5 Expert Tips to Effectively Combat Stress
Although it may seem like there is no solution for stress, there are. Stress is a common part of life and can be avoided by understanding what causes your stress and avoiding those situations. You can control how you respond to stress by keeping tabs on stressful events, your reaction to them, and how you managed them. A high level of stress adversely affects your health and well-being, narrows your ability to efficiently function, impairs your thinking, and prevents you from enjoying life.
Here are five expert recommendations for preventing and dealing with stress.
- Identify the cause of stress in your life
Effective stress management begins with determining the cause of stress in your life. Although it is easier to identify the major causes of stress such as going through a divorce, moving, or changing jobs, discovering the causes of chronic stress can be more intimidating. It is easy to neglect how your feelings, behavior, and thoughts play a role in your daily stress levels. You may know that you are often worried about your home warranty or deadlines at work, but actually, it may be the procrastination and not the job demands that are the cause of the stress.
To know the exact causes of your stress, take a keen look at attitude, habits, and excuses. Until you own up to your responsibility in creating and maintaining the stress, you will never control it.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
You should avoid or lessen your consumption of any drinks containing alcohol and caffeine, and nicotine. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants, and they tend to increase your stress level rather than reduce it. Alcohol is a stimulant when taken in small quantities, and it is a depressant when consumed in large amounts. Thus, change from alcoholic and caffeinated drinks to diluted natural fruit juices, herbal teas, and water. Ensure you keep yourself well-hydrated to help your body to better deal with stress. Also, reduce your intake of refined sugars contained in many manufactured foods because they can cause energy surges that can make you feel irritable and tired.
- Get more sleep
Lack of sufficient sleep is a primary cause of stress. However, stress also interferes with your sleep because thoughts keep going through your mind, preventing you from falling asleep. Instead of depending on medications, try to relax before going to sleep. Ensure your bedroom is as tranquil as possible without anything that reminds you of your stress. Avoid caffeine and excessive alcohol in the evening because they can disturb your sleep. Also, avoid doing any tasks that are mentally taxing a few hours before going to bed to allow your brain sufficient time to calm down. Again, try to go to bed at a particular time everyday to get your body used to a predictable bedtime schedule.
- Cultivate peace of mind through relaxation techniques
Every day, try relaxing through a stress abatement technique. There are lots of proven methods for reducing stress so try some of them to see what suits you. For instance, you can try self-hypnosis which is very simple, and you can do it anywhere whether in your car or office. Another technique is to concentrate on a phrase or word that has a positive impact on you.
Words such as “peace” “love” or “calm” work well. You can as well think of a mantra such as “I am peaceful” or “I am calm.” Focus on the chosen phrase or word, and if you find your mind wandering or notice unwanted thoughts entering your mind, just ignore them and return your attention to your chosen phrase or word. If later you feel the tension returning, silently repeat your mantra.
At first, it may be difficult to relax. However, relaxation is a skill that you need to cultivate slowly and gently. With practice, you will improve. You can also engage in interesting physical and social activities and exercise to alleviate stress. These have also been proven by scientists to work well.
- Talk to someone
Talking to someone about your feelings can be crucial. It can work by releasing some of the built-up tension or distracting you from your nagging thoughts. Stress can impair your judgment and hinder you from seeing things in their real sense. But talking to a trained professional, friend, or colleague can help put your difficulties into perspective and help you find solutions to the problems.
Stress is a part of life, but it can be reduced or controlled. However, you need to work on it actively by identifying its causes, avoiding alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, getting more sleep, and cultivating a peaceful mind. When you do this, you will better manage stress.