Stress is, unfortunately, a common part of everyday life for many people. Stress comes in many different forms, from dealing with difficult life events, like moving or bereavement, to having a lot of pressure at work or at home with family responsibilities. Whatever the cause of your stress might be, while it might be normal to experience, that doesn’t make it any better for your health and wellbeing. In fact, feeling stressed too often can lead to a weakened immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. In order to avoid these negative effects, here are six things which you can do to improve your stress levels.
Take regular breaks
You need to make the time to replenish your energy reserves, otherwise dealing with stressful situations can become nearly impossible. There are a number of physical, emotional and mental benefits to making some time each day to relax and unwind, such as improved mood, less tension in your muscles and improved metabolism. This is because stress causes a lot of physiological changes in the body, redirecting energy away from menial tasks like digestion.
Take some time off and travel
It might sound like a cliché, but traveling truly helps you to gain some perspective on your life, by putting yourself outside of your normal daily routine, and taking the time to enjoy experiencing new things. Traveling, especially traveling alone, gives you the opportunity to meet new people from a wealth of different walks of life, and this will help you to see that the things in your life causing you stress might be more solvable than you may have initially thought. Plus, if your stress is often caused by anxiety, then moving out of your comfort zone in a big way can often make doing smaller things, which would usually make you feel anxious or worried, more bearable. Book something which you would normally be outside of your norm, such as going on Peru tours, or taking a boating class.
Avoid chemicals which affect your mood
You will benefit hugely from cutting down on the consumption of chemicals which are designed to affect mood and energy levels, like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants, and as such, they will increase your stress levels hugely because when the body is under stress, it is already on high alert, which is why many people experience anxiety and even paranoia when they are stressed. On the other end of the spectrum, alcohol is a depressant, so while it may help to calm the body down, it may worsen your mood. Try and drink more water, as well as things like herbal teas and natural fruit juices, as staying hydrated will help your body cope with stress.
Try and exercise regularly
Engaging in physical activity will help the body to burn off some of the excess energy that is produced when the fight or flight response is activated. The exercise should help your body to metabolize the excess adrenaline which is produced during times of high stress, and this should help to bring your stress levels down. Physical exertion may also help you to sleep, and if you exercise regularly, it will also boost your metabolism rate.
Get more sleep
A lack of sleep can be extremely detrimental to your stress levels, as it affects the body’s ability to concentrate on certain tasks, and also affects the body physically. In order to help yourself get more sleep, you can make sure to stop doing any mentally draining work at least a few hours before you plan on going to bed and focus on relaxing and clearing your mind. You might find that meditative techniques will help you with this. Other activities which may also help you to feel tired would include taking a bath, going for a walk about an hour before you go to bed, or reading a few chapters of a book.
Get organized and manage your time better
Unfortunately, sometimes stress can be unavoidable. However, there are things that you can do to make high-stress situations more bearable. For example, if you know you have a particularly busy week coming up, make sure to organize your schedule for the week, and prioritize any extra tasks you need to do by deadline and importance. Doing so will help you to get a handle on your responsibilities, and help you to break everything down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Try and use stress management techniques to keep yourself focused, and don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed.
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