body, then when you are feeling calm think about how you can resolve your problem.
Think about ways you can solve your problem, if you find you cannot come up with an immediate solution then ask your mind to come up with an answer then hand the problem over to your mind whilst you let it go.
Learn to deal with or accept and give in to what is, forget about the past and stop trying to predict the future, it's OK to create a positive and optimistic future but turn into a glass half full type of person.
3) Fearful thoughts and negative thinking
Stress becomes harmful when we cannot control our thoughts and how we respond to challenging situations and events. Most long term and chronic stress is due to fearful thoughts, worry and negative thinking.
But once you deploy a bit of emotional intelligence and mindfulness you can quickly start to recognize those negative thoughts that trigger the emotional arousal and you can quickly step in a stop the momentum.
When learn how to manage your thoughts and emotions then you will have gone a long way to reducing your stress.
The secret to preventing all that prolonged worry and stress is to learn how to monitor your thoughts and feelings so you can prevent the negative emotions and physical responses from escalating into prolong periods of worry and more stress.
Learn to become the observer of your thoughts, let your mind think them but don't judge, suppress or accept them. Just learn to observe your stressful and worry thoughts whilst you remain calm and detached around so you can put a gap in between the negative thoughts and the stressful response.
You will always struggle with your stress and worry if you don't learn how to manage your negative and unwanted thoughts as about 90% of people's stress is due to their thoughts and perceptions.
The first thing to do is to recognize the onset of when your beginning to feel stressed, so you need to be mindful to the symptoms of stress so if anytime you feel your stress levels rising you can intervene and nip it in the bud before you get overwhelmed by your situation and your symptoms of stress.
Nearly all things in life are potentially stressful to someone. You cannot always control your outside circumstances or the world around you, but you do have total control of how you choose to respond, one way to reduce your stress is to accept and even want to be in the situations that usually cause you to get worked up.
This means if your stuck in a traffic jam or a queue you cannot do a thing about it so accept the situation and even want to be there, if your late for work accept your going to be late. Again it is important to stop the stressful responses before they have a chance to overwhelm you.
If your stuck in a traffic jam or your running late for work or something then getting worked up is not going to change anything so you might as well accept your situation and stay calm and patient instead of ending up stressed, frustrated and angry because what ever response you choose your still be stuck or late.
Next time a stressful situation occurs, don't react stressfully or negatively, pause for a second and allow yourself a buffer period to break the old responses by putting a gap between the trigger situation and the stressful response.
Because you need to change the way you respond, so take some slow deep breaths and don't react, don't make any rash decisions and don't judge the situation.
When you take control of your breathing you will start to stop the rest of physical and chemical reactions that are associated with the stress response. Just slowly breathe in for the count of 7 and hold for 3 then out for the count of 11 and repeat until you begin to feel more relaxed.
Going virtual is your bodies natural inbuilt way to calm your down and change the way you respond, so as soon as you notice the onset of any stress, just imagine yourself in a relaxing and beautiful location and engage all of your senses. Always adopt the attitude that everything will work out fine.
5) Relaxation is the anti-dote to stress
Relaxation is the anti-dote to stress and there is no other way around this so you have to learn how to relax deeply and you need to do it on a regular basis, if you have been feeling stressed for a long time now then it might take you a while to learn how to relax deeply but the more you do it the easier and more natural it will become for you.
People often say they have not got the time to relax, but in reality you cannot afford not to as stress can knock years off your life span. When your already tense and stressed it will only take the slightest thing to send you over the edge, so if you spend time relaxing you won't get so overwhelmed and you will find it easier to cope.
Taking a nice walk and observing nature is a good way to unwind, but two of the best ways to relax are by regular meditating or by using hypnosis cds or mp3 recordings.
These two age old traditions are still some of the best ways to deeply relax, meditating and hypnosis will help you too calm your mind and your body and it is essential your give your body some much needed rest bite from all that stress.
The great advantage about regularly relaxing is not only will it ease your mind and calm your body, but once your body is relaxed then you will have less trouble with anxiety and worry. Learning to relax your body is the quickest way to end worry and stress.
Some of the best tools for relaxation are
Although it is important to relax and listen to relaxation tapes and audio sessions, to successfully eliminate the damaging affects of stress you also need to try and pinpoint what's causing it as well as finding a successful strategy to eliminate it the root cause of it. One way to do this is to accept what is and then deal with it.
When you calm your body your mind will soon follow suit, anytime you start to respond stress-fully, tell yourself stop! Then let yourself know that you do have a different choice and more relaxing option to how you want to respond. Spending time with your family and friends can help you to reduce your stress.
Although things like redundancy death of a loved one, relationship and financial problems are big contributors of stress, we can also become stressed in seemingly positive situations like a forthcoming party or social event, a holiday, weddings, starting a new job or going on a date.
One way to combat this is to look forward to any forthcoming events and seeing them as fun, instead of focus on how anxious or nervous your feeling use words like enjoy and excited.
6) Avoid rushing And trying to meet deadlines
One sure way of getting your stress levels up is setting unrealistic deadlines and thinking you have to rush to get something done. Stress is designed to push us to take action, the moment you set yourself a deadline you will put unnecessary pressure on yourself, you can only do you best and no more.
Learn how to slow yourself down a bit and avoid rushing about or thinking everything has to be done instantly and quickly. Regardless to what you might think, rushing about does not guarantee you will get it done quicker in fact it will make you perform worse and you will be less efficient and less productive.
Everything has not got to be done in one day, try and learn to enjoy what your doing and by learning how to slow down and relax yourself you will discover that you work smarter, you will get more done and you will do a far better job.
When we rush we become stressed, when were stressed we cannot think clearly or operate and function at our most efficient best. Yet when your feeling relaxed and in the zone everything becomes so much easier, more effortless and more natural to do. Our optimum peak performances levels are when we are in a that flow like state of relaxed but alert.
7) Planning and time management
Good time management and good planning will help you to reduce your stress, avoid trying to cram too much into your daily routines and try not to juggle to many balls in one go. Live for each day and try not to plan to far ahead as this can cause emotional overwhelm, take each day as it comes and let the future take care of itself.
Not allowing enough time to prepare yourself for work or when you are going out can result in you starting off your day stressed and full of tension. Always allow adequate time in the morning or if you're off out during the day or at night to get ready, because all that last minute rushing will pump your body up full of adrenalin and those stress hormones.
The same applies with your other commitments, tasks and goals and by making clear plans that allow you adequate and realistic times to achieve what you want to get done and don't involve trying to get everything done in a hurry can reduce your stress and improve your performance levels.
If you have a big task to fulfill or a goal you want to achieve, break it down into small easy manageable steps, because if you try to think about the bigger picture it can leave you feeling daunting and emotional overwhelmed.
8) Start the week of in a positive frame of mind
So many people come Sunday night or as they wake up Monday morning start the day or week off by dreading going back to work or dreading the week ahead.
This will immediately puts you in a negative state of mind and body which is not an ideal way to set yourself up for the coming week. Before you know it you will feel stressed and downbeat with what lies before you because your actually planning to have a bad feeling day and even lousy week.
This starts off as early as our school days and it becomes a well practiced habit that gets en-grained into our mindset and over the years as we train ourselves to feel stressed and low all day Monday. This attitude will immediately put you into the wrong frame of mind which will make your day and week seem like along hard laborious slog.
If you want to avoid those negative emotions you need to do the opposite to what you have been doing and tell yourself your going to have a great week and nothing is going to upset you.
Yes there might be some challenges to face and overcome but no matter what you have to decide your still going to have a good week including Monday.
It can also pay to prepare yourself on Sunday night for the week ahead, do some form of exercise or spend twenty minutes before you drop off to sleep deeply relaxing.
Make sure you have got everything prepared and you allow yourself enough time to get ready in the morning. After each day at work when you get home make sure you switch off from your work commitments or projects.
9) Diet and nutrition
Some experts believe that the foods you eat can have an effect on how your body responds to stress. One of the worst offenders are believed to be too much sugar, the trouble is at times when were feeling stressed we tend to crave for more sugar which can make your stress symptoms even worse, it maybe also wise to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake.
Also, during periods of high levels of stress it can deplete the body of vital minerals and vitamins that the body needs and requires to function at it's most effecient best. Other foods that maybe responsible for raising your stress levels are processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta and white rice.
To help give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs follow a good healthy varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, combined with whole grains and whole meal breads, pasta, brown rice, fiber, beans, lentils, lean proteins and good fats with omega 3 which can help to stabilize your blood sugars and reduce your stress and anxiety.
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10) Keep your muscles relaxed and your body balanced
Our emotional and physical state can affect our patterns of thinking, when your experiencing negative emotions and symptoms of stress and tension you will find you will have more matching negative and stressful thoughts which will leave you feeling even more irritable and moody.
Although something will initially trigger your stressful response, if you don't deal or let go of what caused you to react negatively or if you do not burn off all that extra fuel and adrenaline it can leave you stuck in the stressful state, then something else worries or upsets you and the negative momentum begins to escalate.
Prolonged periods of stress and tension will cause a steady continuous release of adrenalin and the stress hormone cortisol into your blood stream which will activate the physical changes in the body and until you deal with your stress this pattern of negative thoughts and stressful responses will form an ongoing vicious cycle.
Because of the mind body connection you can use your body to calm your stressful and anxious mind. Again breathing will stop the onset of stress if you catch it early, because by controlling breathing you control all the other stress related,most people have become shallow breathers so it will pay you to pay attention too and reset your breathing.
When you make sure your out breathe is longer than you in breathe then your body has to calm down, if you combine breathing techniques with meditation then you will get even greater benefits.
Having a nice poised, aligned and balanced posture will reduce your tension and leave you feeling less stressed and more at ease and balanced, your posture changes your whole physiology.
Massage and yoga are also good ways to relax the body and free it from tension as will as regular exercise, but the best method to keep your body relaxed is not to get stressed or tensed in the first place. When you regularly relax your body so it is calm and balanced your mind will follow suit and you will have less worry and negative thoughts.
11) Think positive
Try to develop a positive mental attitude and outlook because when you have a positive and optimistic outlook you will generally experience more of the calm and positive emotions which will leave you better equipped and able to cope and manage stressfull challenges and pressure situations.
Those who worry a lot and people who have a more negative outlook tend to be far more prone to stress. Individuals who worry a lot have a negative mindset and outlook. So by developing a more positive attitude and outlook you will suffer less with stress.
12) Laugh at adversity
Laughter is a great way to relieve stress, everybody faces problems, we all have challenges to overcome and things go inevitably wrong for us from time to time.
No matter who you are life is not always lived on easy street, but when your life seems to get tough and painful, try laughing at your situation and yourself. (excluding things like bereavements and traumatic events) Puts some music on or doing something to distract yourself from off what ever it is that's bothering you.
Just remember, all suffering passes and everything can be figured out so long as you slow down for a moment and you get out of your head and bring yourself back into the present moment. Then once you have calmed yourself down, devise a plan of action and break all your challenges down into smaller manageable action steps.
Nearly all our initial stress starts and exists in our heads, so if you take your focus of attention out of your head and you put it into doing things externally. Just engage in any sort of physical action like reading a book, observing nature especially water, visiting friends, surfing the internet and you will start to calm down.
13) Take a power nap
During our day we have times when we begin to feel tired and sluggish especially around mid morning and around mid afternoon, this is part of our bodies mini rest and restore cycles.
Most people either ignore or try and fight this natural bodily function, they will have a stimulant drink such as caffeine or an energy boosting drink which are fine but first you should try and sneak off for about seven minutes or a little more for a quick power nap.
Once you have found somewhere quiet, relax and close your eyes for a few minutes, then takes some slow deep breaths, in for 5 and out for 7 as this will help regulate your breathing and just watch your thoughts pass bye, a bit like a mini meditation session. This will give your body a much needed rest and energy boost and then you can have your energy drink or snack.
14) Break the stressful patterns and responses
Stress is like anything else and over time some behaviours and stressful responses can become habitual and automatic, this is where you need to be mindful so you can step and break your learned stressful responses.
So the first thing to do is be aware of anytime your notice yourself starting to feel stressful or your beginning to rush what your doing or when you notice any tension building up.
It is important to step in right at the onset of any stressful responses then deliberately slow yourself down, just do some very slow stretches and have a slow long yawn, take some long slow deep breaths.
Imagine your in a exotic relaxing location or even have a sit down but do everything at a slow pace so you intervene and break the old stressful patterns and responses because your mind and body learn through repetition and doing so you need to undo the old responses.
15 Create your own safe place
if you feeling stressed and overwhelmed then you need to have a cut off point from overworking and once you reach it you have to slow down or say enough is enough because you need to know when to rest and shut off.
Create your own safe place where you can turn off your phone and digital devices, stop working and just switch off from the outside world and relax and chill out for half an hour or more.
This could be a place indoors or outside in nature. Meditate or listen to some relaxing music, read a book or just do something that relaxes you and set aside some relaxing time each day in your safe haven.
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